Dr Pamela Faye McGrath

PhD (Interdisciplinary Cross-Cultural Research)
Honorary Senior Lecturer, School of Archaeology and Anthropology
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
T: 0439958646

Areas of expertise

  • Studies Of Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Society 169902
  • Heritage And Cultural Conservation 210202
  • Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Policy 160501
  • Economic Development Policy 160505
  • Law And Society 180119

Research interests

  • Native title law and policy
  • Indigenous cultural hertiage management
  • Indigenous peoples and mining
  • Indigenous information governance
  • intercultural sociality and identity
  • Camera cultures
  • Western Desert and Pilbara, Western Australia 


Pamela has been involved with native title claim research, policy analysis and the teaching of native title anthropology for two decades. She was a founding collaborator of the ANU’s Centre for Native Title Anthropology, where she worked as a Research Fellow until moving to the Native Title Research Unit at AIATSIS in 2012. Pamela’s applied and academic research has focused primarily on the social and economic impacts of the native title regime, Indigenous cultural heritage regulation, and the management of native title archives. HEr publications include The Right to Protect Sites (2016), an edited anthology of interdisciplinary analysis about the management of place-based Indigenous heritage in the era of native title. The book includes a chapter on her research into the scale and impacts of cultural heritage activities occurring under the future act regime. Pamela has also conducted research on the information management capabilities of native title organisations and the design of guidelines to assist native title holders to secure and provide access to their collections of unique native title materials. She has also researched and written about aspects of intercultural sociality, identity and camera culture on the Australian frontier. Her doctoral thesis (2011) involved the re-documentation and repatriation of a significant number of historical films and photographs, which she employed to examine social relations around cameras during the early years of settler contact with Ngaanyatjarra people of the Western Desert. Pam is currently Director of LPR Consulting Pty Ltd, and continues to provide expert research and mediation services for native title matters.

Researcher's projects

The right to protect sites: Indigenous heritage management in the era of native title (AIATSIS 2016). Following strong interest from Indigenous stakeholders for a project focused on cultural heritage management and native title, this three year project examines the interesection of native title rights with the state and territory regulatory regimes of heritage protection in the context of resource extraction and other development projects. With a focus on the intents and impacts of heritage regimes, it explores how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are strategically engaging with them to them in order to leverage local social and economic objectives.

Managing Information in Native Title (AIATSIS NTRU project 2013-2015) This three year project has been initiated in response to concerns raised by numerous native title organisations and traditional owner groups regarding the management of the large amount of information they have accumulated in the process of securing and managing their native title rights. Drawing on the findings of recent research into information managment capacity and information inequities in the native title system, as well as the outcomes of a large workshop of representatives from native title organisations around the country, the MINT project will produce a number of online tools, advice and guides to support traditional onwers in their efforts to access, secure and manage their substantial and unique collections of native title materials.

The Nyangumarta Corporate History Research Project (AIATSIS NTRU project 2013-2015) Working in partnership with the Nyangumarta Warrarn Registered Native Title Body Corporate (RNTBC) and Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC), the Nyangumarta Corporate History Research Project provides insights into the nature and amount of corporate work required of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to achieve recognition of their native title rights and then manage them into the future. Using data gleaned from historical legal files and focusing exclusively on external (or intercultural) activities and relationships, this project quantifies the ‘work’ of the Nyangumarta people over a 15 year period as they pursued and ultimately won recognition of their native title rights.

Centre for Native Title Anthropology Dr McGrath was a founding collaborator in the Centre for Native Title Anthropology (CNTA), and was their principal Research Fellow from 2010 to 2012. CNTA aims to enhance the practice of native title anthropology in Australia through a series of innovative programs and workshops for applied anthropologists.  


Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  01 October 2023 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers