Dr Catherine Keys

Research Fellow

School of Architecture
Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology
c.keys@uq.edu.au
+61 7 336 53779

Overview

Dr Cathy Keys is a Research Fellow in the Aboriginal Environments Research Centre. She 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 architecture subjects in the School of Architecture, The University of Queensland and performed architectural consultancies in Central Australian Aboriginal communities. More recently she has worked in the government sector

Research Interests

  • Well-being and architecture
    In partnership with Professor Paul Memmott of the Aboriginal Environments Research Centre, School of Architecture, I am researching examples of architectural design that draw on and support culturally-specific beliefs and practices surrounding well-being.
  • Vernacular architecture
    I am currently researching the sharing of architectural knowledge between Aboriginal people and European settlers in Australia at the time of early cross-cultural contact. This research is concerned with locating Indigenous architecture more centrally within existing architectural histories.
  • Interstitial space
    I am also working on the nature of interstitial housing space and practices in Australia in collaboration with Associate Professor Wendy Steele, School of Global, Urban and Social Studies in the Centre for Urban Research, RMIT.

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.

Qualifications

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

Publications

View all Publications

Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • This research involves exploring a range of theoretical approaches concerned with the concept of well-being and explores their applicability to architecture concerned with Australian Aboriginal environments.

    Historically, well-being studies and initiatives have concentrated on individuals using Western constructs of economic and physical health. Contemporary studies focusing on subjective well-being and culture have highlighted the weaknesses of these earlier approaches and there is a growing recognition of the need to examine broader social relationships, capabilities and culturally-specific notions of well-being. More holistic definitions of health have paralleled a growing interest in spiritual and emotional well-being and the positive impacts of natural and built environments.

    This investigation suggests that notions of well-being that encompass cultural, social, emotional, spiritual and environmental relationships have the potential to add value and a new and positive perspective to studies, design and policy concerned with architecture associated with Aboriginal environments.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Book Chapter

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

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

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Keys, Cathy (2014). Skin fabric iron shade. In: Christoph Schnoor, Translation: The 31st Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ) Annual Conference. Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ) Annual Conference, Auckland, New Zealand, (133-143). 2-5 July 2014.

  • Memmott, Paul and Keys, Cathy (2014). Translating the design of behaviour settings for Aboriginal well-being. In: Christoph Schnoor, Translation: The 31st Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ) Annual Conference. Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ) Annual Conference, Auckland, New Zealand, (517-529). 2-5 July 2014.

Other Outputs

  • 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.

  • 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.

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • This research involves exploring a range of theoretical approaches concerned with the concept of well-being and explores their applicability to architecture concerned with Australian Aboriginal environments.

    Historically, well-being studies and initiatives have concentrated on individuals using Western constructs of economic and physical health. Contemporary studies focusing on subjective well-being and culture have highlighted the weaknesses of these earlier approaches and there is a growing recognition of the need to examine broader social relationships, capabilities and culturally-specific notions of well-being. More holistic definitions of health have paralleled a growing interest in spiritual and emotional well-being and the positive impacts of natural and built environments.

    This investigation suggests that notions of well-being that encompass cultural, social, emotional, spiritual and environmental relationships have the potential to add value and a new and positive perspective to studies, design and policy concerned with architecture associated with Aboriginal environments.