with Josie Crawshaw, Brenda L Croft, Leah Leaman & Felicity Meakins

The second program in our 2022 series, Ways of Being, convened by Stephen Gilchrist.


Wednesday, 3 August 2022
12:00-1:30pm (Sydney)
11:30am-1:00pm (Darwin)


You will receive a Zoom link upon registration.




Josephine Crawshaw is a Gurindji elder and descendent of the Stolen Generation and a long-term advocate and activist for the recognition of the sovereign rights of First Nations Peoples.

Josie has been a founding member of national and international political organisations such as the Aboriginal Provisional Government, Top End Aboriginal Coalition and National Coalition of Aboriginal Organisations. Her decades of activism include organising a 1000-person convoy from the NT to Sydney to protest during the Bicentenary celebrations in 1988.

Her professional career has seen her appointed as the Top End Commissioner and ATSIC Commissioner; NT State Manager of the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations; and Foundation CEO of the Peak Body for Aboriginal Children, Youth and Families in the Northern Territory, known as SAF,T.

A sabbatical took her across the USA and Canada to study Treaties and Self Determination for First Nations Peoples and, over two decades, she helped draft the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. More recently, she was the Top End Coordinator, Delegate and National Co-Chair of the Statement from the Heart Working Group.

Her current activism is as a founding member of the ‘Close Don Dale Now’ movement to shut down Darwin’s infamous youth prison and implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory.


Brenda L Croft is from the Gurindji/Malngin/Mudburra peoples from the Victoria River region of the Northern Territory of Australia, and Anglo-Australian/German/Irish/Chinese heritage. She has been involved in the Australian First Nations and broader contemporary arts and cultural sectors as a multi-disciplinary creative practitioner – artist, arts administrator, consultant, curator, educator and researcher – since the mid-1980s. Brenda is privileged to live and work on Ngambri/ Ngunawal / Ngunnawal country in Canberra where she is Associate Professor, Indigenous Art History and Curatorship at the Centre for Art History and Art Theory, School of Art and Design, College of Arts & Social Sciences, Australian National University.


Leah Leaman Yinpingali Namitja is a Malngin / Gurindji artist who is proud to be an artist at Karungkarni Art Centre in Kalkaringi, Northern Territory. Leah takes a pivotal role in many Art Centre projects including two recent culture/language/art/science projects, Tamarra: Termites and their Mounds and the Electro-Magnetic perception in Gurindji people project (in collaboration with Prof Felicity Meakins of UQ and Prof Joe Kirschvink and researchers from Caltech in Los Angeles).

Leah was born in Old Darwin Hospital in 1971. Her mother’s country is Jutamaliny on Limbunya Station, and it is from here that she gets her totem, the red-backed kingfisher.  Leah is currently employed by the NT Government Department of Families. Previously, she worked for Katherine West Health Board as receptionist, at Kalkaringi School and as a Gurindji Ranger. Leah has served on a number of Indigenous boards including Karungkarni Art and Culture, Gurindji Aboriginal Corporation and Aboriginal Benefit Account. Leah’s hobbies include fishing in the local rivers and waterholes, and painting. Her paintings reveal her love of freshwater and fish as she often uses them as subject matter. She also likes to paint brolga. Her paintings try to blend traditional stories in a contemporary format.

Leah’s artwork has featured in a number of events and exhibitions including the annual exhibition at Charles Darwin University ACIKE Unit commemorating the Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture (2015-2018) and the annual Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair. Her artwork, Women Collecting Flowers and Bushfood, is currently touring Australia as part of the exhibition, Still In My Mind: Gurindji location, experience and visuality, curated by Brenda L. Croft.

Growing up in Middle Camp, Daguragu, Leah learned to fish and to work in the big community garden. Her husband, Daniel Palmer is an eastern Arrente man and they have three children and seven grandchildren.

‘I loved art, especially painting, when I was a small child. Back then, when I was in about Grade 3 and living in Daguragu Community, I didn’t have access to paints or coloured pencils at home so I would use charcoal from our fire to draw. Sometimes my Mum would bring me lead pencils whenever she came back visiting the Community.

I have always enjoyed the great outdoors, fishing, camping and helping the old grannies catching bait for them be it grasshoppers, cicadas, lizards and small birds. I loved watching the sunset and sunrise because of the rich reds, oranges, pinks and purples.

I feel blessed that I have grown up in the times when many of our elders are alive and have taught me many things, cultural things and about respecting my fellow man.’ Leah Leaman

Felicity Meakins (ASSA) is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Queensland and a CI in the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language. She is a field linguist who specialises in the documentation of First Nations languages in northern Australia and the effect of English on these languages. She has worked as a community linguist as well as an academic over the past 2 decades, facilitating language revitalisation programs, consulting on Native Title claims and conducting research into First Nations languages. She has compiled a number of dictionaries and grammars, and has written numerous papers on language change in Australia.







Image: Mr R Wavehill Jangala with karu (children), Malyalyimalyalyi/Lipanangku (1st Wave Hill Station), Wave Hill, NT, July 2015. Photograph © Brenda L Croft, with permission from Mr Wavehill’s family