Associate Professor Sandra Phillips is a member of the Wakka Wakka and Gooreng Gooreng nations in Queensland. Professionally, Sandra is a member of the Indigenous professoriate at the University of Technology Sydney where currently coordinates Indigenous Higher Degrees by Research.
Sandra’s field of expertise is in Indigenous creativity and the Indigenous literary sector. Her PhD research, completed in 2012, at the Queensland University of Technology examined “Re/presenting Readings of the Indigenous Literary Terrain”. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Sociology and Government) in 1988 from the University of Queensland.
Sandra is also a director of the board of the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), member of the Library Board of Queensland, and member of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS). Sandra continues to be a widely-recognised and valued leader in the Indigenous literary sector dating back to when she first worked in publishing with Magabala Books in the mid-1990s.
Sandra previously lectured in Creative Writing and Literary Studies at QUT Creative Industries in Brisbane, 2013 to 2017. For the year prior and immediately after conferral of her PhD, Sandra was the Lecturer in Indigenous Studies, Faculty of Arts and Business at the University of the Sunshine Coast where she initiated, developed, and delivered a 13-week course titled ‘Reading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Writing’.
Sandra has written numerous book chapters and journal articles and edited books and journals on a range of Indigenous knowledges and Indigenous creativity-related topics. She has also been invited speaker at many writers’ festivals and was recently invited to appear at the Women of the World London Festival in March, 2019. She also speaks at academic conferences on the writing, publishing, and audiences for Indigenous literature and storytelling. Sandra has extended her experience and expertise to the supervision of students entering higher degrees by research in the fields of creative writing and creative industries.
Upon her appointment in February, 2018 to UTS, Sandra became a member of the UTS PVC Management Committee (Indigenous Leadership and Engagement) and has been the Senior Indigenous Academic on the UTS Indigenous Research Committee and a member of the UTS Graduate Research School Board. She has been a Member of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) since 2017.
In 2019, Sandra was appointed to the board of the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA). Since 2017 she has been member of the Library Board of Queensland and was the inaugural Chairperson of an Advisory Panel at the Brisbane Writers Festival which led to the establishment of the innovative immersive literary arts tourable venue, Angel’s Palace. She has been a literary judge for the Stella Prize in 2017, the David Unaipon Award 2012-2016 and B&W! 2010-2011; and is currently a judge of the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction 2020.
Prior to her academic career, Sandra worked as a book editor for Magabala Books in Broome and the University of Queensland Press in Brisbane, and she was the first Aboriginal person to manage Aboriginal Studies Press at AIATSIS. Sandra has also worked in the federal government for the Department of Communications and the Arts. Sandra has received a number of awards including the QWC Johnno Award for services to writing in Queensland and the QUT Women in Research Grant Scheme in 2016. She also received QUT Creative Industries Dean’s Commendation Doctoral Thesis Award in 2012, and was the recipient of QUT’s inaugural Oodgeroo Noonuccal Research Scholarship (Postgraduate) 2007-10. Sandra has raised three sons who are now young adults and she has one granddaughter.