The ‘Indigenous studies discussion group’ at the University of Cambridge is a graduate-led network that aims to (1) promote scholarship by and about Indigenous Peoples across disciplines and spaces to be a regular feature of the intellectual life of Cambridge and (2) promote the sharing and discussion of insights and ideas pertaining to Indigenous studies across peoples, disciplines, times and geographies.

Sign up for the network’s mailing list on the ISDG website.

For enquiries contact the Networks programme manager.


All of ISDG's posters on one page

Supported by CRASSH and co-sponsored by Cambridge Heritage Research Centre (CHRC)



  • Benny Q Shen (PhD candidate, Department of Archaeology)
  • Joseph Powell (British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Faculty Divinity)
  • Sara Corona (MPhil graduate, Department of Archaeology)
  • Marilena Proietti (PhD student in Civilisations of Asia and Africa, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy)
  • Angelos Theocharis (Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the Department of Media, Culture, Heritage, Newcastle University)
  • Lianna Harrington (MPhil student English, University of Cambridge)

About the convenors

Benny Q. Shen [2022-24] is a second year PhD Student in Archaeology at University of Cambridge with a specific interest in the archaeology and anthropology of sub-Saharan Africa. His MPhil dissertation work focused on the reassessment of current approaches in the archaeology of apiculture from the angle of Indigenous beekeeping practices in East Africa. He received his B.A. in Archaeology and Anthropology from IoA, UCL where he was awarded the Peter Ucko Prize for Anthropology and Archaeology and the Jonathan Lowe Prize for work in Palaeoecology. He worked as a field archaeologist for UCL Archaeology South-East in the commercial setting whilst also participating in a range of research excavations all over the world. He is currently working on his PhD project: Between the Bees: Comparative Historical Ecology of Apiculture in Elgeyo-Marakwet and Baringo, Kenya, for which he investigates the roles of beekeeping in long-term landscape and ecosystem management and modification through multidisciplinary and multiscalar methods to inform future environmental policy-making.

Dr Joseph Powell [2022-24] is a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow within the Faculty of Divinity at the University of Cambridge, having previously served as a Lecturer at Birmingham Newman University and a Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham.
Joseph’s research primary research focus is Rastafari spirituality in the Caribbean and the UK. His recent PhD thesis explored Rastafari ecologies and ecotheologies through ethnographic fieldwork in St Lucia/Iyanola, with the emerging manuscript currently under consideration for publication. Joseph has had several articles published in leading international journals including Black Theology and Nova Religio, as well as a paper exploring Rastafari encounters with Covid-19 in the Caribbean Studies Association Journal. During his time in Cambridge Joseph also served as editor for the Faculty journal Noesis, and now serves as editor for the international open access Methodist praxis journal Holiness.
Joseph’s British Academy funded research will explore Rastafari interactions with violence, both physical and cosmological, through ethnographic fieldwork in the UK.

Sara Corona [2022-24] is an MPhil graduate in Heritage Studies at the University of Cambridge, Department of Archaeology. She completed a BA in Archaeology at the University of Turin (Italy) (2019) and an Erasmus+ / Erasmus Mundus joint International Master in Quaternary and Prehistory at the University of Ferrara (Italy), Universitat Rovira i Virgili (Spain) and Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle de Paris (France) (2021). Her research focuses on nationalism and ethnic conflicts from a point of view of cultural heritage. In particular, her MPhil thesis addresses the role of heritage in the maintenance and negotiation of the minority ethnic identity in the Mediterranean island of Sardinia (where she comes from) as well as the opposite pressures for cultural homogeneisation exerted by the state to construct the italian national identity, instead.

Dr Angelos Theocharis [ET 2024] is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the Department of Media, Culture, Heritage at Newcastle University. His current research project, “Indigenous Visualities of Climate Crisis,” explores the impact of environmental degradation and climate change on the cultural practices and material culture of Indigenous peoples through visual narratives produced by these communities. He holds a PhD from the University of Edinburgh and he is the author of the monograph “Diaspora Reads: Community, Identity and Russian Literaturocentrism” (Legenda, Forthcoming), and the co-editor of the collective volume “River Delta Futures: Endangered Communities in Audiovisual Media” (Bloomsbury Academic, Forthcoming). Angelos has authored papers in peer-reviewed academic journals and chapters in edited volumes on topics related to environmental humanities, acoustic ecology, sensory studies, visual culture, and diaspora studies.

Lianna Harrington [ET2024] is an MPhil student in English studies at the University of Cambridge. She completed a BA in English and Urban Studies (2021) at Bowdoin College, a small liberal arts college in Maine, United States. She is Filipino American, born in the U.S. to an immigrant mother from the Philippines and a third-generation Irish-Swiss American father; she and her family are settlers on unceded Wampanoag land. In her MPhil dissertation, she explores the capaciousness of kapwa, the Indigenous Filipino concept of the shared self, and its contributions to conceptions of human-nonhuman kinship and the ever-evolving praxis of attempting to live and die well on this earth. Broadly, her research interests include colonial and postcolonial studies; multispecies kinship; environmental humanities; speculative fiction.

Marilena Proietti [2024] is a PhD candidate in Civilizations of Asia and Africa at the Department of Italian Institute of Oriental Studies, Sapienza University of Rome (Italy). Her research project delves into the sociocultural dynamics within Adivasi communities in Eastern India, with a particular focus on women-related issues. She holds an M.A. degree in Oriental Languages and Civilizations from Sapienza University of Rome. During her B.A., she was awarded an Erasmus+ scholarship and participated in the South and Southeast Asian Studies programme at Leiden University (Netherlands)


  • Oliver Antczak (PhD candidate in Archaeology, Department of Archaeology, Downing College)
  • Nishant Gokhale (PhD candidate in Legal Studies, Faculty of Law, St John’s College)

Oliver Antczak is a Venezuelan and Polish anthropologist and archaeologist interested in the intersection between heritage and identity, particularly in the Caribbean. He received his B.A. in Anthropology and Archaeology from Leiden University College (2016) and an MPhil in Archaeology, Heritage and Museum Studies, at the University of Cambridge (2018). His current PhD research, supported by the ESRC and Gates Cambridge, focuses on understanding how heritage is used in the resurgence and maintenance of Indigenous identities in the Southern Caribbean, and his work is currently focusing on a collaborative and comparative approach to Trinidad, Margarita, and Bonaire.

Nishant Gokhale obtained his undergraduate degree in law and humanities at NUJS, Kolkata and an LL.M. from Harvard Law School. Before starting at Cambridge, Nishant worked for several years including as a judicial clerk at the Indian Supreme Court and as a litigator in criminal and capital cases. Nishant’s PhD research is about the British East India Company’s engagement with law at home and in India. Examining archival sources in the United Kingdom and India, his research delves into the Company’s project of legal ordering of the indigenous Bhil communities in Khandesh province (western India). His research examines the diverse manifestations of Bhil agency which resulted in the Company reordering itself at local levels. His research adds to the growing scholarly interest in the role that local and regional officers played in the project of legal ordering and will help situate indigenous communities in the imperial world of the 19th century. His research is chiefly supported by the Gates Cambridge Trust.


Previous convenors

Natasha Rai [2022-LT24] is a third year PhD student at the University of Cambridge in Archaeology, specialising in Ancient Egypt and Nubia. She completed her BA in Archaeology (Egyptology – 2020) and MPhil in Archaeological Research (2021) both at the University of Cambridge. Her research focuses on understanding social, economic, and political interactions between Ancient Egyptians and Indigenous peoples in the Lower Nubian landscape to redefine the supposed depopulation of these community groups and their erasure from the archaeological record in the mid-3rd millennium BCE. Natasha is of mixed and Yucatan Maya heritage.

Leanne Daly  [2021-23] has completed a BA in Archaeology at the University of Toronto (2018) and an MPhil in Archaeology at the University of Cambridge (2019). Her MPhil dissertation, ‘Catching Shadows: The Exhibition of Intangible Heritage of Oceania in Lisa Reihana’s in Pursuit of Venus [infected]’, was selected as one of 2019’s top dissertations from the Cambridge Heritage Research Centre. In 2020, she began her PhD research focusing on challenging extinction discourse through the repatriation of Indigenous human remains of the ostensibly extinct Beothuk people of Newfoundland, Canada.

Christos Nikolaou [2022- MT-23] is originally from Cyprus and has a keen interest in the archaeology of religion and ethnicity due to my upbringing in a country at the intersection of three continents and populated by many ethnic groups. He did his undergraduate in Archaeology at the University of Cambridge,  and his Master’s in Archaeology at University College London. His Master’s thesis was on religious hybridity in the Gandhara Palettes, where he argued that elite habitus demonstrated in the palettes was a unique production based on eclectic use of markers from the Iranian, Greek and Indian cultural vocabularies.
His PhD thesis focuses on the Hellenistic Far East regions of Bactria and Gandhara. He investigates the role of religion and its manifestations in urban landscapes, specifically with regard to religious hybridity and patronage, especially between Iranian, Hellenic and South Asian religious traditions.  He is specifically drawing upon material and methodology from Classics, Indology and Iranian Studies, as well as Marxism, Religious and Post-Colonial Studies to understand the dynamics in the region. He aims to contribute to conversations on globalisation and multiculturalism, as well as religious studies via his thesis.

Ana Lucía Pelaez Echeverría [2022-23] is a Guatemalan political scientist and a candidate for a PhD in Latin American Studies at the University of Cambridge. She holds a MA in Advanced Studies in Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution from the University of Bradford. She has worked as a practitioner and consultant on conflicts around hydroelectricity in Guatemala. Her interests are resistance movements, eco-distributive conflicts, and the energy transition.

Faculty advisors

  • Dacia Viejo-Rose (Deputy Director, Cambridge Heritage Research Centre. Senior Lecturer in Heritage and the Politics of the Past, Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge)
  • Susanna Rostas (Senior research associate in the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge)
  • Hank Gonzalez (Lecturer in Caribbean History, Faculty of History, University of Cambridge)
  • Pedro Mendes Loureiro (Lecturer in Latin American Studies and PhD Director, Centre for Latin American Studies, University of Cambridge)

Affiliated advisors

  • Jared Holley (Marie Curie Fellow in Political Theory in the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS) and Research Fellow in Humanities, Social, and Political Sciences at Sidney Sussex College)
  • Louis Klee (Junior Research Fellow in English, Clare College Cambridge)
  • Tanja Hoffmann (Affiliated Member, Cambridge Heritage Research Centre; Postdoctoral Researcher, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Saskatchewan; Lead Researcher, Indigenous Works)

Programme 2023-24

Easter Term 2024

5th year anniversary of ISDG
Theme: Indigenous Studies in Cambridge

Indigenous Studies Discussion Group
POSTPONED Indigenous Studies in Cambridge: an interdisciplinary panel
1 May 2024 tbc, Online

Themed panel

CANCELLED: Cambridge Indigenous Studies postgraduate flash presentation day
15 May 2024 2:00 - 3:30 PM, Seminar room, McDonald Institute, Courtyard Building, Fac Archaeology


Contested land – conflicts over renewable energy projects on indigenous lands
22 May 2024 14:00 - 16:00, Online

Alexander Dunlap (Boston University Institute of Global Sustainability, University of Helsinki), Saami Council (Voluntary non-governmental organisation of the Saami Indigenous Peoples)

Indigenous peoples and state dynamics: exploring the urban Mapuche organisational network in Santiago, Chile
29 May 2024 16:00 - 17:30, Online & Room S2, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge

Dana Brableco (University of Amsterdam)

The Cambridge Indigenous Studies Discussion Group (ISDG): Five years on
5 Jun 2024 15:00 - 17:00, Online & Room S2, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road

Themed panel

POSTPONED Indigenous Studies in Cambridge: An interdisciplinary panel
10 Jun 2024 10:00 - 12:00, Online

Matthew Davies (Cambridge), Natalia Buitron (Jesus College, Cambridge),  Tanja Hoffmann (Cambridge)

Tangaroa ✕ Tagaloa: Indigenous pacific popular music and climate justice
14 Jun 2024 13:00 - 15:00 , GR06/07, Faculty of English, 9 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DT

Kirsten Zemke (Auckland), Luka Leleiga Lim-Cowley (St Antony’s College)

Lent Term 2024

Indigenous Studies Discussion Group
POSTPONED: Residential schools: intergenerational trauma and processes of healing
24 Jan 2024 16:00 - 18:00, Online

Rosemary Norman-Hill (Darug and Dharawal Nations, Founder of Kirrawe Indigenous Corporation)

Present-day missions in the post-colonial context: geopolitics, migrations, and interfaith dialogues
7 Feb 2024 10:00 - 12:00, Online

Vincent Ekka (Delhi, India), Theodore Stapleton (Cambridge)

Reverse mission: Indigenous-led re-evangelising of Western Christian contexts
6 Mar 2024 16:00 - 18:00, Online

Rev Israel Olofinjana (Evangelical Alliance), Bisi Adenekan-Koevoets (Essex)

Music and puppetry workshop by indigenous musicians and performers
23 Mar 2024 14:00 - 16:00, Atrium, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DP

Workshop and musical performance

Michaelmas Term 2023

Download the term card

Indigenous Studies Discussion Group
Activists’ perspectives on ecocide and dispossession
18 Oct 2023 16:00 - 18:00, Online

Linda Poppe (Survival International), Olivier Bancoult (Chagos Refugees UK), Sonam Frasi (Tibet House Trust)

Writers’ perspectives on exile and diaspora
15 Nov 2023 14:00 - 15:30, Online

Katharina Galor (Brown University), Sa’ed Atshan (Swarthmore College), Menna Agha (Azrieli School of Architecture)

Decolonising conservation through indigenous environmental stewardship
22 Nov 2023 12:00 - 14:00, Online

Su-mei Lo (National Taiwan), Deborah McGregor (York), Erin O’Donnell (Melbourne)

Decolonising historical archives with Indigenous Poetry – Poetry reading with Alison J Barton
29 Nov 2023 16:00 - 18:00, Room S1, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge

Alison J. Barton (Wiradjuri)

Past programmes

2022 – 2023

Easter Term 2023

Download the term poster

Indigenous Studies Discussion Group
Film screening: ‘On sacred ground’ (2023)
3 May 2023 18:00 - 20:00, Room SG2, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge
Indigenous spirituality: Traditional knowledge, wellbeing, and healing
17 May 2023 10:00 - 12:00, Online

Joseph Calabrese (UCL) , Karuna Nagarajan (ODL, S-VYASA)

Buen vivir: comparative cases of collective wellbeing
31 May 2023 14:30 - 16:00, Online

Sarah Radcliffe (Cambridge), Treena Orchard (Canada), Javier Mignone (Manitoba), Mauricio Torres-Solís (México)

Decolonising public health and indigenous governance
14 Jun 2023 15:30 - 16:00, Online

Yap Boum II (Pasteur Institute of Bangui, University of Sciences), Felina Cordova-Marks (Hopi) (University of Arizona), Rita Sørly (The Arctic University of Norway)

War Pony – An exclusive free film screening for ISDG
12 Jul 2023 15:30 - 17:30, Cambridge Picturehouse, St Andrew's Street, Cambridge CB2 3AR

Lent Term 2023

Download the term poster

Indigenous Studies Discussion Group
POSTPONED Contested landscapes: challenging nationalist and colonialist narratives
31 Jan 2023 16:30 - 18:30, Online

Matthew Davies (Cambridge), Sevgül Uludag (Journalist Yenidüzen and Politis Newspapers).

Crossroads as sites of entanglement and violence
8 Feb 2023 19:00 - 20:30, Online

James Flexner (Sidney), Gwyn Campbell (Canada), Chike Pilgrim (Cambridge)

Repatriations of ancestral remains of indigenous people (Australia and Japan)
24 Feb 2023 16:00 - 18:00, Room SG2, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, CB3 9DP

Special guest lecture. Yogo Tomonaga (Cambridge)

POSTPONED | Taking back our voices: revitalisation and revival of indigenous languages
1 Mar 2023 17:00 - 19:00, Online

Ilaria Micheli (Studi di Trieste), Brett Todd (Sydney and Taiwan), Terigele Teneg (Cambridge)

CANCELLED | Contested landscapes: challenging nationalist and colonialist narratives
3 Mar 2023 16:30 - 18:30, Online

Matthew Davies (Cambridge), Hank Gonzalez (Cambridge)

Taking back our voices: revitalisation and revival of indigenous languages
15 Mar 2023 13:00 - 15:00, Online

Ilaria Micheli (Studi di Trieste), Brett Todd (Sydney and Taiwan), Terigele Teneg (Cambridge)

Michaelmas Term 2022

Indigenous Studies Discussion Group
Discovering Britain through discourses of indigeneity I: Pre-British empire
12 Oct 2022 14:30 - 16:00, Online

Alex Woolf (Glasgow),  Thomas Booth (Harvard),  Ben Guy (Cardiff)

Film screenings – Okpik: Little Village in the Arctic (World Premiere) & Qipisa
2 Nov 2022 13:30 - 16:00, McDonald Institute, Cambridge & Online

Tiffany Ayalik (co-Director Okpik, TV presenter, and film actor), Myna Ishulutak (Director QIPISA), Stephanie Land (NHS, Indigiqueer of mixed Inupiaq & White heritage)

Learning as a non-indigenous archaeologist in the Pacific Islands
4 Nov 2022 17:15 - 19:15, McDonald Seminar room, Dept of Archaeology, Downing site

Ethan Cochrane  (Auckland)

Discovering Britain through discourses of indigeneity II: British Empire and colonialism
9 Nov 2022 14:30 - 16:00, Online

Richard Price (Maryland),  Joy Porter (Hull), Stephanie Pratt (Plymouth and Cultural Ambassador for the Crow Creek Dakota Sioux)

An evening of poetry with Yvette Holt
21 Nov 2022 19:00 - 21:00, Alison Shrubsole Room, Homerton College, Cambridge

Yvette Holt (Aboriginal Australian, Queensland)

POSTPONED Discovering Britain through discourses of indigeneity III: The present day
23 Nov 2022 14:30 - 16:00, Online

LeAndra Nephin (Oxford), Yvette Holt (Aboriginal Australian, Queensland).
Postponed to 30 Nov 2022

Discovering Britain through discourses of indigeneity III: The present day
30 Nov 2022 18:00 - 20:00, Online

LeAndra Nephin (Oxford), Jimmy Lee Beason II (Oklahoma), Shelby Siebers (Wisconsin and  Lawrence), Yvette Holt (Aboriginal Australian, Queensland).

2021 – 2022

Easter Term 2022

Indigenous Studies Discussion Group
Conservation and local populations: decolonising rights to nature in Africa
27 Apr 2022 17:00 - 19:00, Online


Wellbeing and the environment: traditional knowledge and the conservation of nature
4 May 2022 17:00 - 19:00, Online

Darren J Ranco (Maine), Clint Carroll (Colorado)

Honey at the top (2015) – film screening and Q&A
18 May 2022 17:00 - 19:00, Room SG2, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DT

Samuel Lunn-Rockliffe (UCL)

Engaging with myths of indigenous extinctions through museum collections
19 May 2022 17:00 - 19:00, Online

Nicholas Thomas (Cambridge), Laura Van Broekhoven (Oxford)

Lent Term 2022

Indigenous Studies Discussion Group
Erasures and constructions of indigeneity: challenging perceptions of continuity and authenticity
9 Feb 2022 19:00 - 21:00, Online

