Mahnaz Alimardanian

 I am a social scientist based in Melbourne with years of professional research experience in socio-cultural anthropology and in conducting research in the applied field including under legislations like the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) and Victorian Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 (VIC). I have diverse research background and extensive community consultation and engagement experience since 2010 with long-term involvement in qualitative research, multi- and inter-disciplinary social projects. I work and provide advice in complex policy-legislation, culturally sensitive, and trauma and healing informed settings. I am an Adjunct Research Fellow at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, La Trobe University (see my academic profile here) and a Fellow of the Australian Anthropological Society.  I hold a PhD and two Masters degrees in anthropology and have a background in visual and performing arts, design, and literary criticism.  My key skills and expertise are:

  • Development of effective community engagement approaches:

I have long-term working relationship with Indigenous and culturally diverse communities. I have worked closely with First Nations communities, Traditional Owners and families in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia since 2010 conducting ethnographic and participatory research, and facilitating community projects. For many years, I communicated complex and sensitive information, conducted structured and semi structured interviews, and advised on consultation processes to assist with decision making and planning. 

My lifetime passion for social justice and transparency, belief in locally informed and small-scale community services, training in social sciences, humanities and art, and finally my trust in creativity have equipped me to observe, actively listen and pay attention to nuances and details. The diversity of the communities that I worked with has further furnished my ability in consulting and building authentic and meaningful relationships. I apply effective community engagement approaches and research methods which are culturally sensitive, trauma informed and healing centered.  My sincere commitment to inclusivity, diversity of views, and balanced power relations in engagement has been always noticed by the communities which I worked with throughout these years. 

  • Productive collaboration in multi-disciplinary and multi-parties environment:

I have extensive experience in working collaboratively with diverse and multiple parties in interdisciplinary projects from law firms to infrastructure and heritage consulting companies. I have collaborated with lawyers, historians, artists, archaeologists, policy advisors, urban designers, and environmentalists among other practitioners and academics. I have enjoyed close working associations with community organisations as well as professional contact with the Federal Court of Australia, the National Native Title Tribunal, state government departments, local councils, and Commonwealth government agencies to assist with land settlements, cultural value and social impact assessments, and social justice and cultural heritage cases.

The diversity and multiplicity of these partnerships have led me to truly appreciate strategic thinking and taking initiatives to bring different opinions and approaches together towards best practices. My high standards, integrity and transparency in collaboration have been repeatedly acknowledged by all parties in the work environment.

  •  Design, management and conduct of complex projects:

For years, I have undertaken short term and long term qualitative and inter-disciplinary research, and community centered projects on various topics and in diverse and highly sensitive environments. I have worked and advised across different legislations, policy and reform frameworks and applied all research methods from desktop analysis and archival research to conducting participatory research to organise and deliver these projects. Most of the projects have been time sensitive, confidential, legally privileged and often subject to shifting strategies and required interpreting legislations and critical attention to details.

I also have an academic record of highly qualified social and cultural research and publication projects on matters associated with people’s knowledge and lived experience across cultures and social circumstances. I have been involved in the areas of journalism, literary criticism, and performing arts, and assisted in film and social impact documentary production projects. I have skills in stage and virtual design and creative writing and conduct of reviews for instance in designing innovative data collection methods, development of creative arts projects and publications. 

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