PhD Student Profiles








David Coombs

PhD Candidate


David is a student of public policy and politics and has a particular interest in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, history and philosophy. His PhD research project focuses on the government policies that affect the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services, looking specifically at funding models. David has taught public policy and politics to undergraduate and graduate students in a number of different contexts including Nura Gili’s Indigenous studies courses. His PhD research has taken him to Biripi, Worimi, Gumbaynggirr, Kamilaroi, Ngemba, Wiradjuri, Anaiwan, Wailwan, Awabakal, Darkinjung, and Yorta Yorta Country, where he has met many kind, knowledgeable and inspiring people. He currently lives on Gadigal Country and has a fond relationship with members of the vibrant and resilient Mt Druitt Aboriginal Community. David also has an interest in Spanish and Latin American politics and culture.   


Research areas: Indigenous affairs, Indigenous health policy, Aboriginal community controlled organisations, health policy, Aboriginal politics



Julian Garcia

PhD Candidate


Aboriginal artists and Aboriginal art of south-eastern Australia, 1880-1992: identity and settler colonialism.


The research is concerned with analysing dominant settler colonial discourses and Aboriginal discourses of resistance that have framed commentary and research on Aboriginal artists and art of south-eastern Australia. What do these discourses tell us about the breadth of racialised strategies of control? What do we understand about Aboriginal identity and agency through art? The research is concerned with critically analysing discourses in archaeology, anthropology, art history, ethnography, Indigenous studies, political and social histories, and the ways that they have represented Aboriginal art practices of the south east.  In what way have these specialist knowledges affected broader social discourses and what have been the implications for Aboriginal artists and their audiences? What impact have these discourses had on our understanding and capacity to address sustained and ongoing racial discrimination?