A NORTHERN Rivers historian has been awarded the prestigious $30,000 2016 NSW History Fellowship.
Dr Kate Gahan, a resident of Wardell, will undertake a self-directed professional development program including the research and production of an exhibition, Entangled Encounters, exploring the social histories of the Aboriginal communities and the culturally diverse people living in the Clarence, Richmond and Tweed River districts during the 19th Century.
North Coast Nationals MLC Ben Franklin said the NSW Government's History Fellowship fosters professional development in the history sector by supporting an individual's program of mentorships or internships with recognised historical organisations, courses and research, travel and the creation of new work.
"Dr Gahan is a professional historian based in the Northern Rivers and well-known locally for numerous community-based projects that have shared the powerful value of history to our present and to where we live,” Mr Franklin said.
"A recent, impressive project was her documentation for the Grafton Regional Gallery of the historic context for the 1870s photographs by J W Lindt of Gumbaynggir, Yaegal and Bundjalung people.”
Dr Gahan completed her PhD in history at the University of New England, Armidale, which she credits with a strong focus on community history.
The NSW History Fellowship from Arts NSW will assist her to develop curatorial skills, broaden networks and collaborate with historical societies, Aboriginal organisations and museums across the Northern Rivers. The proposed exhibition, Entangled Encounters, will bring together objects and stories from these communities and open in the region in 2018.
"I am thrilled to have been awarded the Arts NSW History Fellowship. The award will fund the development of an object history of the Northern Rivers entitled Entangled Encounters,” Dr Gahan said.
"To attract this focus on regional history is an exciting opportunity to revise old understandings and uncover new stories from the Northern Rivers region.
"The project will emphasise the richness of our region's history, as well as its state-wide context. It will explore a cross section of cross cultural exchanges in the colonial era.
"It will bring new understandings to the past coming together of different peoples and cultural traditions from the region,” she said.