Conversations with Aboriginal Knowledge: Australian Fire

Presented in partnership with The School Of Life, Oliver Costello is joined by academic Stephen Muecke to explore the human relationship to fire from the perspective of Aboriginal culture and philosophy.

This program is part of a series of three events, each Sunday at 3pm, exploring the intersection of Aboriginal and Western perspectives around the themes of cultural knowledge, growing up, and well-being.


Oliver Costello is from Bundjalung country, Northern Rivers of NSW. Costello initiated and continues to lead Firesticks; an initiative which provides Indigenous leadership, advocacy and action to protect, conserve and enhance cultural and natural values of people and country through cultural fire and land management practices. Combining a broad range of experiences in Indigenous Natural Cultural Resource management and Indigenous governance, Oliver works as a consulting advisor on cultural fire projects and as a project officer in Aboriginal Heritage and Joint Management at the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. Along with many communities, organisations and stakeholders, Oliver engages in and develops a range of collaborative approaches to support Indigenous leadership and recognition of cultural fire practices through community mentorship on country.

Stephen Muecke is a Professor of Ethnography at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, where he is part of the Environmental Humanities program. He has written extensively on Indigenous Australia, especially in the Kimberley, and on the Indian Ocean. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. Recent books are The Mother’s Day Protest and other Fictocritical Essays, Rowman and Littlefield International, 2016, and a new edition of Paddy Roe, Gularabulu: Stories from the West Kimberley, University of Western Australia Press, 2016.