Dr Catherine Keys

Senior Lecturer in Architectural De

School of Architecture, Design and Planning
Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology

Senior Lecturer in Architectural De

School of Architecture, Design and Planning
Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology
+61 7 334 69082


Dr Cathy Keys completed her doctoral studies in the Aboriginal Environments Research Centre in 1999. Her doctoral thesis ‘The Architectural Implications of Warlpiri jilimi’ was concerned with the People Environment relations of Aboriginal women living in Central Australia. She is committed to exploring the social and cultural properties of architectural space. Cathy has taught in Aboriginal Environments and architectural research and design making subjects in the School of Architecture, The University of Queensland.

Research Interests

  • Transfer of architectural knowledge on Northern Australia's settlement frontiers
    This research is concerned with exploring the transfer of architectural knowledge from First Nations people to migrant settlers to Australia - focusing on vernacular architectures in Queensland. This research is concerned with locating Indigenous architecture more centrally within existing architectural histories.
  • Cultural Histories of the Queensland House
    The primary focus of this research is to diversify existing architectural histories of the Queensland House through the study of issues of culture, gender and race.

Research Impacts

The findings of my research into the culturally-specific needs of users involves applied research outcomes aimed at informing architects and policy writers designing and providing dwellings and institutional architecture intended for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients. This research includes techniques such as participatory design processes and post occupancy evaluations. To date this research has resulted in the development of culturally sensitive design briefs and design criteria that informed architectural housing and aged care projects in remote parts of Central Australia.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Architecture, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Design Studies, The University of Queensland


View all Publications


View all Supervision


Book Chapter

  • Go-Sam, Carroll and Keys, Catherine (2018). Mobilising Indigenous agency through cultural sustainability in architecture: are we there yet?. The handbook of contemporary indigenous architecture. (pp. 347-380) edited by Elizabeth Grant, Kelly Greenop, Albert L. Refiti and Daniel J. Glenn. Singapore: Springer Nature. doi: 10.1007/978-981-10-6904-8_14

  • Steele, Wendy and Keys, Cathy (2016). Interstitial housing space: no centre just border. Housing and home unbound: intersections in economics, environment and politics in Australia. (pp. 204-217) edited by Nicole Cook, Aidan Davison and Louise Crabtree. Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9781315669342

  • Keys, C. (2000). The House and the Yupukarra, Yuendumu, 1946-96. Settlement: A History of Australian Indigenous Housing. (pp. 118-129) edited by P. Read. Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

  • Habibis, Daphne, Memmott, Paul, Phillips, Rhonda, Go-Sam, Carroll, Keys, Cathy and Moran, Mark (2013). Housing conditionality, Indigenous lifeworlds and policy outcomes: towards a model for culturally responsive housing provision. Melbourne, Australia: Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute.

  • Keys, Cathy (2013). Pine: Bunya. Bunya Mountains, QLD, Australia: Bunya Forest Gallery.

  • Keys, Cathy (2013). Pine: Pine(ing). Sydney South, NSW, Australia: Cathy Keys Website.

  • Keys, Cathy (2013). Pine: The Bunyas. Fortitude Valley, QLD, Australia: Artisan Gallery.

  • Keys, Cathy (2010). Typology. Waverley, NSW, Australia: Australian Ceramics website.

  • Keys, Cathy (2009). Silt. Fortitude Valley, QLD, Australia: Signature Brisbane.

  • Keys, Cathy (2008). Tidemark. Gympie, QLD, Australia: Cooloola Shire Public Gallery.

  • Keys, Cathy (2007). Remnant. Brisbane, QLD, Australia: Micheal Signoures Galleries.

  • Memmott, Paul, Stacy, Rachael, Chambers, Catherine and Keys, Catherine (2001). Violence in Indigenous Communities. Canberra: Crime Prevention Branch, Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department.

  • Keys, Catherine Ann (1999). The architectural implications of Warlpiri jilimi. PhD Thesis, School of Architecture, The University of Queensland. doi: 10.14264/302732

  • Keys, Catherine (1993). Aboriginal women's birthing and architectural implications in central Australia. Honours Thesis, School of Geography, Planning and Architecture, The University of Queensland. doi: 10.14264/uql.2020.397

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Note for students: Dr Catherine Keys is not currently available to take on new students.

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors: