An internationally recognised archaeologist with more than 25 years’ experience exploring the meaning and significance of rock art has been appointed Kimberley Foundation Ian Potter Chair in Rock Art at The University of Western Australia.
Professor Joakim Goldhahn, currently based at Linnaeus University in Sweden, will take up his position at UWA in August, replacing inaugural chair Professor Peter Veth.
During the past nine years, Professor Goldhahn, who also holds an adjunct professorial position at Griffith University, has worked collaboratively on community-based research into northern Australian rock art with ongoing fieldwork in Arnhem Land.
He has written more than 20 books and over 100 papers on rock art in Europe, South Africa, North America, and Australia.
Professor Matthew Tonts, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Education welcomed the appointment of Professor Goldhahn.
“Professor Goldhahn’s renowned work in exploring the meaning and significance of rock art will be a boon for our Centre for Rock Art Research + Management,” Professor Tonts said.
“This significant international appointment strengthens our valuable research at UWA and supports our continuing Indigenous cultural conservation work within the Faculty.”
Established in 2012, the Chair is funded by the Kimberley Foundation Australia (KFA) through a gift from The Ian Potter Foundation and a major contribution from global energy company INPEX. UWA provided matching funding enabling the Chair to be fully endowed.
Since 2000 Professor Goldhahn has been involved with four Australian community-based research projects in western and north-western Arnhem Land. This collaborative research has included clan groups: Mirarr (2011-2015), Maung (2016-2018), and Djok (2017-ongoing).
His work has focused on recent rock art artists, their artworks, and legacy; and he has an extensive network of interdisciplinary collaborators. His experience will enrich the already well-established archaeology group at UWA working within the Centre for Rock Art Research + Management.
Professor Goldhahn’s appointment follows the recent appointment of Dr Rachel Popelka-Filcoff to the new Kimberley Foundation Minderoo Chair in Archaeological Science at The University of Melbourne.
The two Chairs have a shared research role in bringing worldwide understanding to the story of Australia’s earliest human habitation informed by science and Aboriginal cultural heritage. They already have shared research projects in Kimberley Visions and Rock Art Dating.
These two pillars of scientific rock art research established by KFA are fundamental to its mission to research Australia’s earliest human story through science and Aboriginal cultural knowledge to reveal the deep history of Aboriginal Australia and its significance in the global narrative of human origins.