South Australia’s History Advocate – a 21st century-facing role, reminiscent of the former role of State Historian.
South Australia’s History Advocate is the History Trust of SA’s principal public spokesperson on South Australian history. Our History Advocate will undertake research, providing advocacy and outreach to historical organisations, individual practitioners and the broader community. They will be our authoritative ‘go to’ person for media and will work with urban and regional communities and other groups to increase appreciation of our distinctive history.
South Australia’s History Advocate will guide the sharing and telling of the diverse stories that make South Australians who we are today. They will bring our history into focus for present and future generations giving the past a future now. They will provide engaging and interesting historic information for visitors to South Australia.
South Australia’s History Advocate is accountable to the Board of Trustees through the Chief Executive Officer. They will provide policy advice on historical matters to the Board of Trustees and stakeholders, including the Minister and Department for Education, contributing to a better-informed community appreciation of South Australia’s history and heritage, consistent with the History Trust of South Australia Act (1981).
Who is South Australia’s History Advocate.
Dr Kiera Lindsey
Kiera is an award-winning historian. For over twenty years she has been enthusiastically exploring historical ideas and deepening our interest in and understandings of the past, via books and articles, radio and podcasts, film and television, teaching and talking.
In addition to being the inaugural winner of the Greg Dening Memorial Prize in 2009, Kiera has a student-nominated award for teaching Australian History at the University of South Australia in 2013, and an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA) 2018 for a project entitled ‘Speculative biography, historical craft and the case of Adelaide Ironside’.
Kiera regularly appears on radio and television, produces podcasts and offers advice to the museum and heritage sectors. She has also published monographs and edited collections as well as single- and co-publications concerned with the nineteenth-century world, biography and public history. She has a particular passion for working at the generative intersections between historical research and historical imagination; using speculation to stimulate curiosity and bring to life all that might otherwise remain under-represented in the historical record.
Kiera loves conversation, curiosity, contestation and a good laugh. She believes that genuine respect and fun must be at the heart of all genuine learning. In addition to teaching within the university sector for over twenty years she has regularly participated in public talks, chaired and convened conferences, facilitated workshops and hosted on-line events on all sorts of historically speaking
matters and for national and international audiences as diverse as the Sydney Writers Festival, Festivals of Big Ideas, University of the Third Age and primary school students.
Kiera is currently the Vice President of the History Council of New South Wales and a member of both the Sydney Living Museum’s Curatorial and Public Engagement Committee, and the Working party for the Australian Dictionary of Biography. She also serves on the editorial board for the journal of Global Nineteenth-Century Studies.
Kiera’s first monograph, The Convict’s Daughter, was published with Allen & Unwin in 2016. It has been described as ‘a meticulously researched, broad sweeping book that makes us re-examine the craft of history in ways that also ‘fearlessly’ carve ‘a new path between history and fiction’.
In 2021 Kiera Lindsey and Donna Brien published an edited collection entitled Speculative Biography: Experiments, Opportunities and Provocations with Routledge which establishes them as the leading scholars and practitioners in this sub-genre variant of biography. The collection has been described as a ‘timely and leading edge’ work that makes ‘a nuanced and highly innovative contribution’ as well as ‘an important intervention into the field of life writing’.
In 2021 Kiera also co-edited a special issue of the Public History Review dedicated to the Statue Wars with Dr Mariko Smith, Yuin woman and Manager, First Nations’ Collections and Engagement at Australian Museum.
In 2022 Kiera was the lead author on an article entitled Creative Histories in the Australian context published in History Australia. This article brings together a group of history practitioners including Mariko Smith (Aust Museum), Craig Batty (UniSA), Donna Brien (UNE), Anna Clark (UTS) and Rachel Landers (UTS), who, prompted by their experiences of creative approaches to the theory and practice of history, explored how the term ‘Creative Histories’ might apply within the Australian context.
In 2023 Kiera’s monograph on the painter and poet, mystic and medium Adelaide Ironside will be published with Allen & Unwin. Although this monograph (working title, Wild Love) is the key output of her ARC DECRA, Kiera has also given many public presentations and published numerous articles and book chapters about her biographical method and subject.
Kiera published an article in The Conversation regarding Australia’s first female-only petition, which was signed by over 9000 ‘female inhabitants of Sydney’ in 1850 when these ‘sister politicians’ petitioned Queen Victoria to demand an end to the transportation of convicts in New South Wales. Kiera unearthed this previously neglected document with the assistance of Rosemary Sempell, archivist at the New South Wales Parliamentary Records during research on Adelaide Ironside, and confirmed that both Adelaide and her mother, Martha, signed this important historical document.
Kiera has also published articles based on her PhD in the Age and Sydney Morning Herald as well as a series of stories based on South Australian history in the Adelaide Review.
BLOGS: Australian Women’s History Review
The Convict’s Daughter: Speculations on Biography
Stirring the Pot: Speculating with fragments & informing the imagination
Radio, Podcasts & TV
Keira appeared as the on-camera expert historian in a four part television series entitled Lawless which was concerned with Australian bushrangers, produced by Foxtel’s History Channel, Lawless and presented by Mike Munro. This series involved over six months of filming in remote parts of Australia including the Carnarvon Ranges in QLD, as well as the iconic bushlands of Forbes in New South Wales and Stringy Bark Creek in Victoria.
Kiera has co-presented a South Australian History show on ABC Adelaide with Sonya Feldhoff (2013-2016) and often appeared on Radio National, including a regular stint with Phil Clark between 2016 and 2018. In 2022, she narrated a 30 minute sound story based upon her Master’s thesis which is entitled, ‘Hume and Hovell and the Pathfinders’.