Moondani Balluk is managed by a group of passionate academic and professional staff and researchers.
Many of our staff have completed some of Victoria University's courses and units with an indigenous focus and now teach or support current students.
Our research staff create a large amount of academic and creative works.
Karen Jackson is a Yorta Yorta woman and Director of the Moondani Balluk Indigenous Academic Unit.
Karen is an advocate for culturally safe spaces that enable Aboriginal people to aspire to personal, family and community goals; land rights and the recognition of Sovereign Peoples; and the delivery of relevant educational programs by Aboriginal people for Aboriginal people.
She has held membership in the:
- Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council
- Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission
- Indigenous Family Violence Regional Action Group.
She is also currently Chair of the Western Metropolitan Regional Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee and the Indigenous Family Violence Regional Action Group.
Kate Russell is a Larrakia/Arrernte woman from the Northern Territory.
She is a midwife and is also a lecturer at VU and the unit coordinator for the Indigenous Health and Wellbeing unit. This subject is designed to expand the knowledge of first-year nursing, midwifery and allied health students on issues that affect Aboriginal health.
Indigenous Health and Wellbeing is an important subject. It covers the gaps in indigenous health from both a cultural and academic standpoint.
A Yorta Yorta/Palawa descendant, Rowena Price is the Koorie Liaison Officer for Vocational Education and teaches at Odyssey House. She is also the current chairperson for the Western Metropolitan IFV RAG (Indigenous Family Violence Regional Action Group).
Rowena came to VU as a Kyinandoo student in 2009, initially working in the Student Mentor Program. From there she went on to work on VU’s Cultural Awareness Project, and then worked as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Project Family Engagement Officer.
Rowena helps increase opportunities for indigenous Australian families in Melbourne’s West to engage with each other. She assists in improving the capacity of local service provider organisations to work with families.
Tracey Cooper is a Yorta Yorta descendant. She returned to study in 2008 and completed the Bachelor of Arts (Kyinandoo) course followed by a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education P-12. She is now completing a Master of Education.
Tracey is an Academic Teaching Scholar in the College of Arts & Education and teaches the unit EEC1105 - Reconciling Australian Humanities Education.
Edwina Howell is an Irish, Scottish, English, Welsh, German, Swiss-French mongrel who also has Dutch heritage, and was born in Melbourne on Wurundjeri country. She was admitted as a solicitor and barrister of the Supreme Court of Victoria in 2005 and completed a PhD in anthropology and social and political inquiry. She focused on the activist strategies and tactics of the Black Power Movement at Monash University in 2013.
Since 2010 she has worked with Moondani Balluk on the development of the Foley Collection. The collection is now a national research and educational infrastructure and she has worked with Professor Foley on a multitude of projects including:
- Foley with Ilbijerri Theatre (2011-2012)
- Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation history curriculum development project (2013-2015)
- the Australian National Data Service Open Data Project (2014).
She has also recently co-edited two books, Barrie Dexter’s Pandora’s Box: The Council for Aboriginal Affairs (2015) and The Aboriginal Tent Embassy: Sovereignty, Black Power, Land Rights and the State (2014).
Professor Gary Foley was born in Grafton (1950), northern NSW, of Gumbainggir descent. He has been at the centre of major political activities for more than 40 years.
In 1994 he created the Koori History website, the first Aboriginal owned and operated website. It remains one of the most comprehensive Aboriginal education resources available online.
Professor Foley completed a Bachelor of Arts and then gained First Class Honours in History in 2002. Between 2001 and 2005 he was also the senior curator for Southeastern Australia at Museum Victoria. Between 2005 and 2008 he was a lecturer/tutor in the Education Faculty of the University of Melbourne. In 2012 he completed a PhD in History at the University of Melbourne. He has worked at VU since 2008.
“What I love about VU is that not only is it flexible and innovative, I find the demographic of students here very interesting to teach.”
In 2015, Dr Tony Birch joined VU as the first recipient of the University’s Dr Bruce McGuinness Indigenous Research Fellowship. Dr Birch is a renowned academic, author, educator and researcher. His research interests centre on climate change and indigenous knowledge systems. Dr Birch’s books include Shadowboxing (2006), Father's Day (2009), Blood (2011), The Promise (2014) and Ghost River (2015).
“During my tenure I hope to provide due respect to the influence and memory of Bruce McGuinness, as well as represent Victoria University as a researcher, public intellectual and teacher.”
Marcus is a Gunditjmara man with connections to Framlingham, South West Victoria.
Marcus is the Aboriginal Student Life Liaison Officer. He provides first-contact support, engagement, information and referral to current and future Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. This role helps people successfully navigate university life and processes.
Marcus has held various roles at VU since 2011. He was a Student Rover at the Footscray Nicholson Academic Support Study Lab, and the Indigenous Employment and Community Liaison Officer.
Marcus has a background in Information Technology (IT). He completed the Bachelor of Interactive Media at VU in 2013, after studying a Diploma of IT and Advanced Diploma in IT in 2010 and 2011 respectively.