South Australia’s History Advocate is reminiscent of the former role of State Historian but has been reenergised to meet the rich possibilities of the 21st century.
This short film, ‘We – the Keepers & Custodians’, is based upon the Welcome Address Dr Kiera Lindsey delivered at the Migration Museum, Thursday 27 October 2022. A Transcript of this speech is also available here. Also available, transcripts of the speeches delivered that evening by Professor Martin Westwell (CE Department for Education) and Elizabeth Ho OAM (Chair, HTSA). Click here for details about the Position Description and Media Release.
More about the History Advocate role
South Australia’s History Advocate is the History Trust of SA’s principal public spokesperson on South Australian history. Our History Advocate undertakes research, providing advocacy and outreach to historical organisations, individual practitioners and the broader community. They are our authoritative ‘go to’ person for media, and work with urban and regional communities as well as other groups to increase appreciation of our distinctive history.
South Australia’s History Advocate guides the sharing and telling of the diverse stories which make South Australians who we are today. They bring our history into focus for present and future generations, to give the past a future – now.
South Australia’s History Advocate is accountable to the Board of Trustees through the Chief Executive Officer. They 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
(08) 8151 3200
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 an 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 a published monograph, an edited collection as well as numerous single- and co-publications concerned with her research passions, which range from: the nineteenth-century world; biography; creative and public history. Kiera has a particular passion for working at the generative intersections between historical research and historical imagination; using speculation to bring to life all who might otherwise remain under-represented in the historical record.
Kiera loves conversation and curiosity – and a good laugh. She believes genuine respect and fun is at the heart of genuine learning. In addition to teaching within the university sector for more than twenty years, Kiera has enjoyed participating in numerous public talks, chairing and convening conferences, facilitating workshops and hosting – both in person and on-line – events on all sorts of historically speaking topics and for national and international audiences as diverse as: the Sydney Writers Festival; Festival 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, a member of 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, received excellent reviews and has sold over 13,000 copies. Reviewers describe it as ‘a meticulously researched, broad sweeping book which invites us to re-examine the craft of history in ways that ‘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. Reviewers recognise this book as establishing the co-authors as leading scholars and practitioners in this sub-genre variant of biography, describing the work as a ‘timely and leading edge’ and making ‘a nuanced’ and ‘highly innovative’ ‘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.
Later in 2023 Kiera’s monograph on the painter and poet, mystic and medium Adelaide Ironside will be published with Allen & Unwin.
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 but highly significant historical document with the assistance of Rosemary Sempell, archivist at the New South Wales Parliamentary Records.
Kiera has also published articles in the Age and Sydney Morning Herald and once published a regular column on South Australian history in the Adelaide Review.
Radio, Podcasts & TV
Kiera appeared as the on-camera expert historian in a four-part television series entitled Lawless which was produced by Foxtel’s History Channel and presented by Mike Munro. She has also appeared as a history expert on SBS and ABC.
Between 2013 and 2016 Kiera co-presented a South Australian History show on ABC Adelaide with Sonya Feldhoff. She has appeared often on Radio National, including a regular stint with Phil Clark between 2016 and 2018 and in 2022, Kiera co-wrote and narrated a 30-minute sound story based upon her master’s thesis entitled, ‘Hume and Hovell and the Pathfinders’.
To read more about Kiera’s approach to writing the lives who are under represented in the historical record;
BLOGS: Australian Women’s History Review
The Convict’s Daughter: Speculations on Biography
Stirring the Pot: Speculating with fragments & informing the imagination