Project leaders

The Kinship Module project has been developed as the result of an Office for Learning and Teaching (OLTC) grant to develop Indigenous Online Cultural Teaching Resources. The project is to create and maintain an online cultural education workshop based around Aboriginal Kinship systems used in Australia.

Professor Janet Mooney, Project Team Leader


Professor Janet Mooney is from the Yuin Nation and is a highly respected member of the Aboriginal academic community. She is an accomplished researcher with demonstrated expertise in utilising and employing qualitative research methodology.

Her research interests include the effective teaching of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students; Indigenous studies; and interventions that make a difference in closing the gap for Aboriginal people. She has extensive experience in undertaking focus groups and in-depth interviews; grounding analysis for insights into practice and possible policy directions. As an Aboriginal researcher she can build rapport with Aboriginal stakeholders, while also engaging non-Aboriginal participants effectively.

Her other research interests include pre-service teacher education, and equity and diversity.

During her career she has been a visual arts and senior Aboriginal studies teacher, and Education Officer in the Aboriginal Education Unit in the Head Office of the NSW Department of Education and Training, writing policy documents and creating resources for teachers in schools.

As a consultant in Aboriginal education, she worked in the Metropolitan East Region facilitating Cultural Awareness Workshops for principals and teachers, as well as assisting teachers to introduce Aboriginal studies perspectives into the school curriculum. In 1990 she joined the University of Sydney as a lecturer in the Aboriginal Education Assistants Program, later acting in the coordinator role.

From 1996 to 2013 she was Associate Professor and Director of the Koori Centre at the University of Sydney. In this role she was responsible for 22 staff and for all aspects of Aboriginal education in academic programs for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students within the Koori Centre, as well as Koori Centre units of study taught in the Faculty of Education and Social Work, and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

In this role, she also oversaw the administration of the recruitment, retention (academic support) and success of Aboriginal students at the University. As well, she was responsible for strengthening internal and external partnerships, particularly among Aboriginal communities and organisations at the local, state and national level, to achieve enhanced interaction between the University and local communities.

With the restructure and consequential closure of the Koori Centre on 31 January 2013, Professor Moody was assigned to; then seconded from, the Faculty of Education and Social Work into the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Indigenous Strategies and Services, as Academic Leader (Culture & Systems).

As Academic Leader, she assisted in the development of the Academic Plan for the National Centre of Cultural Competence and the implementation of research and education. On 24 February 2014, she took up a position at the Australian Catholic University as Professor in the new and exciting ‘Institute for Positive Psychology and Education’ to assist in the development of a strong Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research culture.

Contact Janet Mooney:

Ms Lynette Riley, Senior Lecturer


Lynette Riley is a Wiradjuri and Gamilaroi woman from Dubbo and Moree. Her current employment is as Senior Lecturer, University of Sydney, where she has been the Academic Coordinator in the Koori Centre (2006-2012).

In 2013, when the Koori Centre was restructured, she was seconded to the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Indigenous Strategies and Services as the Academic Leader, Curriculum and has since been involved in establishing a new National Centre for Cultural Competence at the University of Sydney.

Lynette has more than 35 years working experience, as a teacher and in Aboriginal education and administration within primary schools, high schools, TAFE, state offices and universities.

Lynette was one of the founding members of the NSW DET Aboriginal Education Unit which created the first Aboriginal Education Policy in 1982, much of which was based on her research undertaken in 1980, while completing studies at Armidale College of Advanced Education (ACAE). She was extensively involved in establishing the New South Wales Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (NSW AECG), and coordinated the first ever AECG conference in the early 80s.

She has been instrumental in establishing an Aboriginal presence in several universities, establishing one of the first support programs within Australia at the University of New England’s Oorala Centre (1986-1992), and programs with TAFE as an Aboriginal Development Manager for the Western Institute of TAFE (1994-1999). In 2000-2003 she was Campus Manager for the Dubbo TAFE Campus (one of the first Aboriginal woman to hold this role); and State Manager for NSW DET Aboriginal Education (2003-2006).

As an Aboriginal person, Lynette has been required not to just theorise about what was occurring to and for Aboriginal children, and their communities; or the interwoven interactions with non-Aboriginal people, communities and organisations; but to be actively involved in researching new solutions and effecting sustainable change for Aboriginal programs.

Lynette has a long history working for Reconciliation at the local level, as Chair of the Dubbo Reconciliation Group; and as State Chair for NSW Reconciliation. Her belief is that Reconciliation is an imperative; if we are to create understanding and move forward in this Nation.

Lynette is also a proud mother of seven children and a growing number of grand-children; and it is for them and many other Aboriginal children and communities that she has dedicated her life to achieving change and equity.

Contact Lynette Riley:

Dr Deirdre Howard-Wagner, Senior Research Fellow


Dr Deirdre Howard-Wagner is a sociologist and socio-legal scholar, who currently is an ARC DECRA Fellow in the Department of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Sydney. She is President of the Law and Society Association Australia and New Zealand (LSAANZ).

Her academic research and publications to date examine how the Australian state exercises control over Aboriginal peoples and their rights through law and policy. This focus has lead her to give detailed consideration to the intent and effects of the Northern Territory National Emergency Response laws and policy in her research and writing. Building on this work, Deirdre is currently involved in an in-depth place-based study of urban Aboriginal success in addressing disadvantage and improving wellbeing as a way of engaging methodically with the national Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage framework and its associated policies, programs and practices.

While completing her PhD in sociology at the University of Newcastle, she was the Deputy Director of the Justice Policy Research Centre in the School of Law at the University of Newcastle (2004-2006). Prior to commencing her PhD and concurrent with her undergraduate studies, Deirdre worked in the Australian Public Service from 1992-2000, including the Office of Indigenous Affairs in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. She received a BA in Sociology with first class honours from the Australian National University (2000) – where she also received the George Zubrzycki Prize - Biennial Award for Best Result in Sociology IV (2001).

Contact Deirdre Howard-Wagner: