Dr Ute Eickelkamp
I am an anthropologist and independent scholar interested in Indigenous Australian lives, urban nature and design anthropology. My ethnographic research has been with Anangu families in Central Australia, first in 1995 as a PhD student at Heidelberg University after I had completed undergraduate studies in Berlin (around the rather exciting time of the fall of the wall). Art, children’s imagination, ogres and the nexus of personhood, culture and ontology have been the various foci of my ethnographic analyses. In short, I am interested in the symbolic articulations of a transforming Indigenous cultural imaginary. Drawing on German humanities traditions, philosophy and psychoanalysis, I seek to understand how the Anangu I have come to know accommodate or not the existential pressures they chronically live with. Most recently, as an ARC Future Fellow, I have explored how Anangu thinkers, including vernacular Christians, speak about nature, history and being. We explored these themes during a journey to the Holy Land and in a collaborative workshop, Placing Spirit, Minding the World: Towards an Intercultural Ethic of Care, that brought together Anangu artists and educators, and non-Indigenous philosophers, poets and anthropologists. Presently, I am orienting towards interdisciplinary action research on rapidly changing ecologies beyond Australia – the post-coal world of Germany’s Ruhr Valley where I grew up. Publications include Don’t Ask for Stories: The Women of Ernabella and Their Art (1999); the co-edited Contexts of Child Development: Culture, Policy and Intervention (2008); and Growing Up in Central Australia: New Anthropological Studies of Aboriginal Childhood and Adolescence (2011).