Fiona has lived and worked for and amongst Aboriginal people and organisations across arid Australia for most of her life. Her heartland is Mparntwe, Alice Springs; home for 27 years.
Fiona has a PhD in Botany and Anthropology and works as a filmmaker with Jaralji Film Collective. She was a CSIRO Research Scientist for 12 years and now works independently as an ethnoecologist, facilitator, and collaborator.
Fiona and colleagues are exploring a phenomenon called ‘fairy circles’ little known and debated by scientists but well known to Aboriginal people. Manjilyjarra people call them linyji. These spectacular clay-like structures spot the spinifex grasslands of nine language groups and three states. An unusual mix of art, ethnography, bush observations and scientific survey methods are being blended to learn about the clay pavements made by termites. This is revealing old Aboriginal knowledge and new insights about the soils, animals and ecology of desert Australia and its Aboriginal lands. Some of their findings and new creations are on display in the 'Clay on Country' exhibition.