New Post - 22 June 2021

ASWA Seminar Series 2021: Social Surroundings 2 – Aesthetic Values

Due to a number of ASWA members not being able to attend the first Social Surroundings Presentation, Robin Stevens has agreed to a second presentation on this topic, to a restricted audience, aimed at the professional development of ASWA members.

When: Wednesday 21st July - Further details about venue and time soon
Title: Social Surroundings 2 - Aesthetic Values

Abstract:The definition of ‘social surroundings’ in the Environmental Protection Act (1986) includes “aesthetic, cultural, economic and social surroundings”. Though the term ’aesthetics’ is commonly associated with notions of beauty and the arts, it refers more broadly to one’s sensory experiences and knowledge of the world. Meyer (2006) suggests that there are ‘grammars of sensing’ and that aesthetics modulate the body and tune the senses in a particular way. Atkinson (2015) argues that all societies have an ‘aesthetic order’, and that ‘patterns of culture’ are in part predicated on local definitions and assumptions about aesthetic values. As White (2003) notes in respect of Yolngu aesthetic perspectives on country: “the problem of cross-cultural communication extends to aesthetics, especially with respect to natural phenomena, and associated issues of the importance of ‘place’”.

Drawing on sensory anthropology (e.g., Pink 2009 and Howes & Classen 2014) we will workshop how one might capture and evaluate Aboriginal aesthetics in the context of a ‘social surroundings’ assessment. Further reference material is in the Social Surroundings 2 - Aesthetic Values Abstract.

Cost: ASWA/AACAI Member or student: $10, Non-member: $15. On-line bookings available soon.

Entry fee covers food after the presentation
Please contact ASWA's event organiser Tania Philips if you require any further information.

See you all there.

ASWA Seminar Series 2021: Social Surroundings Presentation


ASWA Member and Convenor of the AHA Collective, Robin Stevens, will give a presentation to ASWA on Social Surroundings at the Left Bank on 23rd June. This is a much anticipated presentation which will be well attended. Details in the Social Surroundings Flyer.

When: Wednesday 23rd June

Time: 6.00pm

Where: Left Bank, East Fremantle

Title: Social Surroundings

Abstract:In the past two years the Environmental Protection Authority (WA) has been telling mining companies that in order for them to meet all their environmental approvals the ‘Social Surroundings’ element within environmental impact assessments needs to ensure greater engagement with Traditional Owner groups above and beyond the standard heritage process. It’s an area opening up for anthropology, in particular. PBCs will be engaging anthropologists and others to assist them with what is expected to be a substantially increased area of work / consultations. Social Surroundings is essentially about Social Impact Assessment, as part of the overall Environmental Impact Assessment, in relation to large-scale developments. Though there is an element of cultural heritage within this framework, it is more to do with the social impacts upon a community as a consequence of altering the physical and biological environment. The aim of the ASWA Social Surroundings Workshop is to go through how anthropologists (and PBCs) might understand and approach Social Surroundings within the context of Part IV of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (WA).

Cost: ASWA/AACAI Member or student: $10, Non-member: $15. Book tickets via the Register Now link below

RegisterNow Logo

Entry fee covers food after the presentation

There will be a licensed cash bar available (make sure you come early)

Please contact ASWA's event organiser Tania Philips if you require any further information.

See you all there.

New Post - 5 May 2021

AACAI WA and ASWA National Archaeology Week Trivia Night

Get your thinking caps on and assemble your cohort of eggheads. After a break last year, the National Archaeology Week (NAW) Trivia Night returns, and the prizes will be even better this year!

The Western Australian Chapter of the Australian Association of Consulting Archaeologists Inc. (AACAI WA) and the Anthropological Society of Western Australia (ASWA) are together hosting this year's event at the Left Bank in East Fremantle.

Details are as follows and in the Flyer:

  • Date: Weds 19 May
  • Time: 6pm to 9pm
  • Venue: The Left Bank, (River Bar upstairs), 15 Riverside Road, East Fremantle
  • Price: $25 for AACAI and ASWA Members (current) and Students (valid student email address) / $30 for everyone else (booking fees also apply)
  • Food Provided and Upstairs Bar Available

Book in here: Book Tickets


  • Please make sure to book in prior to Fri 14 May (there are limited numbers available and no door payments will be accepted).
  • Teams are to be a minimum of 4 and a max of 8 (if you have less than 4, let us know and we will sort you out).
  • You can book in individually or select as many tickets as you want.
  • Please let the organisers know your team details prior to the night (team name, team list).
  • Food will be provided during the break (advise of any dietary requirements on the booking).
  • Cash bar will be available upstairs until 9pm.
  • Prizes for winners and runner-up tables.
  • Each booking receives a raffle ticket on arrival - draw for spot prizes will be made after the Trivia.

Come along for what promises to be a fun-filled night with a chance to score some awesome prizes. If you have any queries, do not hesitate to contact JJ McDermott or Tania Philips.

Further links:

Left Bank Menus
National Archaeology Week or try Archaeology Week Facebook
AACAI or try AACAI Facebook

Thanks to our sponsors: Ethnosciences; Sticks and Stones Cultural Resource Management; Thomson Cultural Heritage Management; Dortch Cuthbert Heritage Futures; Heritage WA and Wildrock Productions; and the Centre for Rock Art Research and Management at University of Western Australia.

New Post - 12 April 2021

Women in Fieldwork - About this Event

Join us for this FREE conversation covering the particularities of fieldwork for women. Share your insights, ask questions or just come along to hear from experienced women practitioners in a safe and respectful environment.

This session is open to women working in or anticipating working in fieldwork in archaeology and anthropology through academia, private consulting, Native Title and other similar entities.

Full details of the Women in Fieldwork seminar are available on the Event Flyer. This is a free event hosted by the Australian Association of Consulting Archaeologists Inc and the Anthropological Socidety of Western Australia with support from the School of Social Sciences at the University of Western Australia.

Registrations are essential at Eventbrite.

New Post - 30 March 2021

AACAI WA/ASWA Sundowner on cultural landscapes

The Australian Association of Consulting Archaeologists Inc. (AACAI) WA Chapter and the Anthropological Society of WA (ASWA) are pleased to present a sundowner talk on cultural landscapes by Nerdia Moredoundt. Details below and on the Flyer:

When: Tuesday 13 April 2021

Time: 6pm sharp

Where: The Left Bank, 15 Riverside Road, East Fremantle - upstairs at The River Bar

Title: Imprints of the past: the role of archaeology in cultural landscape management

Biography: Nerida Moredoundt is an architect, author and artist with over 25 years’ experience in heritage, conservation and interpretation. She is the Principal Architect at element, a multidisciplinary consultancy in the fields of planning, heritage, arts and culture, engagement, place and design. She is also a member of the Heritage Council of WA and a heritage specialist on the State Design Review Panel. Nerida has been instrumental in the application of the World Heritage cultural landscapes framework in Western Australia.

Abstract: This presentation looks at the World Heritage framework for identifying and managing cultural landscapes. It includes a discussion of how Australian practitioners have influenced the theory and practice of cultural landscape management and why this framework has been introduced into the management of heritage places in Western Australia. The role of archaeology in the assessment and management of cultural landscapes is an important one that extends beyond understanding values to embedding opportunities for cultural activities on country. Nerida will explore the methodology and outcomes of cultural landscape management plans through a series of case studies. She will introduce the Rottnest Island/Wadjemup cultural landscape management plan, which was the first plan in WA to be underpinned by the provisions of the UNESCO Operational Guidelines for cultural landscapes. This plan has played a pivotal role in advancing reconciliation on the Island and has been followed by a number of similar plans in urban and regional settings.

You will need to book online here: TryBooking.

Cost: ASWA/AACAI Member or student: $5, General: $10

Entry fee covers food after the talk - please let me know if you have dietary requirements

There will be a licensed cash bar available (make sure you come early and grab a drink!

Please contact myself or Tania Philips if you require any further information.

See you all there.

New Post - 27 March 2021

Pictures from the BBQ

The AACAI and ASWA BBQ at the Matilda Bay Forshore was a great occasion. Here are a some of JJ's photos of the event.


New Post - 08 March 2021

A Social BBQ

The WA chapter of the Australian Association of Consulting Archaeologists Incorporated (AACAI WA) and the Anthropological Society of Western Australia (ASWA) invite you to join us for a family-friendly social barbecue at the Swan River Foreshore, Matilda Bay Reserve opposite UWA in Crawley.

The event will take place on Saturday, 20th March from 3pm. Please download the flyer for more details.

We hope you can come along, have a bite to eat, relax by the beautiful foreshore and have a casual chat with friends and colleagues. AACAI and ASWA will provide burgers, sausages and salad at the BBQ facilities near the Matilda Bay Gazebo. If you wish to bring drinks, dessert or anything special for the BBQ, you are most welcome to do so. There are benches and chairs at the reserve (and we will try and secure the gazebo on the day) but please consider bringing picnic rugs and camping chairs if you wish.

This event is free but in order to better manage the numbers for food (and any dietary requirements), can you please book in here.

Bookings will close on Wednesday 17th March.

For any further information, do not hesitate to get in contact with JJ McDermott or Mobile: 0458608786 or Richard Riordan, ASWA Secretary.

We look forward to seeing you there.

New Post - 22 February 2021

Upcoming Seminars

Please see the Schedule for the UWA Anthropology & Sociology Seminar Series for Semister 1, 2021. Fridays, 2.30 to 3.30pm.

