Dr. Lisa Stefanoff holds M.A., M.Phil and Ph.D degrees from the New York University Department of Anthropology Graduate Program in Cultural Anthropology/Culture and Media where she was a McCracken Fellow. She is also a screen culture curator and filmmaker with qualifications in Documentary Film Production and History from the Department of Cinema Studies and the Film Department, NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
Lisa’s research and her professional media production and curatorial work explore contemporary, past and future forms and practices of Indigenous cultural survival globally and their intercultural and intergenerational dynamics, with a special focus on media and art from central Australia. Since 2002, Lisa has been based in Alice Springs and Darwin where she has undertaken a range of field research and professional projects with a wide variety of Indigenous and community media and art organisations for national and international broadcasters and art events.
Dr Stefanoff’s DECRA project Moving Stories: Emerging Documentary Desert Painting and Interactive New Media is also supported by a UNSW Art & Design Faculty Research Grant. The project is investigating the interactive digital possibilities for artworks created by central Australian Aboriginal women, especially paintings produced in some of the most disadvantaged zones of Alice Springs, in order to build new audiences for these marginalised cultural narratives beyond the Indigenous art-commodity market. Lisa is working with artists, Aboriginal media-makers, Professor Sarah Kenderdine, Associate Professor Jennifer Biddle and other researchers in the Art & Design and NIEA labs to enable experimental designs for immersive artworks based on still ‘documentary paintings’ and their stories. Documentation and analysis of artworks featured in the project will trace the emergence of these desert stories as key intercultural mediators in post-colonial public culture.
Lisa’s doctoral research focused on the history of film, radio and music production at the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA), where she worked on award-winning documentary films as the Production Manager and Distribution Manager in the Film and Television Productions division (2002-2006). As Editor and Coordinating Editor at National Indigenous Publisher IAD Press (2007-2010), Lisa played key roles in the publication of award-winning art, biography, children’s, traditional knowledge and history books, as well as Aboriginal language dictionaries and picture dictionaries. As Post-doctoral Research Fellow on the CRC-Remote Economic Participation Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Economies project (UniSA, 2011-2012) Lisa investigated the sustainability of remote Aboriginal community artist participation in the global art market with a special focus on the livelihoods of desert artists working outside of the community art centre model.
Lisa has served as a member of the NT Arts Grants Board, the Alice Springs Town Council Public Art Advisory Committee, InCite Youth Arts [Chair], and the Watch This Space ARI Organising Committee. In Alice Springs she produced and presented a weekly arts radio program, co-produced the Art~Land~Culture Ideas Incubator, created and presented the Lens Flair Central Australian Short Film Workshops and Competition for ScreenNT (Northern Territory Film Office), and curated the annual Alice Springs Cinema in the River, as well as other national screen events.
Lisa joins colleagues in the Visual Anthropology program at NIEA focused on developing long-term practice-led community capacity building research partnerships in fields of Indigenous knowledge, art and culture. Her DECRA project articulates with research she conducted between 2012 and 2015 as part of the multi-arts, symposium and exhibition initiative Same but Different: Innovation and Experimentation in Desert Arts/We are in WonderLAND, a series of partnerships with Dr Jennifer Biddle, UNSW Galleries the Central Australian Aboriginal Art Centres peak body Desart Inc.
Lisa holds an Honorary Associate position in the School of Creative Arts and Humanities at Charles Darwin University and is an Associate of the ANU Centre for Visual Anthropology. She is also the founding editor of the Screen/Art/Media Review section of the journal Oceania and the curator of the annual Screen/Media/Art division of the Australian Anthropological Society conference.