School of Indigenous Studies

Margaret Raven


UWA Science Graduate Margaret Raven 

I am Yamatji-Nyoongar and moved from Geraldton to Perth to attend university.

When I started university I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to study. I was drawn towards nursing, but was still unsure if that is what I wanted to be a nurse. To keep my options open I enrolled in a Bachelor of Science. For the first two years I majored in human biology, but towards the middle of second year, I had to pick up another subject to ensure I had all the required points to graduate from second year. Based purely on interest, I chose a subject in Geography. Despite vowing to never study geography again after high school, I enjoyed the unit so much that I changed my major to Geography. I graduated with a BSc(Honours) in Geography in 2000.

Since then I’ve enrolled in a PhD and undertaken research on how protocols are enacted in bureaucratic organisation. I hope to finally have the PhD off my hands in the next 6 months. Through the course of my PhD I was a PhD Fellow with the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS) in Yokohama, Japan. I have also engaged in international negotiations through the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity (CBD), and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). I was also Indigenous Fellow with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva. In 2009 I moved to Sydney to become the inaugural Coordinator of the Indigenous Human Rights Network Australia (IHRNA) currently hosted by the Australian Human Rights Commission. I now work as a Research Fellow at the Indigenous Policy and Dialogue Research Unit (IPDRU) within the Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

Geography sits in that chasm between social and physical sciences and provides the perfect place of study for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who wish to ensure that we are able to realise our rights to land, knowledge and culture. Geography provides the place to learn about how political and economic influences impact upon land based activities.

Not sure what to study at university? Why not try Geography? You might just find that you like it, and that it will take you to many places far and wide.