Tony Castanha (Hawai’i), Keolu Fox (California San Diego), Zoe Rimmer (Tasmania), Theresa Sainty (Tasmania)

The Beothuk story – Film screening and Q&A
23 Feb 2022 17:00 - 19:00, Room SG2, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DT

Christopher Aylward (Ryerson), Chief Mi’sel Joe (Miawpukek First Nation), Carmen Bartlett

Native mascots and misappropriation of imagery: symbols and name changes following the Exeter Chiefs for Change Campaign
30 Mar 2022 19:00 - 20:00, Online
Indigenous studies discussion group: The present and future of community-based research
5 Apr 2022 17:00 - 18:30, Online event

Part of the Cambridge Festival 2022

Michaelmas Term 2021

Indigenous Studies Discussion Group
Accomplice, ally, or appropriator? Exploring boundaries of indigenous scholarship
13 Oct 2021 17:00 - 19:00, Online

Gabriela Ramos (Cambridge), Clifford Atleo (Simon Fraser), Rick Colbourne (Carleton), Constance Khupe (Witwatersrand)

Criminal justice and indigeneity: perspectives from India, Australia and New Zealand
27 Oct 2021 20:00 - 22:00, Online

Dakxhin Bajrange (India), Alison Whittaker (Sydney), Juan Tauri (Waikato)

Policing and victimisation of Gypsy, Traveller and Roma communities in the UK and Europe
10 Nov 2021 17:00 - 19:00, Room SG2, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DT

Zoe James (Plymouth), Nichola Padfield (Cambridge)

Birth 1871 (2014) – film screening and Q&A
24 Nov 2021 17:00 - 19:00, Room SG2, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DT

Dakxhin Bajrange (Filmmaker)

Conference 2022

More information about the conference on 22-23 September 2022: Indigenous studies in the United Kingdom & Europe: pasts, presents and futures

Indigenous Studies has been rapidly developing as a field which spans various geographies, temporalities and disciplines. Significant contributions to this field have come from Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars, activists and community leaders who are both within and outside of academia. The Indigenous Studies Discussion Group (ISDG) is a multi-disciplinary award-winning Cambridge-based graduate student research network that has been operating in this field since 2019 with the aim of breaking disciplinary silos and creating a platform to discuss various critical themes emergent in Indigenous Studies.

The Indigenous Studies Discussion Group’s (ISDG) 2022 Conference will bring these strands of research together into an exciting two-day event with far reaching impacts. Since its inception in 2019, the ISDG has gained experience and skills in running global events and in doing so has attracted speakers and attendees from both within and outside of Cambridge and the United Kingdom.

Following on from our past work, the ISDG is hosting a conference entitled ‘Indigenous Studies in the United Kingdom & Europe: Pasts, Presents and Futures’ in September 2022. This conference seeks to bring together speakers — both Indigenous and non-Indigenous— across various sectors such as academia, media, activism and community leadership. This two day conference will provide a platform to bring together emerging Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars and give attendees an opportunity to share their research whilst interacting with senior academics, activists and community leaders all through a critical engagement with the field of Indigenous Studies.

This conference seeks to delineate the field of Indigenous studies, its current manifestations and what issues and forms it may take in the years to come. In particular, we seek to interrogate what this discipline means in the context of the United Kingdom and Europe’s deep and complex relationship with Indigenous peoples in many parts of the world.

We have assembled panels and roundtable discussions on a wide variety of themes, including those on Indigenous heritage, politics, literature, digital humanities, media studies and more. Speakers and attendees from across the world will be able to join in person and/or via video conferencing. This broad-based participation not only from the UK and Europe but also from around the world provides a more holistic and representative picture of Indigenous Studies scholarship today.

Through this conference, we intend to critically examine both the rapidly growing field of Indigenous Studies as well as the United Kingdom’s and, more broadly, Europe’s role within this field. Additionally, we will examine the histories of these engagements as well as their present and future trajectories in the field. We aim to create a network of Indigenous Studies scholars and believe that by sharing research with each other, we will foster the sharing of best practices in the theory and the practical application of Indigenous Studies.


Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk