Introducing the ARDC’s First Indigenous Intern, Lisa Rigney

The ARDC welcomed its first Indigenous Intern in 2022, Lisa Rigney.

Apply now to be the next ARDC Indigenous Intern.

Ms Lisa Rigney

In August 2022, Lisa Rigney joined the ARDC as our first Indigenous intern, assigned to the Indigenous Data Network at The University of Melbourne.

A proud Ngarrindjeri, Talkindjeri and Ramindjeri woman from Raukkan (formerly known as Point McLeay), she is also a Kaurna woman from the Adelaide Plains area and a Boandik woman from Mount Gambier.

Lisa moved from Kaurna Country (Adelaide) to take up the internship as Project Support Officer, Indigenous Data. When her internship ends in August 2023, Lisa will apply her enhanced project management, Indigenous Data and Governance, Indigenous research, facilitation and workshop skills, in her next role as an Aboriginal Community Education Officer at Avenues College in Adelaide.

Levi-Craig Murray, who works alongside Lisa at the Indigenous Data Network, said, “The commitment of the ARDC to create and foster opportunities such as the Indigenous Internship is what changes the trajectory for individuals and their communities.

“For Lisa, who is already a senior and accomplished educator, the internship has provided a platform for two-way learning, not only within institutional settings, but also, critically, into the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities that we come from and serve.

“As an intern, Lisa’s insights have ensured that the work undertaken within the Improving Indigenous Research Capabilities project positions and elevates Indigenous voices.”

Jenny Fewster, Director of the ARDC HASS and Indigenous Research Data Commons (RDC), said, “The ARDC’s Indigenous Internship program is a vital component of our program to uplift digital research skills in the Indigenous research sector. At the same time as we are creating powerful digital research tools and platforms for the HASS and Indigenous research sectors, we are also ensuring we upskill researchers to use the technology. Lisa’s contributions to the ARDC this past year have been considerable, and we thank her for her dedication to elevating Indigenous research capability. We are committed to continuing our internship program and look forward to welcoming our next Indigenous intern in August 2023.”

We spoke with Lisa about her experience at the ARDC.

Lisa Rigney (centre) with her colleagues Jo Savill (ARDC), Levi-Craig Murray (Indigenous Data Network), Jenny Fewster (ARDC), Kristen Smith (Indigenous Data Network).
Lisa Rigney (centre) with her colleagues Jo Savill (ARDC), Levi-Craig Murray (Indigenous Data Network), Jenny Fewster (ARDC), Kristen Smith (Indigenous Data Network)

How has your internship impacted your professional growth?

I have a dream and goal to one day become a CEO of an Aboriginal community-controlled organisation. There are so many things I need to consider before becoming a CEO, such as both qualifications and on-the-job experiences and opportunities. 

Last year I completed a Diploma of Business Administration / Diploma of Leadership and Management, and I am now studying for my Master of Business Administration at the Australian Institute of Management. I also completed the Introduction to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research through the Lowitija Institute, which has given me skills and knowledge to become a researcher, but most importantly an Aboriginal researcher. 

[Alongside my goal to become a CEO], I am interested in pursuing a career in Indigenous research, maybe doing my PhD in Aboriginal genealogies in South Australia or Indigenous education. 

My ARDC Indigenous internship has prepared me to work within Indigenous research and governance, leadership and management, equipping me with project management skills and knowledge. 

3 people talking at a table.
Lisa (left) co-led a stream at the ARDC HASS and Indigenous RDC Computational Summer School.

What have been the most memorable experiences during your internship?

The ARDC workshops have been a great experience for me, including the ARDC HASS and Indigenous RDC Symposium, the Computational Summer School and the ARDC Digital Research Skills Summit. I was able to learn new things to improve my practice as a project support officer. 

One of the most special memorable experiences in my internship was working under and alongside the country’s most influential and strong Black woman, Professor Marcia Langton AM (The University of Melbourne’s Associate Provost, Foundation Chair of Australian Indigenous Studies, Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor, Director of the Indigenous Studies Unit). I see her dedication and commitment to getting a voice for our people. I am in awe of her work and how passionate she is, like me, about her people and culture.

Another memorable experience has been working with Levi-Craig Murray and the team at The University of Melbourne. I have thoroughly enjoyed working in an inclusive and culturally safe work environment. We have a deadly team. [I am] forever grateful, thankful and appreciative.

I am particularly proud of my contribution to the ARDC HASS and Indigenous RDC Computational Summer School. Both Levi and I prepared a comprehensive, culturally appropriate program on Indigenous data, research and governance. We got a lot of positive feedback from everyone who attended, and we have been invited to present the same workshop with CSIRO.

The ARDC Indigenous Internship opportunity is now open for applications, closing on 13 September 2023. Learn more and apply now >