Jennifer Macdonald

Jennifer Macdonald
Jennifer Macdonald's picture
PhD Candidate
Primary research group: 
Conservation and Sustainable Livelihoods
B. Science (Hons) - Human Geography


I am a PhD student with the Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods (RIEL) at CDU, working with local Indigenous people on a project investigating contemporary measures of success in land and sea management. I am based in Darwin but have spent that last 6 months living and working in Ngukurr in southern Arnhem Land and in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in South Australia. I am currently working with local co-researchers, the Ngukurr Language Centre, the Yugul Mangi Rangers and APY to talk to local people about how they measure success, with a particular focus on aspirations and success in land and sea management. The aims of the project are to value local ways of knowing and doing land and sea management, to understand and articulates the ways in which local people know whether their country is healthy or not, and to come up with a better tool for monitoring the management effectiveness of that land and sea management. I am learning Pitjantjatjara and Kriol, among other traditional languages of the area.

My PhD is part of an ARC-funded project titled Integrating Measures of Indigenous Land and Sea Management Effectiveness, through which partners include NAILSMA, CSIRO, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Smyth & Bardt Consultancies, the Commonwealth Government (IPA and WoC programs) and UQ.


Before moving to Darwin, I worked as a research assistant for an Indigenous social research consultancy in Melbourne, ran a computer room in Papunya, a remote Indigenous community in central Australia, and did an internship on turtle and dugong management policy at the Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership in Cairns. I have a Bachelors degree in Science, majoring in Human Geography, and wrote my Honours thesis on the water rights and interests of Indigenous people in river conservation legislation in Queensland. I was born and grew up in Melbourne.

People I work with

Dr. Beau Austin's picture
Dr. Beau Austin
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Prof Stephen Garnett's picture
Prof Stephen Garnett
Hmalan Hunter-Xenie's picture
Hmalan Hunter-Xenie
Research Associate
Judit Szabo's picture
Judit Szabo
Adjunct - Research Fellow
Arturo Izurieta's picture
Arturo Izurieta
Veronica Toral-Granda's picture
Veronica Toral-Granda
Ph.D. Candidate

My blog posts

Jennifer Macdonald's picture

Mary River, NT

17-19 October 2016