The German Federal Ministery of Education (Bmbf) funds a project lead by Prof. Dr. Ammar Abdulrahman and Dr. Jenny Oesterle: "The Middle Ages as seen from Arab Eyes. Medieval Collections in Museums in Syria, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates".


"Historians and Historical Research at Iraqi Universities. A Survey".
The German Federal Ministry of Education (Bmbf) funds a project by Bashar Ibrahim and Jenny Oesterle (both members of the Arab German Young Academy of Sciences and Humanities)
[more info]


Dr. Carsten Wergin contributed a session on 'Listening Carefully' to the Radical Hope Syllabus. The group-sourced syllabus is intended as a resource for anyone interested in environmental issues - and how we, collectively and/or individually, might respond to them [more info]


Dr. Corinna Erckenbrecht (assoziiertes Mitglied der Nachwuchsforschergruppe Das transkulturelle Erbe Nordwest-Australiens) ist seit Mai 2018 neue Leiterin der Abteilung Weltkulturen und ihre Umwelt an den rem | Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen in Mannheim.

[mehr infos]


Dr. Jenny Rahel Oesterle und Dr. Carsten Wergin zu ihren Forschungen im Open Access Video Journal Latest Thinking:


How Can Australian Indigenous Experience Change Western Perspectives of the World?




How Does Tourism Change People and Places?



Der Ruf des Schneckenhorns
Hermann Klaatsch (1863 – 1916). Ein Heidelberger Wissenschaftler in Nordwestaustralien


[mehr info]


Russischsprachige Bevölkerung in Osteuropa – von der Titularnation zur Minderheit
Demokratische Transformation und gesellschaftliche Integration im Baltikum und in der Ukraine



[mehr info]



Water, Knowledge and the Environment in Asia
Epistemologies, Practices and Locales

Water, Knowledge and the Environment in Asia

Edited by Ravi Baghel, Lea Stepan, Joseph K.W. Hill

[more info]


Lustre: Pearling and Australia


Edited by Tanya Edwards, Sarah Yu

[more info]



Anthropology in/of Australia Past and Present

im Rahmen der Lecture Series
Introduction to Australian Studies:
(Trans-)Disciplinary Perspectives

Dr. Carsten Wergin

20 Juni 2017, University of Cologne

[more info]



The Trouble with Representation: Australian Indigenous World(view)s and the "White Magic" of Modernity

Dr. Carsten Wergin

06 April 2017, University of Western Australia

[more Info]


Curtin Indigenous Research Network Lecture Series:

Heritage, Transculturality and Collections: New Research from Germany and the Kimberley,

30 March 2017, Curtin University, Perth

[more info]


Internationaler Workshop:

"Refugee transfers in the Euro- Arab Mediterranean zone:
Tying the past with the present
Towards a transregional and transhistorical understanding in times of crises"

(10-12 April 2017 Lebanese American University, Byblos, Lebanon)

organisiert von:

Dr. Jenny Oesterle (Research Group "Protection in Periods of Political and Religious Expansion) in cooperation with Dr. Tamirace Fakhoury (Lebanese American
University, Byblos) und der Arab German Young Academy of Sciences and Humanities


Collaborations of Biocultural Hope: Community Science Against Industrialisation in Northwest Australia


Dr. Carsten Wergin

[mehr Infos]


Expansion und Aktivitäten des Mercedarier-Ordens im Andenraum des 16. Jahrhunderts

Dr. Maret Keller

Anden Diss - Keller

​(Dissertationsschrift Universität Heidelberg 2013), URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:16-heidok-187295


Dancehall und Homophobie
Postkoloniale Perspektiven auf die Geschichte und Kultur Jamaikas
Patrick HelberDancehall

​05/2015, 304 Seiten, kart.
ISBN 978-3-8376-3109-8

[weitere infos]


Materialities of Tourism
Special Issue of Tourist Studies (2014, 14/3)Guest-editors Stephen Muecke and Carsten Wergin




Caribbean Food Cultures
Culinary Practices and Consumption in the Caribbean and Its Diasporas
Food Cultures Transcript

05/2014, 306 pages,
ISBN 978-3-8376-2692-6
[for more information]


The Culture of Pearling in the North-West Kimberley

For over 20 000 years people have been collecting and trading Pinctada maxima pearl shell across northern Australia. As a tradition under threat, this research will explore the current and potential future significance of pearl shell as a resource in Aboriginal culture, heritage tourism, art and preservation. Indigenous people were the first to appreciate the lustre of shell as they engraved its surface with their story, to wear as a sign of manhood, and exchange through networks that cross the continent of Australia.  Much later, European traders and pastoralists came south to Shark Bay and the northwest shores to seek their fortunes from the rich pearling beds, looking for shell and the more elusive pearls, to trade in global markets, mainly for buttons. The Aboriginal and Asian indentured labourers used by the industry transformed the social and cultural history of the north to create unique multi-cultural communities and 'contact zones' such as the town of Broome, in the north of Australia (Pratt, 1991). It was here that relationships formed that went to the extant of human connection: love, war, friendship, death, all enriched by shared values of family, generosity and mutual respect.

My research will investigate the cultural significance of the Pinctada maxima pearl shell and its exploitation as an evolving maritime economy that has shaped the character of north-western Australian communities (ICOMOS, 1999). As objects of art and culture my research will also investigate how Indigenous engraved shell continues to represent cultural understandings of the country where it is found, and the relationships and agency between people, their country and their history (Gell, 1998).



Sarah Yu
Address: PO Box 2913

Mobile: 0419 845 093

Director YUCO Pty Ltd
ABN: 67 068 527 319


Educational Qualifications

  • 2008 Masters Degree, Cultural Heritage Studies, Curtin University of Technology
  • 1983 Graduate Diploma in Education, WACAE (now Edith Cowan University)
  • 1979 Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Anthropology, Australian National University



  • 2009 Interpretation Australia, curating Opening the Common Gate exhibition


Current Employment

  • 2010-15 Senior Project Officer: Nyamba Buru Yawuru, Broome

Curator Lustre: Pearling and Australia exhibition with the Western Australian Museum
Various projects: developing the Yawuru cultural digital archive
Interpretation for the Yawuru Conservation Estate
Produced the Yawuru Cultural Management Plan for the Yawuru Conservation Estate
Advise on the development of the Joint Management Plans for the YCE
Coordinate the Yawuru Indigenous Protected Area Consultation Project
Coordinate the Jetty-to-jetty heritage trail project and other cultural tours
Developing the Yawuru Knowledge Centre

  • 2011 Cultural Heritage Projects:

Recording Peter Clancy’s life story, Indigenous Community Stories grant
Recording pearling heritage values in Mayala country with Aubrey Tigan, Indigenous Heritage Project grant, SEWPaC

  • 1999- Consultant anthropologist and researcher, Yuco Pty Ltd

Current projects: Coordinator, Karajarri Indigenous Protected Area Consultation Project
Kimberley Land Council, Land & Sea Management Unit
Recording values of pearlshell and pearling for the National Heritage Listing of the Kimberley Project
Kimberley Land Council
Beyond the Common Gate, oral history recording project
AIATSIS/Lingiari Foundation
Recording Karajarri Culture Project
Karajarri Traditional Lands Association

  • 2007-08 Curator, Lingiari Foundation, Opening the Common Gate exhibition
  • 2005-08 Curatorial advisor, Bugarrigarra Nyurdany Culture Centre, Broome
  • 2004-08 Coordinating editor, Kimberley History Project


Recent employment history

  • 2005 Consultant, CSIRO Tropical Rivers Aboriginal Research Priorities

Coordinator, Stockyard Creek Coastal Management Planning Project
Goldfields Land and Sea Council
Advisor, CALM projects in Esperance region
Goldfields Land and Sea Council

  • 2004 Coordinator, Walangkarr Jirrkaliy Healthy Country Project, Cooperative Research Centre for Tropical Savannas Management & Kimberley Land Council
    Consultant Anthropologist Heritage clearance, Kimberley Land Council
  • 2003 Consultant, School to Work Transition Program, Rio Tinto Australia

Anthropologist, Tjuntjuntjarra Housing Project- Capital Housing
Various heritage clearance projects (West Kimberley)- Kimberley Land Council
Tourism Impact on Gibb River Road, Cooperative Research Centre for Tropical Savannas Management & Kimberley Land Council

  • 2002 Genealogy Project, Kimberley Aboriginal Stolen Generation Committee, Broome

Sessional lecturer Aboriginal Studies, Notre Dame University, Broome campus

  • 1999 – 2001 Consultant anthropologist, Kimberley Land Council:

Karajarri Native Title Claim– expert witness
Work Program Clearances – West Kimberley
Nyikina/Mangala native title research
Cultural values of water in the La Grange sub basin and the Fitzroy River Waters and Rivers Commission/ University of WA Centre for Anthropological Research

  • 1995 – 1998 Land Tenure Officer - (Anthropologist) Kimberley Land Council
  • 1979 – 1995 Various positions in Kimberley indigenous organizations, educational institutions and service providers including: Kimberley Land Council, Kimberley Language Centre, Nunga Womens Group-Nunga Designs (Derby), Malingbarr Community (Broome), Bunuba Productions, Catholic Education Office, St Marys College—Aboriginal Studies coordinator including developing units Yawuru Seasons and Kimberley: Past and Present); University of Notre Dame, TAFE and Edith Cowan University.


Research Grants/Scholarships

  • 2010-11 Recording pearling heritage values in Mayala country with Aubrey Tigan, SEWPAC
    Recording Peter Clancy’s story, ICS Grant
  • 2008-9 Recording Karajarri Culture
    Department of Cultural and Arts, WA
  • 2007 Sharing Our Heritages, International Master Class in Cultural Heritage Management, Paris. Sponsored by UNESCO, ICOMOS program through University of Western Sydney.
  • 2005-6 Opening the Common Gate project research
  • 2003-4 Research title ‘Surviving Colonisation: Aboriginal and Asian partnerships along the Dampierland coast’
    Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Studies
  • 1980 Walmajarri women’s relationship to land’
    Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies



  • Presenter Indian Oceans Futures Conference, Curtin University, 2014
  • Presenter Interpreting Australia National Conference, Melbourne, 2012
  • Presenter At the Frontier, Museums Australia and Interpreting Australia National Conference, Perth WA, November 2011
  • Presenter La Grange Water Plan: a Case Study, National Indigenous Water Forum, National Water Commission, Adelaide 19 – 20 February, 2009
  • Presenter Hidden histories, Oral History Association of Australia, WA Annual Conference, Broome, 2008
  • Presenter: Museums in a Changing Climate, Museums Australia, Canberra, May 2007
  • Presenter: Strangers on the Shore conference, NMA, Canberra, April 2006
  • Facilitator: Appropriate Economies Roundtable, Kimberley, October, 2005
  • Presenter: The Chinese in Australian and New Zealand History, University of NSW, Sydney. February, 2000
  • Facilitator: Our Place, Our Future, 1998, Broome WA
  • Facilitator: Water is Life, 1999, Broome, WA
  • Facilitator: How Healthy is Our Country?, 2000, Broome, WA
  • Presenter: The Chinese in Australian and New Zealand History, University of NSW, Sydney. February, 2000



  • 2007-09 Opening the Common Gate: Challenging boundaries in Broome. For the Lingiari Foundation, shown in Broome and Perth at the Western Australian Museum
  • 2007 Running it our way: History of the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Service



  • 2012 Interpretation Australia award for producing The Yawuru Cultural Management Plan
    Australia Institute of Landscape Architects, National medal, Yawuru Cultural Management Plan
  • 2009 Interpretation Australia award for curation of Opening the Common Gate Exhibition


