Dr Kathryn Trees
BA Hons 1st Class, MCrimJust, GradDip Ed, PhD

Senior Lecturer

About me

My education background is in WA, with degrees from Murdoch and UWA. My study was interdisciplinary across literature, Indigenous studies, law and social justice, and education.

I was fortunate in the early 1990s to be a member of the Australian Institute Judicial Education committee to develop education for magistrates and judges as a response to the Royal Commission Report into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. This led to coordinating the 1994 Aboriginal Culture: Law & Change Seminar for Magistrates. A key outcome of this work for me has been the relationships I have developed with many Indigenous people throughout WA and projects [including 2 books with children] and friendships we continue to enjoy. Later this led to teaching a unit for justices in the Murdoch Law school and writing for the WA Law Reform Commission and its Aboriginal Customary laws project. My research interest in resilience is partly tied to these experiences.

My interdisciplinary background  has allowed me to teach and supervise at undergraduate, Honours, Masters and PhD level in literature, gender and cultural studies, Indigenous studies, and law. For the past three years I have been teaching a unit on gender, globalisation and cultural politics.

For me, interdisciplinary study is particularly important. I ensure that my teaching is as  interactive as possible so that students learn from each other.

Most importantly, I love my job.

Teaching area

MCC386 People and Globalisation

Research areas

My research interests are eclectic working as I have in literature, gender and cultural studies, and customary law. Much of my current research is focused on affect theory as it relates to dying and death, and resilience. My interest in resilience is particularly concerned with the ways that young people deal with difficult family and social lives and are positive and productive.


Current projects

Creative non fiction focused on affect and dying.

Awards and grants


2006 Vice Chancellor’s Excellence in Teaching Award for Excellence in supervision

2005 Vice Chancellor’s Excellence in Teaching Award  for teaching excellence in my discipline

1988 Convocation Award Murdoch University


2004 Australian Centre for Interactive Design $125, 000

“Developing a cultural database”

2003 Australian Centre for Interactive Design $47, 000

“Developing a cultural database”

2002 Healthway $147, 800

“Promoting Positive Images of Aboriginal People in Western Australian”

2001 Australian Research Council Small Grants Scheme $9,000

Kathryn Trees and Andrew Turk,  ”Investigation of Community Processes in Response to a Native Title Decision”

1998 Australian Research Council Small Grants Scheme $10,000

Andrew Turk and Kathryn Trees,  ”Evaluating cultural issues for usability of computer mediated communication”

1997 Murdoch University Staff Development $16, 750

Jo Goodie, Kathryn Trees and Andrew Turk, “Developments In Native Title”

1997 Australian Research Council Small Grants Scheme $10,000

Andrew Turk and Kathryn Trees

Professional and community service

Community Service

2007-2008 Producing a book with students from East Carnarvon Primary School

2002-2004 Independent Visitor (Office of the Inspector of Custodial Services) Roebourne and Broome Prisons

1998 Roebourne Community, Culture, Communication Centre Committee

1989—1997 Support for children of people who have died in custody


1995—1996 Aboriginal Medical Service report writing

1994—1995 Mooditch Koolark research and report writing re: domestic violence in Aboriginal communities


1996—1997 Support for development of Ngurra Wangkamagayi (Roebourne Culture Group)

1994 Australian Institute Judicial Administration Interview Western Australian Magistrates prior to constructing Cross Culture Awareness Programme. Research Australian and Western Australian government legislation in relation to Aboriginal peoples. Produce Research File for magistrates and judges. Construct Cross Cultural Awareness Programme. Evaluate Western Australian magistracy and response to training programme prior to implementation in all other states

1993 NOW Programme Literature classes Aboriginal Women’s Community Centre

Refereeing of books:

2012 Nanni and James Coranderrk – We will show the country, for AIATSIS Aboriginal Studies Press

2011 Monty Hale (Minjun) Kurlumarniny We Come from the desert, for AIATSIS, Aboriginal Studies Press

2005 Quentin Beresford, Rob Riley: An Aboriginal Leader’s Quest for Justice, for AIATSIS, Aboriginal Studies Press

2002 Ian Henderson, Bureaucracy and Aboriginal Peoples in the Northern Territory 1900 – 1968, for University of Western Australia Press

1999 Ian Crawford, We Won the Victory: Aborigines and Outsiders on the north-west coast of Kimberley, for Fremantle Arts Press

Editorial work:

1999-2004 Co-editor Balayi: Culture, Law and Colonialism

1995 bur-ran-gur ang (court out )Women and the Law The School of Architecture and Fine Arts & The Law School at The University of Western Australia—Co-editor

Journal of the South Pacific Association for Language and Literature Studies: Following volumes:

1994 Yorga Wongi: Postcolonialism & Feminism—Co-editor

1993 Postcolonial Fictions—Assistant Editor

1992 Neo-colonialism—Editor

1991 Postcolonial Texts—Assistant Editor

PhD, Masters, Honours examinations

Doctoral and masters supervisions

PhD completions:

