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Northern Rivers historian Dr Kate Gahan has been awarded the prestigious $30,000 2016 NSW History Fellowship. Dr Gahan will undertake a self-directed professional development program including the research and production of an exhibition, Entangled Encounters, exploring the social histories of the Aboriginal communities and the culturally diverse people living in the Clarence, Richmond and Tweed River districts during the 19th Century.

Minister for the Arts Troy Grant said the NSW Government’s History Fellowship fosters professional development in the history sector by supporting an individual’s program of mentorships or internships with recognised historical organisations, courses and research, travel and the creation of new work.

“Dr Gahan is a professional historian based in the Northern Rivers and well-known locally for numerous community-based projects that have shared the powerful value of history to our present and to where we live. A recent, impressive project was her documentation for the Grafton Regional Gallery of the historic context for the 1870s photographs by J W Lindt of Gumbaynggir, Yaegal and Bundjalung people.”

Dr Gahan completed her PhD in history at the University of New England, Armidale, which she credits with a strong focus on community history. The NSW History Fellowship from Arts NSW will assist her to develop curatorial skills, broaden networks and collaborate with historical societies, Aboriginal organisations and museums across the Northern Rivers. The proposed exhibition, Entangled Encounters, will bring together objects and stories from these communities and open in the region in 2018.

The Arts NSW Panel also commended the application of heritage consultant and President of the Uralla Historical Society, Sue Singleton.

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