Dr Shelley Greer has a long-standing interest in the development of community-based approaches to archaeological and heritage research. In her pioneering doctoral studies in northern Cape York she developed a framework for research that goes beyond the idea of ‘consultation’, where Indigenous communities are asked to react to research questions.  Rather, her approach focuses on interactive research relationships.  This involves accommodating local practices and beliefs in relation to the execution of research (particularly in the field), but more deeply draws on the mutual interests of both communities and researchers to define research questions.  This has led to continuing work on contemporary community perspectives, particularly the notion of ‘archaeological sites’ as ‘portals’ linking present, past and other states of being. She is also working on ritual sites in the Cape York region as nodes or hubs of exchange within the Cape York-Torres Strait cosmo-political landscape.   

Dr Greer’s work on community-based approaches was recognised at the 6th World Archaeological Congress in Dublin when one of her publications was used to frame the session, ‘Collaboration or Contestation:  the realities of Community Engagement’.  She also presented a paper in this session which was subsequently published. She is regularly requested to review articles on community and community-based archaeology and heritage.   

Another aspect of Dr Greer’s work in heritage research has been on identifying local heritage interests within the globalised superstructure of World Heritage. She led a team of researchers exploring the ‘Cultural Heritage Values of the Great Barrier Reef’ World Heritage Area as part of the CRC Reef based at JCU.  Dr Greer is currently expanding her interest in local-global issues through her involvement in an ARC-Discovery project, Objects of Possession:  Artefact Transactions in the Wet Tropics of North Queensland 1870-2013 which focuses on rainforest objects and collectors. One of her interests in this project builds on her interest in exchange, tracing the movement of objects in the ‘Wet Tropics’ in the past.  This is contrasted with current perceptions regarding connections between Indigenous groups within the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and the way that the creation of the World Heritage Area may have influenced these. 

  • Dr Greer has strong interest in the heritage of the JCU community of North Queensland. She has actively participated in community events that celebrate heritage such as the Townsville City Council Heritage Day. She is also on the Board of the Jezzine Barracks Community Trust, particularly in relation to her expertise in heritage. She has led the Trust’s Indigenous Sub-Committee which has been responsible for developing Aboriginal and Traditional Owner heritage and interpretation within the Trust Area. Her involvement in the Townsville City Council Heritage Advisory Board and previously the West End Cemetery Conservation Committee are further expressions of her interest in community heritage. Her research in northern Cape York Peninsula involves working particularly with the Indigenous community of Injinoo and Apudthama Lands Trust representing traditional owners in this region. In this research she has developed and adopted a community-based approach that is based on mutual interests of communities and researchers.
  • Dr Greer has undertaken archaeological work in northern Cape York for nearly 30 years. Her past research includes the development of a community-based approach to archaeological and heritage work, while current projects focus on regional trade and exchange and the role of ritual and ritual sites with the cosmo-political landscape. Dr Greer initially began exploring local heritage within the global World Heritage context while working on the ‘Cultural Heritage Values of the Great Barrier Reef’ project that focused on the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. This research focus is continued in the ARC-funded project, Objects of Possession: Artefact Transactions in the Wet Tropics of North Queensland, 1870-2013. This project includes an examination of historical collecting in the Wet Tropics and explores the way that such objects inform cultural understandings of contemporary Indigenous people. The Wet Tropics status as a World Heritage Area has allowed for further investigation of the way that local heritage is played out within the global system. She is currently combining this with her interest in Indigenous exchange and using this to reflect upon contemporary frameworks that describe connections between people in this region. In August 2013, Dr Greer will join the Sepon Archaeo-metallurgical and Heritage Project at the Sepon copper mine site in Laos led by Dr Nigel Chang (JCU) and the Department of National Heritage (Lao PDR). Her role is to deliver training and advice on heritage issues relating to this important complex of Bronze-Iron Age archaeological sites.
  • Dr Greer’s teaching philosophy revolves around the idea that tertiary teaching should be inspirational and incorporate original research and perspectives and insights that stem from this. Tertiary teaching should provide students with a solid grounding in research skills including library- and web-based research, specific methods and techniques, analytical frameworks and theory, academic reading and critique and the oral presentation of evidence. Tertiary teaching should be informed by a personal love of learning and scholarship and be aimed at building student confidence in relation to their personal development in these. Dr Greer also draws on her own experience to provide students with an understanding of how to develop research routines and alleviate the effects of procrastination. Dr Greer was responsible (with Associate Professor Rosita Henry) in developing the innovative Masters of Cultural Heritage Studies program at JCU in 1996. This was the first postgraduate program of its type in Australia aimed at training graduates in Archaeology and Anthropology for applied work in the heritage industry. Dr Greer has supervised more than 20 honours theses, a number of mini-theses in the Masters of Cultural Heritage Program and more than 5 PhD theses to completion. She is currently supervising 5 PhD projects and co-supervising one Masters project.
  • 2005 to present - Senior Lecturer, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 1995 to 2004 - Lecturer, School ofAnthropology, Archaeology & Sociology, JCU (Townsville)
  • 1992 to 1994 - Associate Lecturer, Dept of Anthropology & Archaeology, JCU (Townsville)
  • 1991 - Casual Lecturer, Department of Anthropology & Archaeology, JCU (Cairns)
  • 1989 to 1991 - Managing Director, Norther Archaeology Consultancies (Townsville)
  • 1988 - Lecturer, James Cook University (Cairns)
  • 1984 to 1987 - Part-time Tutor, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 1983 to 1984 - Assistant to Registrar of Sites, Cultural Heritage Divison, NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service (New South Wales)
  • 1982 to 1983 - Archaeological Consultant, Brayshaw & Associates, Haglund & Associates, Mary Dallas & Associates (New South Wales)
  • 1982 - Research Assistant, University of Sydney (Sydney)
  • 1981 to 1982 - Site Supervisor, University of Sydney & Bahrain National Museum team (Bahrain, Arabian Gulf)
  • 2011 - Member of the TransOceanik network
  • 2008 - Board Member - Jezzine Barracks Community Trust. This Board is responsible for planning the $40 million development of the former Jezzine Barracks site in Townsville.
  • 2004 - Member of Townsville City Council's Heritage Advisory Board. This Board provides advice to the Townsville City Council on heritage matters including the development of planning schemes and special projects.
  • 2004 - Editorial Boards of journals 'Archaeology in Oceania', 'Queensland Archaeological Research' and 'Journal of Community Archaeology & Heritage'.

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
Book Chapters
Conference Papers
  • Greer S, Mcintyre-Tamwoy S and Henry R (2011) Sentinel sites in a cosmo-political seascape. Refereed Papers from the Seventh International Small Islands Cultures Conference. In: ISIC 7 - 2011 7th International Small Islands Conference, 12-15 June 2011, Airlie Beach, QLD, Australia

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 18+ research outputs authored by Dr Shelley Greer from 2002 onwards.


These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • RE-CASTING THE PAST: MODERN CULTURAL HEIRS OF ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS A Study of Esoteric Belief & Practice, Sacred Landscapes & The Power of Place Through the Lens of Egyptian World Heritage Sites Karnak, Philae & Giza An Archaeological & Anthropological I (PhD , Primary Advisor)

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