2019 fellow: Mandy Nicholson
Research project: Baggarrook-al Biik-u (She is of Country)
Mandy's research will focus on Victorian Aboriginal women, specifically Wurundjeri women. She will utilise the collections to investigate Wurundjeri seasons and ceremony related to the feminine stars; for example, Pleiades (Seven Sisters), as these are very important to current day Wurundjeri women and girls, and how they are interconnected with language and Songlines.
Woiwurrung is also a major focus, as there is much hidden cultural knowledge lying within it. These also relate to the rest of the Central Kulin, the different layers of Country and how Aboriginals are connected to them spiritually.
Mandy will focus on all the six layers of Wurundjeri Country – the Biik-ut (Below Country), Biik-dui (On Country), Baanj Biik (Water Country), Murnmut Biik (Wind Country), Wurru wurru Biik (Sky Country) and Tharangalk Biik (Bunjil's home) – and how these relate to everyday life and wellbeing.
Mandy Nicholson is currently a PhD candidate, whose research topic is the Gunditjmara of Western Victoria. She has worked for a number of years at the Victorian Aboriginal Corp for Languages as Woiwurrung Language Specialist and also as an Oral history worker at the Koorie Heritage Trust.
A visual artist, Mandy is a mentor for young Aboriginal girls and women, and coordinates the Djirri Djirri dance group. Holding a BA Indigenous Archaeology, Mandy has been working for her community for many years, reigniting Woiwurrung, ceremony, dance, song and culture generally. She has been a cultural educator for many years in all areas of Wurundjeri culture.