In an era when a new generation of Aboriginal leaders carry such great responsibility, Professor Simone Ulalka Tur (MEdSt ’02, PhD(EHLT) ’18) provides a compelling voice that promotes Indigenous knowledge and reconciliation.
As an educator, artist, writer, advocate and leader through her role as Flinders University’s Pro Vice Chancellor (Indigenous), Professor Tur has made a profound and sustained impact on the national landscape as a champion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, particularly through art and education.
In a lengthy and distinguished career in higher education, Professor Tur has nurtured the intellectual and cultural development of successive generations of students and has been a driving force powering the cultural transformation of Flinders through the twin concepts of reconciliation and decolonisation.
Throughout her formal education journey – from her Bachelor of Teaching in 1993, joining Flinders as a lecturer in 1998, to her Master of Educational studies in 2002 and PhD in 2018 – Professor Tur has sought to extend knowledge and understanding to the wider community. Her widely published research has contributed to Indigenous Knowledges nationally and internationally in fields such as law and social justice in relation to Indigenous peoples, Indigenous rights, social policy, and activism.
Professor Tur has a prodigious work ethic. She leads Flinders’ engagement with Indigenous students, staff and the broader community to enhance respect for Indigenous knowledge systems and perspectives. She was also pivotal in establishing the University’s Elders network in SA and NT, along with a First Nations Researcher Collective, and has championed the Indigenising of curriculum, while being active on more than 30 Flinders, state and national bodies and committees.
Her efforts extend beyond higher education to disseminate knowledge and understanding to the wider community, most notably as part of the Unbound Collective, an award winning, internationally recognised all-Aboriginal artists’ collective which responds to the powerful nexus between decolonising methodologies and Indigenous creative methodologies. The Unbound Collective’s work was recently awarded the Museums and Galleries National Award for Indigenous Project (Level 1) for REFLECT – the light and shade of a long story, at the Museum of Discovery in Adelaide.
Her sphere of influence extends well beyond Flinders to impact the national Indigenous Higher Education sector. She provides strategic advice as a member of the Universities Australia DVC/PVC Indigenous Committee, is an Executive Member (Research) with the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Higher Education Consortium, and in 2022 was elected Chair of the Innovative Research University Indigenous Australian Network, driving research and academic priorities in areas such as inclusion of regional and low SES Indigenous students, and is now co-chair of the network.
Professor Tur’s leadership is highly respected for her efforts to foster the truth telling, recognition, reciprocity and respect that must be at the heart of reconciliation.
Professor Simone Ulalka Tur has received a 2023 Distinguished Alumni Award for her leadership in Indigenous advocacy both within South Australia and nationally, through art and education.