Dr Fiona Foley

Associate Professor

School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry
Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
+61 7 336 52578


Dr Foley has a national and international profile as a leading contemporary artist and historian. Her work has produced substantial new knowledge around the Queensland Aboriginals Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act (1897), and her numerous exhibitions have shared this knowledge with audiences across the globe. Fiona has exhibited a total of 50 solo exhibitions and 175 group shows; created 14 public art commissions, and her art works are held in 23 collections including The British Museum and the Hood Museum of Art in New Hampshire, USA.

Her work comes with a string of accolades. Her monograph Biting the Clouds: A Badtjala perspective on the Aboriginals Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act was awarded the Queensland Premier’s Award for a Work of State Significance in 2021, alongside a Highly Commended in the 2022 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. In recognition of her very fine achievements, Fiona has been elected an Honorary Fellow in the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

Most recently, Fiona was awarded a DECRA for her project, “Investigating the Agency of Aboriginal Frontier War Memorials”.

Research Interests

  • Investigating the agency of Aboriginal Frontier War memorials
    DE230101072 This project aims to unite conflicting versions of Australian history by investigating the impact and effectiveness of Australian Aboriginal Frontier War memorials. It will expand our understanding of the shared sacrifices by First Nation and settler Australians during the frontier war and demonstrated the reconciliatory potential of memorialising art informed by Indigenous oral history and creative arts research and practice. The social and cultural benefits include developing a new understanding of historical construction of Australian national identity and the potential of Indigenous art to transform the function of Australian military monuments as well as a permanent archive of short documentary films and publication.


  • Honorary Fellow, Australian Academy of the Humanities, Australian Academy of the Humanities
  • Certificate of Visual Arts


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  • Master Philosophy

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Book Chapter

  • Foley, Fiona, Bargallie, Debbie, Carlson, Bronwyn and Nicoll, Fiona (2023). Reason and reckoning: Provocations and conversations about re-imagining Samuel Griffith’s university. The Palgrave Handbook on Rethinking Colonial Commemorations. (pp. 263-296) edited by Bronwyn Carlson and Terri Farrelly. Cham, Switzerland: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-3-031-28609-4_15

  • Foley, Fiona (2022). Disrupting the silence: Australian Aboriginal art as a political act. Expanding the parameters of feminist artivism. (pp. 51-64) edited by Gillian Hannum and Kyunghee Pyun. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. doi: 10.1007/978-3-031-09378-4_3

  • Foley, Fiona, Nicoll, Fiona, Volcic, Zala and O'Donnell, Dominic (2019). Creative frictions in the neoliberal university: Courting Blakness at The University of Queensland. Resisting neoliberalism in higher education: seeing through the cracks. (pp. 179-203) edited by Dorothy Bottrell and Catherine Manathunga. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-95942-9_9

  • Foley, Fiona and Martin-Chew, Louise (2015). The politics of art and place. Courting Blakness: Recalibrating Knowledge in the Sandstone University. (pp. 14-21) edited by Fiona Foley, Louise Martin-Chew and Fiona Nicoll. St Lucia, QLD, Australia: University of Queensland Press.

  • Foley, Fiona (2012). Just little bits of history re-repeating. MCA Collection. (pp. 24-29) edited by Glenn Barkley, Judith Blackall, Isabel Hesketh, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor and Ivan Muniz Reed. Sydney, NSW Australia: Museum of Contemporary Art.

  • Foley, Fiona (1999). A blast from the past. Performing hybridity. (pp. 46-58) edited by May Joseph and Jennifer Natalya Fink. Minneapolis, MN, United States: University of Minnesota Press.

Journal Article

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision