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Keeping alive the traditions of Torres Strait Islander food

Margaret Anderson

Margaret Anderson

Margaret Anderson is a Torres Strait Islander woman from Far North Queensland who is undertaking a Masters in Creative and Performing Arts with CQUniversity.

She recently drove from Cairns where she lives to the Rockhampton Campus, in order to participate in training for researchers, along with visiting the library, the Office of Research and the Office of Indigenous Engagement.

Margaret already holds a Bachelor of Education (Home Economic/Design & Technology) from the University of Newcastle, and works as a Home Economics Teacher at Bentley Park College. She loves cooking and talking about food and sharing food, hence it was only logical that she chose to do her Masters focusing on Torres Strait Islander cooking and food.

Her research which will be carried out in the Torres Strait and on the Australian mainland will also result in a cookbook containing traditional recipes of the Torres Strait Islands.

Margaret seeks to capture the past and present traditions and customs within the recipe book and DVD, and acknowledges that this will be the first time such work will be led and carried out by a Torres Strait Islander.

She has already published with her supervisors Professors Donna Lee Brien and Bronwyn Fredericks and presented at the Popular Culture Association of Australia and New Zealand’s (PopCAANZ) Conference in 2013. This year, she has been invited to present at the Home Economics Institute of Australia (HEIA) Conference. Her attendance will be supported by CQUniversity and the National Indigenous Researcher and Knowledge Network (NIRAKN).

“In Margaret documenting the history of Torres Strait Island food and food ways through her research, the traditions and customs will be kept alive for future generations,” said Professor Bronwyn Fredericks, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Engagement) and BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance Chair in Indigenous Engagement.

Margaret said she could have opted to undertake her training online by ‘Jabber’, “but I wanted to focus on my studies for a week, meet up with other researchers and work with one of my supervisors”.

“Making the time to focus on my studies in this way is really important to me in terms of my progress and success,” she said.

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