Professional Affiliations

  • Western Australian Museum Research Associate
  • Museums Australia Member
  • Interpretation Australia Association Member
  • ICOMOS Australia Associate member
  • Oral History Association of Australia Member
  • Broome Historical Society Member
  • Broome Chinese Community Member
  • Kut O Village Community (China) Member



Articles and papers:

Choo, C & S Yu ‘Kimberley Asian Heritage’, in In our own country: A history of contact in the Kimberley—Draft manuscript

Hudson, J & Yu, S ‘Kimberley Aboriginal Communities’

JAWA, Catholic Education Office, Broome, 1988

Skyring, F & S Yu 2008 ‘Strange Strangers: First contact between Europeans and Karajarri people on the Kimberley coast of WA’, Strangers on the Shore, NMA, Canberra

Yu, S ‘Broome Creole: Aboriginal and Asian partnerships along the Kimberley Coast’, Proceedings of Asians in Australian History workshop, October, 1999, Queensland Review, Griffith University, St Lucia, Queensland

Yu, S ‘Ngapa kunangkul (living water): An Indigenous view of groundwater’ in Country: Visions of land and People in Western Australia, eds. Gaynor,A, Haebich, A, & Trinca, M, University of Western Australia Press, 2000-2001

Yu, S. ‘Town By The Bay’ (Study Guide), JAWA, Catholic Education Office, Broome, 1992.

Yu, S Aboriginal Studies Units:

Kimberly: Past & Present (Social Studies)(1987)

Kimberley Aboriginal Languages (LOTE) (1987)

Media Images of Australian Aborigines (English/Media Studies) (1987) Yawuru Seasons (Science) (1990)

Aboriginal Organisations (Social Studies - Bridging) (1988),

Catholic Education Office, Broome.

Yu, S and Golson, K ‘The Stolen Generations Project in the Kimberley’,

Aboriginal Law Bulletin, November,: v. 3, no. 86, 1996

Yu, S & Hudson, J ‘Resource Materials for the Kimberley: Past & Present’

JAWA, Catholic Education Office, Broome, 1988

Yu, S & Tang Wei, C ‘The Story of the Chinese in Broome’, The Broome Chinese Community, Broome, 1999.



Akerman, K, Skyring, F and S Yu 2010 ‘The Indigenous cultural heritage values associated with pearl shell and pearling for the West Kimberley coast’, Prepared for Kimberley Land Council for National Heritage Listing for the Kimberley region, Kimberley Land Council, Broome

S Yu & Brisbout, J In Mayala country with Aubrey Tigan, Report for Indigenous Heritage Project, of the then DEWHA (now SEWPaC) on the Recording pearling heritage values in Mayala country with Aubrey Tigan, September 2011

Walyjala-jala buru jayida jarringgun buru Nyamba Yawuru ngan-ga mirli mirli

Planning for the future: Yawuru Cultural Management Plan, prepared for the Yawuru RNTBC,

August 2011

Pyper, S ‘Interim Report to Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies - Walmajarri Women’s Project’, Broome, 1980

Yu, S ‘Ngunga Women’s Group Policy Manual’, 1993

Yu, S ‘Ngapa Kunangkul: Living Water’, University of Western Australia, Perth., 1999

Toussaint, S., Sullivan, P., Yu,S. & Mularty Jnr, M 'Fitzroy Valley Indigenous Cultural Values Study', Centre for Anthropological Research, University of Western Australia, February, 2001.

Yu, S ‘Expert’s Report: Anthropology, Karajarri Native Title Claim’, Kimberley Land Council, Broome, 2000.

Yu, P and S Yu ‘The Impact of Tourism on the Gibb River Road’, Kimberley Land Council, and CRC for Tropical Savannas, Broome, 2003

Yu, S, Pigram, B and Shioji, M 2015 ‘Lustre: reflections on pearling in north west Australia’, Griffith Review 47: Looking West, Brisbane

Yu, S ‘Walangkarr Jirrkaliy Healthy Country Final Report’, Kimberley Land Council, and CRC for Tropical Savannas, Broome, 2004


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