The Filmmakers

Martin Filmmaker
Martin Thomas interviewing Isaiah Nagurrgurrba on Injalak
with Scott Wombey filming and James Lane recording, 2016.
Photograph: Béatrice Bijon.

Martin Thomas (Director, Producer and Narrator) is Professor in the School of History at the Australian National University. He is the author of The Artificial Horizon: Imagining the Blue Mountains (2003) and The Many Worlds of R. H. Mathews: In Search of an Australian Anthropologist (2011), which won the National Biography Award of Australia. He is editor or co-editor of several volumes on exploration including Exploring the Legacy of the 1948 Arnhem Land Expedition (2011), Expedition into Empire (2015) and Expeditionary Anthropology (2018). While Etched in Bone is his first film, Thomas has made numerous radio documentaries for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The best known is This is Jimmie Barker (2000), a portrait of an Aboriginal sound recordist from Brewarrina which won the New South Wales Premier’s Audio/Visual History Prize. As an interviewer for the Oral History and Folklore Collection of the National Library of Australia, Thomas has recorded more than 30 whole-of-life interviews with prominent Australians. For more than ten years, he has been working with Aboriginal communities in Arnhem Land, interpreting historic film and sound recordings with elders. In 2019-20 he will be based in Ireland where he has been appointed Keith Cameron Professor of Australian History at University College Dublin.

Beatrice Filmmaker
Béatrice Bijon and Isaiah Nagurrgurrba in a cave on Injalak plateau during the 2016 shoot.
Photograph: Martin Thomas.

Béatrice Bijon (Producer and Co-Director) is a scholar of English literature and women’s history and a Visiting Fellow in the School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics at the Australian National University. In her native France she was senior lecturer at the University of Lyon. She is co-author of Suffragistes et suffragettes: la conquête du droit de vote des femmes au Royaume-Uni et aux Etats-Unis, published in December 2017. She is editor or co-editor of several volumes on travel writing and world literature, including In-Between Two Worlds: Travel Narratives by Female Travellers and Explorers, 1850-1945 (2009) and The Production of Strangeness in Postcolonial Literatures (2010). Bijon relocated to Australia in 2011 after a Harold White Fellowship at the National Library of Australia. Her migration to Australia took her into new areas of research. Work in Arnhem Land communities from 2012 led to her involvement in the Etched in Bone project. In 2018, she curated at the National Library of Australia Deeds Not Words, an exhibition to mark the centenary of some women getting the vote in Britain for the first time.

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