Rebecca Nichols

Social Science
Winter 2015

During the course of completing a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Australian Indigenous Studies I heard about the Aurora Internship program. Upon finishing my degree it made sense to use my knowledge and gain practical experience in the Indigenous sector through an Aurora internship. 

I was extremely happy to be accepted into the Program and placed in my home city at the Indigenous Studies Unit, within the University of Melbourne’s School of Population and Global Health. The specific project I was assigned to was the Agreements, Treaties and Negotiated Settlements Project (ATNS), which is an Australian Research Council Linkage Project that examines treaty and agreement-making with Indigenous Australians and, in particular, the nature of the cultural, social and legal rights of agreements. Professor Marcia Langton is the Director of the Indigenous Studies Unit, which houses so many amazing programs and research projects running at any one time. The best part of my internship was learning from leading academics about the wide range current projects and research in Indigenous communities.

During my six-week placement at the Indigenous Studies Unit, I worked on a number of different tasks and projects. Initially I began working on the ATNS database which is an incredible resource that provides information on agreements between Indigenous people and others within Australia and overseas.  Through updating and maintaining the ATNS database I learnt a lot about the nature of native title in Australia including the content, structure and the processes agreements. Other tasks I worked on included a research project looking at digitisation of archives in Indigenous communities. By compiling relevant sources for a literature review I was able to learn about the current international and national best practice for digitisation. I also helped out with some research on alcohol management in various Indigenous communities and assisted in some analysis for a research project on the use of digital technologies to provide health information to people in remote Indigenous communities.

​​I would definitely recommend an Aurora internship to anyone who is studying social science and has an interest in Australian Indigenous affairs. For me it was a great way to gain experience and skills and get a taste of what its like to work in the Indigenous sector whilst making connections and learning from amazing and passionate people. The Aurora Internship Program offers five to six week internships at a wide range of organisations working to support the Indigenous sector, all over the country during university winter and summer holidays, with some flexibility for graduates. Internships are available to some social science, anthropology and law students.