Fulbright Indigenous Scholarship for UON Researcher

Dr Stephanie Gilbert

Dr Stephanie Gilbert, Coordinator of Teaching Quality and Development at The Wollotuka Institute, the University of Newcastle is set to put an international perspective on her research after she was selected to receive a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship.

Stephanie will use her Fulbright Scholarship to examine the possibility that trauma can become embedded in our bodies in such a way it can be transmitted across generations. Exploring ‘soul wounds’ and body dysphoria, Stephanie will take these concepts into the broader, International context.

Stephanie’s project will explore the concept of body dysphoria as a consequence of Australia’s assimilation policies and the Stolen Generation and the consequence on their bodies including epigenetic consequences.

“What if a Stolen Generations person were to look down at themselves, see brown skin and feel nothing but disgust?” Stephanie says. “This has happened” she says “because many had perhaps no exposure or experience of Aboriginal culture or family and were taught they were not Aboriginal at all.”

This field of research has been Stephanie’s life work, and she is dedicated to ensuring that the Stolen Generations are honourably represented in all of her research.

Exploring this field in an international sphere will help inform a broader conversation around how identity is expressed in our bodies and in our sense-of-self.

For her Fulbright Scholarship, Stephanie will travel to the U.S. for six months to work with a range of academics from research groups and institutions such as University of California (Santa-Cruz) and University of Washington’ Indigenous Wellness Research Institute.

Long-term, Stephanie’s work could help develop a more innovative international conversation about how Indigenous identities are constructed resulting from body memory as well as lived life.

Stephanie will be officially awarded her scholarship at the Fulbright Scholar Gala Presentation Dinner at Parliament House, Canberra on March 8.

Originally published by the UON Newsroom