Gerrard Shaw, Vulnerability – An Affliction of the Powerless. A Noongar Story, 2012

Naomi Sidebotham, “The White Man Never Wanna Hear Nothin About What’s Different From Him”: Representations of Law’s ‘Other’ in Australian Literature, 2009

Michelle Carey, From Whiteness to Whitefella: To Deconstruct or Reconstruct Identity? 2008

(Catriona) Karin Mac Arthur, The ‘Emporer’s New Clothes’: The role of the Western Australian press and state government in selling the story of the Northbridge Curfew 2006, [Co-supervisor Gail Phillips]

Jo Green, ICTs: Empowering Western Australian Women? 2005 [Co-supervisor Fay Sudweeks]

Tracey Summerfield, Families of Meaning: dismantling the boundaries between law and society, 2004

Sean Gorman, Moorditj Magic: The Story of Jim and Phillip Krakouer, 2004 [Co-supervisor Deborah Robertson]

Sasha Wasley, The Limits of Feminism, 2005

Elaine Tay, Unpicking the Semes: Power, Resistance and the Internet, 2002

Ahmad Abu Baker, The ‘other’, self discovery and identity – a comparative study in colonial and postcolonial literature, 2001

Six candidates writing in the areas of aging, contemporary Australian historical fiction, Chick lit, PR education, PR and activism, Wadjemup [Rottnest Island],  are completing in early 2013.

Other candidates are researching in the areas of Aboriginal camps in the Perth area, Aboriginal youth and resilience, film script, Indigenous art, autobiography of an artist, a biography of Ken Colbung, a novel of southern sealers and Aboriginal women, gender, transnational corporations and globalisation, and perimenopause.

Masters completions:

2012 Rizki Prafitri, Analysing Corporate Social Responsibility in the Marketplace, Community, Environment and Workplace: A Study of Nestle Indonesia

2003 Gerrard Shaw, Meeting Your Depth

1997 Juanita Durey, Governmentality, Customary Law and the Hindmarsh Island Bridge Royal Commission

1995 Denise Groves, New Aboriginalities: Creating Multiple Sites





  • Trees, K., (2004),Background Paper on Contemporary Issues Facing Customary Law and the General Legal System: Roebourne - A Case Study,Law Reform Commission of Western Australia.


  • Trees, K., (2007),Practicing Law and Aboriginal Clients,In: Lawyers Practice Manual - Western Australia (2007), Thomson Lawbook Co, pages 105-1051 to 105-1062.
  • Turk, A., Trees, K., (2000),Facilitating Community Processes Through Culturally Appropriate Informatics: An Australian Indigenous Community,In: Case Study - Community Informatics: Enabling Communities with Information and Communications Technologies, Ideal Group Publishing, pages 339 to 358.
  • Trees, K., (1997),The Politics of Post-colonial Reading Practices as they Relate to the Work of Aboriginal Writers,In: Teaching Post-Colonialism and Post-Colonial Literatures, Aarhus University Press, pages 155 to 159.


  • O'Mahony, L., Trees, K., (2016), Writing domestic violence in Marian Keyes This Charming Man (2008), Text, Special Issue 38, April, 2017, pages 1 - 16.
  • Trees, K., (2015), Mobile media: communicating with and by Indigenous youth about alcohol, Australian Aboriginal Studies, 0, 1, pages 97 - 106.
  • Trees, K., (2013), Effectively teaching diverse student groups: a reflection on teaching and learning strategies, Australian Journal of Adult Learning, 53, 2, pages 234 - 252.
  • Turk, A., Trees, K., (1999), Culturally Appropriate Computer Mediated Communication: An Australian Indigenous Information System Case Study, AI and Society, 13, , pages 377 - 388.
  • Trees, K., Turk, A., (1998), Culture, Collaboration and Communication: Participative Development of the Ieramugadu Cultural Heritage Information System (ICIS), Critical Arts: a south-north journal of cultural and media studies, Vol. 12, No. 1-2, , pages 78 - 91.
  • Turk, A., Trees, K., (1998), Ethical Issues Concerning the Development of an Indigenous Cultural Heritage Information System, Systemist, The, 20, Special Issue, pages 229 - 242.


  • Turk, A., Trees, K., (1999),Ethical Issues Concerning the Use of Geographical Information Systems Technology with Indigenous Communities,In: AICEC99 Conference Proceedings.
  • Turk, A., Trees, K., (1998),Culture and Participation in Development of CMC: Indigenous Cultural Information System Case Study,In: .
  • Turk, A., Trees, K., (1998),Ethical Issues Concerning the Development of an Indigenous Cultural Heritage Information System. (11 Pages - no numbering),In: Proceedings: Second Symposium & Workshop on Philosophical Aspects of Information Systems: Methodology, Theory, Practice & Critique - PAIS II.