For those interested in the Anthropology of Religion, Convenors Richard Vokes and Cristina Rocha invite you to join them in the Seminar Series: Religion, Crisis and Disaster. Full details of this Global, via Zoom Seminar Series available in the download.

New Post - 21 January 2021

ASWA Annual General Meeting

ASWA will hold its Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, 16th February 2021 at the Paddington Alehouse, 141 Scarborough Beach Road, Mt Hawthorn.

6.30pm – pre-meeting drinks

7.00pm – meeting and Committee nomination

8.00pm – food to be provided and drinks can be purchased at the bar

There are a number of items on the Agenda which are important to the future of ASWA and the wider WA anthropological community. Please don’t miss your opportunity to contribute to the shaping of the anthropological voice in Western Australia.

Call for Office Bearer Nominations

The AGM is the opportunity for you to express your interest in becoming a member of the ASWA Committee. New Committee members are needed to ensure that ASWA continues to be able to host Anthropological events throughout the year. Please consider this post as a formal invitation for you to nominate to be a Committee member. Please download the attached Nomination Form and email it to the ASWA Secretary. Alternatively, you can nominate yourself or others at the meeting.


Please note, to be a Committee member you must be a current financial member of ASWA. Please check the ASWA membership list to verify your membership. The date on the ASWA membership page is the date of your last membership invoice. Memberships are annual from that date. If your name is not on the list, you are not a current member. If your name is on the list and the membership date is prior to 2020, you are not a current financial member. The ASWA website, provides an on-line facility (through Register Now) to enable you to renew your membership or become a first time member. Please follow the links on that page. Alternatively, you can pay your membership fees in person prior to the commencement of the meeting.

The Agenda for the AGM will be as follows:

  • Welcome
  • President’s Report
    • Presidential review of ASWA’s 2020
    • Presidential proposal for ASWA’s 2021
  • Treasurer’s Report
  • Secretary’s Report
  • Nomination and Election of ASWA Executive and Committee for 2021
  • Matters for Consideration
    • Review of ASWA’s Constitution
    • Review of ASWA Banking arrangements
    • Review of ASWA Membership arrangements and fee structure
    • ASWA’s Professional Development activities for 2021
    • Review of ASWA’s Website and Social Media opportunities
    • Proposed Calendar of Events and Theme
  • General Business
  • Close of AGM and date for next Committee Meeting

New Post - 2 February 2021

ASWA Committee Meeting - 30 January 2021

The ASWA Committee met on 30 January 2020. The purpose was to discuss the calendar of events for 2021 and to plan the Annual General Meeting. You are welcome to read the Minutes of the Meeting.

New Post - 21 January 2021

Early Notice - ASWA Annual General Meeting

ASWA will hold its Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, 16th February 2021 at the Paddington Alehouse, 141 Scarborough Beach Road, Mt Hawthorn. Full details to be posted soon.

New Post - 1 November 2020

Early Notice - ASWA Annual Dinner and Prize Night

ASWA Annual Dinner 2020 - Flyer

When: Friday 4 December 2020

Where: University Club of Western Australia

Time: 6.30pm for pre-dinner drinks

Cost: $90.00 Members. $100.00 Non-members. Three course meal and drinks. After dinner speaker. Annual Prize Awards

Due to COVID 19, please note that there is a limit of 36 persons allowable at this event. ASWA would appreciate you booking on-line via the link below now later than 27 November 2020.

The link below provides the opportunity to reserve your tickets, sponsor a prize or make a sponsored contribution to the ASWA Annual Dinner. ASWA would appreciate your feedback via the questions in the link below, which, upon payment, will send an invoice to your email address.

RegisterNow Logo


Entrée: choice of two:

  • Prawn, snapper and smoked salmon with French bean and olive salad and tartare sauce
  • Prosciutto rolled chicken breast with saffron risotto and parmesan cream

Main Course: choice of two:

  • Grilled barramundi fillet with a mussel ragout and yellow coconut curry sauce
  • Charred beef sirloin steak with creamy mushrooms and Chinese wine jus

Desert: choice of two:

  • Warm Christmas pudding with sticky date sauce and vanilla ice cream
  • Star anise and cinnamon pannacotta with port poached stone fruit

Further details and catering for other dietary requirements are available through aswa.committee1@anthropologywa.org.


New Post - 29 September 2020

ASWA's Seminar Series 2020 - Presidential Address

Dr. Edward McDonald, the President of ASWA, will deliver his Presidential Address, the inaugural Wilson Locke Lecture, on 10 November 2020. Dr. McDonald will present a paper co-written with Bryn Coldrick, an ASWA member, formerly WA based, now based in Ireland, who has been participating in ASWA's on-line seminars.

