This past winter I undertook an Aurora anthropology internship in my home town Canberra at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS). I was placed within their native title research unit (NTRU) but had a flexible role that enabled me to assist with projects in other departments, including ethical research development. The NTRU protects the native title and traditional ownership of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through research and policy advice.
This placement was really rewarding and contributed significantly to my professional development. As an Anthropology/Law student it was great to see the various career paths available in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sector that could combine these two academic backgrounds. During the placement I was tasked with administrative and more substantive tasks. These included, data entry, expanding outreach, proof reading publications, contributing to legal case summary publications, scribing for meetings, helping with policy draft reports and policy research.
The workplace at AIATSIS is incredibly welcoming, supportive and flexible. Due to construction at the main Acton building, a lot of different departments were in the same office space. This meant that there was a lot of departmental diversity and opportunities to speak and listen to colleagues from many different academic and professional backgrounds. Due to its proximity to the Australian National University there were many opportunities to attend workshops and seminars led by inspiring and influential researchers and professionals working in the sector. I was lucky to listen to Linda Tuhiwai Smith, a very influential and insightful New Zealand professor of indigenous education. It was really interesting to hear her speak about her experience regarding research methods in social justice.
I was proud to contribute to AIATSIS’ ‘What’s New in Native Title’ publication by summarising recent Federal Court native title judgements into a brief and digestible format. It was great to put this skill I frequently rely on at university into practice.
I would encourage prospective students and graduates to apply for the Aurora Internship Program. It is a really rewarding experience and can be a great introduction to the Indigenous professional sector. There are various opportunities available including legal, social science, health science and social welfare internships with Indigenous and Indigenous sector organisations.