Professional Development

    The Cairns Institute offers professional development, masterclasses and other non-award courses which capitalise on expertise within James Cook University and extend learning opportunities to wider audiences.

    An example of our professional development work is the Masterclass in Native Title for Anthropologists which has been has successfully run as an eight day intensive course in 2013, 2014, 2015 (and will be run again in 2016) thanks to a generous grant from the Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department. This masterclass is designed for early career anthropologists, and benefits archaeologists, cultural heritage workers, lawyers or other professionals looking to learn more about the very latest in Native Title practises with a particular focus on northern Australia and providing participants with targeted, skills-based training to prepare them for Native Title work.

    There is currently no other similar opportunity available in Australia, within the range of course options tailored for Anthropologists, that brings this range and depth of workplace experience together in a context where participants have time and opportunity to fully engage in the process. The masterclass is an intense and intensive course that included field trips in the Cairns and Kuranda regions to a range of significant Aboriginal sites.

    Each year the course has been filled to capacity and post-course participant reviews were analysed for qualitative and quantitative indicators. Pleasingly, in 2015 100% of the participants would recommend the course to others, and 96% were satisfied with the outcomes. Overall the course has been a resounding success with much of the praise being for the extremely high calibre of the contributions from the presenters and the majority of participants stating in feedback forms that they would now definitely seeking work in Native Title.

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    Scholarly writing masterclass

    Writing for publication is a 7 x 3 hour masterclass offered at Cairns and Townsville | 22 February 2017 - 29 October 2017

    One of the most satisfying experiences on the PhD journey is getting your work published. Yet writing for publication requires different skills and approaches to the thesis. Professor Richard Nile is one of Australia’s most experienced scholarly editors. He has mentored and produced the work of hundreds of Higher Degree Research Students here and overseas. In this inaugural JCU series, Richard will introduce you to strategies for balancing progress on your thesis while dealing with the demands of becoming a published researcher. Scholarly Writing for Publication is a seven three-hour module masterclass convened across twelve weeks. You will learn new skills on how to negotiate the complex world of scholarly publishing, structure your research, manage your time and, importantly, write for publication. To qualify, you will need to have a draft manuscript and be prepared to work on it across the twelve week period. At the conclusion of the program, you will be expected to have produced a publishable piece of work ready for submission to a journal of other media platform. Classes are scheduled on alternate Thursdays throughout semesters 1 and 2 at both the Townsville and Cairns campuses. Numbers are strictly limited.

    Graduate Research School in partnership with The Cairns Institute. Presented by Professor Richard Nile.


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    Native Title Workshop for Mid-Career Anthropologists

    Facilitated by The Cairns Institute and the Centre for Native Title Anthropology (ANU), this workshop will enhance your professional skills in the Native Title arena.

    This unique five day Native Title Workshop for mid-career Anthropologists, is being held at JCU’s Cairns campus in beautiful Tropical North Queensland.

    Facilitated by The Cairns Institute (JCU) and the Centre for Native Title Anthropology (ANU), this workshop will enhance your professional skills in the Native Title arena. The workshop will cover data management, communication strategies and writing skills, PBC management and governance, and developing skills for engaging with legal culture.

    18 - 22 September 2017

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    Critical/creative practice-led research

    One-day workshop at The Cairns Institute

    Room D3.059 | James Cook University | Tuesday 27th September 2016 | 9 am - 5 pm

    Creative research methodologies offer exciting opportunities for innovation and insight within the academy. The various forms of knowledge that practice-led researchers pursue—visual, performative, sensuous, design-driven, fictional, playful and provocative—bring critical vitality to the research space, opening new paths for interdisciplinarity, collaboration, and community and industry engagement.

    This one-day workshop brings national leaders in the fields of creative practice and higher degree research (HDR) training to join key JCU staff to discuss the role, purpose and value of practice-led research (PLR) for James Cook University.

    This is a scoping and agenda-setting workshop. The daylong discussions will provide the basis for on-going initiatives designed to celebrate and encourage PLR at JCU. Our aim is to facilitate a sense of shared concerns and objectives and to craft strategies to further support creative researchers, foster interdisciplinary collegiality and cohorts, and to raise the profile of practice-led research as a critical-creative method amongst our colleagues.

    The workshop will include researchers from various fields within the College of Arts, Society and Education (CASE) including visual art, creative media, photography, documentary making, creative writing and visual anthropology, as well as JCU Research and HDR leaders.

    Key topics include: situating creative practice as research, the creative practice degree, ERA and Impact, building HDR cohorts in PLR, writing a research statement, and building an institutional PLR philosophy.

    Guest speakers:
    Associate Professor Craig Batty, Director, Higher Degrees by Research, School of Media and Communication, RMIT
    Professor Allyson Holbrook, Research Training and Transformational Knowledge program leader, The Centre for the Study of Research Training and Impact (SORTI), The University of Newcastle
    Professor Jen Webb, Distinguished Professor of Creative Practice, University of Canberra

    Event organisers:
    Associate Professor Jennifer Deger, Tropical Leader (Research) CASE, JCU
    Dr Robyn-Glade Wright, Creative Arts and Media, JCU
    Dr Ariella van Luyn, Creative Writing, JCU

    Contact information:


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