Seminar Title: "Out amonst the natives": Daisy Bates' ethnography and the invention of ethnographic fieldwork

Date: Tuesday 10 November 2020

Time: 6.30pm (AWST)

Where: The Left Bank, 15 Riverside Road, East Fremantle - upstairs at The River Bar

Costs: $10 members, $15 non-members - book tickets via the Register Now link below

RegisterNow Logo


Daisy Bates (1859-1951) has long been denied the status of a 'real' anthropologist; at best she is considered an 'enthusiastic amateur'. Her work is often discredited because of moralistic views about her personal life: a 'spoilt' moral character, evidence that her writings cannot be trusted. Examining her correspondence, published and unpublished papers, we argue that much of her work is "seriously anthropological" and her 'invention' of ethnographic fieldwork compares favourably with Malinowski's developments a decade later.

We suggest that Bates was ahead of her time, avoiding many of the shortcomings of 'modern' anthropology with its focus on Aboriginal 'cultures' as discrete and fixed. She understood the interaction of local and regional systems, of the movement of people, objects and intangible phenomena within and between regions. However, in other ways she remained a pre-modern anthropologist focusing on ethnology and endeavouring to create an encyclopedic compendium of 'facts' about all aspects of Aboriginal culture. But then, so did many of her contemporaries. We argue that much of the criticism of Bates and her work is moralist and 'presentist' in the extreme and fails to acknowledge the complex history of the development of anthropology and ethnographic fieldwork. We contend that Bates is an "excluded ancestor" who needs to be "reclaimed". Her corpus of ethnographic material needs to be examined not for "useable bits of lore" but in such a way as to provide a more critical understanding of the development of ethnographic fieldwork in Aboriginal Australia.


New Post - 20 October 2020

Review of Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972

The Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage released the Consultation Draft of the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill 2020 in September with responses due by 9 October 2020. The ASWA Committee drafted and referred to members a suggested response. A number of suggestions and additional comments were added and incorporated into the Committee's draft. The Committee appreciates the suggestions from members. Please read ASWA's formal submission in response to the Consultation Draft.


New Post - 28 September 2020

Future Forum 2020: Visions for the future of Aboriginal Heritage in Western Australia

The Australian Association of Consulting Archaeologists (AACAI), the Anthropological Society of Western Australia (ASWA), and the Australia International Council on Monuments and Sites (A.ICOMOS) are hosting a one-day symposium on Visions for the future of Aboriginal Heritage in Western Australia. It will be held at the Esplanade Hotel Fremantle on Friday, 16 October 2020.

The forum will bring together First Nations people, Traditional Owners and custodians, representative bodies, industry, consultants, researchers and other interested parties to explore and discuss what the future of Aboriginal heritage management could look like in Western Australia. There will be a number of speakers showcasing current achievements and future plans for enhancing Aboriginal heritage management, including community-led research, innovations and collaborative projects.

The Future Forum will be a remarkable opportunity to connect, share and discuss visions, aspirations, innovations and anticipated challenges as a collective of people working and engaging with Aboriginal cultural heritage within the state.

Speakers include Professor Len Collard, Professor Peter Veth, Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation & Professor Jo McDonald, PKKP Traditional Owners, Robin Stevens & Sharyn Dershow, Yindjibarndi Traditional Owners, Dr Caroline Bird, Professor David Trigger, Clint Shaw, Dr Joe Dortch & Yinhawangka Traditional Owners, Rachel Perkins & Matt Storey, and Wajarri Yamaji Traditional Owners. There will also be a presentation on the draft WA Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill 2020 from the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs or the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage. A panel session with First Nations people from across the state will conclude the forum.


Venue: Esplanade Hotel Fremantle
Address: 46-54 Marine Terrace, Fremantle WA
Date: 16 October 2020
Forum: 8am to 5pm
Canapes: 5.30pm to 7.30pm
Expected participants: Up to 200 people


Participants can register through the booking portal on the Humanitix website.

Registration Fees

$160 General Admission
$120 for First Nations People (travel subsidy available)
$120 for AACAI/ASWA/AICOMOS Members (current membership)
$120 for Students (with valid student email)

Registration includes morning tea, lunch & afternoon tea during the forum, and canapes & drinks in evening.

A small booking fee by Humanitix will apply. 100% of profits from booking fees will be directed to Indigenous Scholarships.

Numbers are limited to 230 people (due to current Government restrictions for events/gatherings) and are currently just over 200. Registrations will close on Friday 2 October (unless capacity is reached before then).

First Nations Travel Subsidies

First Nations people who live outside the Perth metropolitan area qualify for a travel subsidy to partially offset the cost of getting to Fremantle. Amounts will vary depending on distance travelled and the total number of applicants. Travel subsidies can be requested through the Humanitix registration page, or contact JJ directly.


If you are unable to attend the Forum in person but are still interested in participating, the forum will be live-streamed over Zoom – please RSVP with your email address to JJ McDermott (0458608786 or jagemcdermott2@gmail.com) and a link will be sent to you before the Forum.