Dr. Kirsty Gillespie received her PhD from The Australian National University in 2008 for her research into the music and culture of the Duna people of the Southern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea. Fieldwork for her dissertation was conducted over the years 2004-2007, primarily in Kopiago, but also in the town centres of Mt Hagen, Goroka and Lae. Her book on this research, published by ANU Press in 2010, is entitled Steep Slopes: Music and change in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea.
Kirsty is currently a Research Fellow at the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining, which is located within the Sustainable Minerals Institute at the University of Queensland. In this role she works with the people of the Lihir Island Group in New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea on a cultural heritage program for the islands. Since Kirsty’s first visit to Lihir in 2007, she has made a number of field recordings of Lihirian ancestral music and oral literature. In collaboration with the Lihirian Cultural Heritage Association, Kirsty produced the CD Ae Tinil Wen Lir/Music of Lihir which features her recordings of ancestral songs from the Lihir Island Group alongside archival recordings made 100 years ago and repatriated from the Berlin Phonogramm-Archiv to Lihir. Kirsty also assisted in the facilitation of the Stepping Stones for Heritage workshop held on Lihir in March 2009, which led to the establishment of The Lihir Cultural Heritage Plan: A plan for social stability and harmony on Lihir. It is the work outlined in this plan that forms Kirsty’s current research agenda.