2022 RTP Reconnecting to Rivers Indigenous Education (Sustainability and History) Project

Curtin University

Perth WA, Australia 🇦🇺

Status: Open

Applications open: 12/07/2021
Applications close: 30/08/2021View printable version [.pdf]

About this scholarship

Description/Applicant information

‘Reconnecting to Rivers’ is a Curtin research project that explores how Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members have used, managed and valued the waterways of the Swan Coastal Plain. The project centres on Blackadder Creek in the riverine valley east of Perth, an area where many creeks and streams combine to drain into the Swan River. 
‘Reconnecting to Rivers’ is primarily an Aboriginal-led, place-based project where research into Noongar cultural heritage, water biodiversity, ecology, conservation and creative works will be brought together and in an Indigenous informed, two-way learning project that speaks to a better water management future. An important part of the project is the planned yarning circles with Noongar community members with connection to the Blackadder Creek area, from which research outcomes will be inspired. The project is taking its lead from Indigenous deep connection to place to generate an understanding of how these water landscapes have been used, managed and valued over time by Traditional Custodians, complimented by water histories from the wider community.  
The project is Indigenous-led, and the research aims to contribute to long-term culturally appropriate water management prospects, with other Indigenous-led projects across the State relating Healthy Country and Caring for Country to the management of groundwater, wetlands and river systems.  
The ‘Reconnecting to Rivers’ team is inviting applications for PhD positions from Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander researchers to work with the project team on research that draws together indigenous research, education and rivers, wetlands or underground water. 

The Reconnecting to Rivers team is inviting applications for aligned projects in Education that relates to rivers, wetlands or underground water. The proposals should explore and articulate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives and engagements with landscape and place, including the effects and implications of settler colonial presence, and community and creative responses to these circumstances. This could be about the area of Blackadder Creek – the focus area of our study – or the wider waterscapes of the Perth coastal basin.

The project will: 
• Have a tangible and practical application to primary and/or secondary education, and 
• Have a focus on sustainable education AND/OR Have a focus on teaching History and in particular local and Indigenous histories with regard to Indigenous culture and identity. 
The project could: 
• Have a connection to Indigenous language/s, and
• Critically apply yarning circular conversation technique and/or other Indigenous research methods as part of a multidisciplinary approach. Student type

  • Future Students


  • Faculty of Humanities

Course type

  • Higher Degree by Research


  • Australian Citizen
  • Australian Permanent Resident
  • New Zealand Citizen
  • Permanent Humanitarian Visa

Scholarship base

  • Merit Based


Total value of the annual scholarships (stipend and fees) is approx. $60,000 – $70,000 p.a. Curtin PhD Stipends are valued at $28,597 p.a. for up to a maximum of 3.5 years.

Successful applicants will receive a 100% Fee offset.

Scholarship Details

Maximum number awarded

1Eligible courses

All applicable HDR coursesEligibility criteria

This scholarship is for Indigenous Australians.  While applicants ideally should have an Honours, Master or equivalent degree in a discipline related to Indigenous studies in; land, water and sea management; language; cultural heritage management; history; education; or human geography, we also recognise and will consider applicants who have extensive lived experience with land and sea management and community organising. You must have experience with written communication in English, and provide these materials. Alternative modes of submission can be negotiated with the project team. Working on the project will require strong interpersonal communication skills. 

Application process

If this project excites you, and your research skills and experience are a good fit for this specific project, you should email the project lead, expressing your interest (EOI) in this project.

Your EOI email should include your current curriculum vitae, a summary of your research skills and experience and the reason you are interested in this specific project.

Enrolment Requirements

Eligible to enrol in a Higher Degree by Research Course at Curtin University by March 2022


To enquire about this project opportunity contact the Project lead (listed below).

Name: Dr Samantha Owen 

Email: [email protected]

Contact Number: 9266 3058




IHE Delft Institute for Water Education - MSc in Water and Sustainable Development