Joakim Goldhahn announced Kimberley Foundation Ian Potter Chair in Rock Art

We are delighted to announce that Professor Joakim Goldhahn, currently based at Linnaeus University in Sweden, will be the newly appointed Kimberley Foundation Ian Potter Chair in Rock Art at The University of Western Australia.

Professor Joakim Goldhahn (photo: Sally K May)

Established in 2012, this Chair is funded by the Kimberley Foundation Australia (KFA) through a gift from The Ian Potter Foundation and a major contribution from global energy company INPEX. UWA provided matching funding enabling the Chair to be fully endowed.


The Chair was previously held by Professor Peter Veth. “Being the inaugural Chair was an extraordinary opportunity to build new collaborative understandings of Kimberley rock art with host Kimberley communities. I welcome Joakim to this role and look forward to working with him into the future."


As well as being an internationally renowned specialist in northern European rock art, Professor Goldhahn, since 2000, has been involved with four Australian community-based research projects in western and north-western Arnhem Land. This collaborative research has been with the Mirarr (2011-2015), Maung (2016-2018), and Djok (2017-ongoing) clan groups. His work has focused on recent rock art artists, their artworks, and legacy; and he has an extensive network of interdisciplinary collaborators. His experience will enrich the already well-established archaeology group at UWA working with CRAR+M.

Joakim has been fascinated by the many stunning rock art traditions of Australia since he was a graduate student. “I feel privileged to have been able to work with and learn from Aboriginal stakeholders during the last decade. These experiences have fundamentally changed my understanding of rock art as a meaning creating phenomenon, and why it is important to preserve and protect these artworks for the present and emerging generations.”

“I feel privileged to have been able to work with and learn from Aboriginal stakeholders during the last decade." – Joakim Goldhahn

Professor Joakim Goldhahn said “I cannot but feel blessed to be given the opportunity to take on this role and the possibility to work with so many inspiring colleagues at UWA and the Centre for Rock Art Research + Management. I am looking forward to engaging with them and UWA students alike in forthcoming research projects.”

Recent fieldwork trip (photo: Emily Miller)

Professor Matthew Tonts, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Education welcomed the appointment of Professor Goldhahn. “Professor Goldhahn’s renowned work in exploring the meaning and significance of rock art will be a boon for our Centre for Rock Art Research + Management,” Professor Tonts said.

“This significant international appointment strengthens our valuable research at UWA and supports our continuing Indigenous cultural conservation work within the Faculty.” – Matthew Tonts (Executive Dean, FABLE, UWA)

Professor Goldhahn's appointment follows the recent appointment of Professor Rachel Popelka-Filcoff to the new Kimberley Foundation Minderoo Chair in Archaeological Science at The University of Melbourne. The two Chairs will develop new research synergies informed by science and Aboriginal cultural heritage to tell the story of Australia's earliest human habitation.

“These two pillars of rock art research are fundamental to revealing the deep history of Aboriginal Australia and its significance in the global narrative of human origins," said KFA Chairman, Laurie Brereton. "The appointment of Professor Goldhahn is an important milestone in continuing to build this understanding.”

Professor Jo McDonald, Director of the Centre, says: “Joakim’s appointment heralds a new era of Kimberley and northern Australian research that will build on the strong foundations developed by Peter Veth, working with our Centre’s other Kimberley specialists Jane Balme, Sven Ouzman and Martin Porr.

"We welcome this new appointment and we all look forward to the opportunities that it brings.” – Jo McDonald (Director, CRAR+M, UWA)
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Mailing Address:

Centre for Rock Art, Research + Management,

School of Social Sciences,

M257, 32 Stirling Highway, Perth WA 6009

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