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Curtin appoints applied scientist as Dean of Indigenous Futures

Media release

A respected Yindjibarndi woman who has championed ethical research has been appointed Curtin’s first Dean of Indigenous Futures in the Faculty of Humanities.

Mandy Downing has started in the new position, which is responsible for ensuring Australia’s Indigenous futures across the nation’s culture and economy are supported and considered in the learning, research and partnership activities of the faculty.

Curtin’s Faculty of Humanities Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Richard Blythe said he was delighted to welcome Dean Downing to the position.

“A leading voice in ethical considerations for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research, Mandy has been influential in improving the awareness of ethical research considerations in Australia,” Professor Blythe said.

“I am thrilled to welcome someone of Mandy’s calibre to the new position of Dean of Indigenous Futures in the Faculty of Humanities and look forward to seeing her valued contribution to the faculty by sharing her immense skills, talent and expertise.”

Dean Downing, who was raised on Wadjuk Noongar Boodjar, has worked at Curtin for 10 years in various research management and institutional governance roles with many years’ experience in education, employment and training.

This year, she was appointed the Co-Chair of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies National Research Ethics Committee.

Dean Downing said she was honoured to take up the new role, adding she was passionate about ethical research and supporting Indigenous Australians aspirations in tertiary education.

“I’m grateful to be part of a faculty that values Indigenous knowledge in education and research, and I look forward to building upon the existing foundations,” Dean Downing said.

“The faculty has outstanding capability in this area through the existing work led by my Indigenous colleagues such as Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker, Professor Kim Scott, Uncle Darryl Kickett and Professor Graeme Gower.”

An alumna of Curtin University’s Centre for Aboriginal Studies, Dean Downing also graduated from The University of Melbourne’s Graduate School of Education with first-class honours and the Western Australian Aboriginal Leadership Institute, as well as continuing to research institutional racism and the need for the decolonisation of research policy.

In the community, she works voluntarily with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth aged 18-25 to develop leadership skills through the co-facilitation of the Western Australian Aboriginal Leadership Institute’s Emerging Leaders Program and co-designed the program in its pilot year in 2019.

Dean Downing has also been awarded the Curtin University Vice-Chancellor’s Excellence Awards in reconciliation (2020) and leadership (2018).

For more information about Curtin’s Faculty of Humanities, visit here.