Willi Lempert is a cultural anthropology Ph.D. student interested in the production and circulation of Indigenous media. For his MA, he conducted research with the Denver Indigenous Film and Arts on expressions of identity and community, both on and off screen. He is currently submitting an article on the emerging genre of Native-produced science fiction films as a productive form of alternative cultural "futuring". Recently, he participated in a group ethnographic project with three other graduate students in the department on the relationship between Occupy Denver and the American Indian Movement.
For his dissertation, Willi will work with the Indigenous run and owned Goolarri and PAKAM media organizations in Broome, a relatively isolated multicultural pearling town of 15,000 in the Kimberley region of Northwestern Australia. While Goolarri and PAKAM both work with remote communities, share facilities, and produce radio and video content, they represent divergent Indigenous media organizational models, with Goolarri a primarily commercial enterprise and PAKAM a government funded network of twenty remote community media units.
Building on previous fieldwork with Goolarri in 2006 for his undergraduate thesis, Willi travelled to Broome in the summer of 2012 to develop this project in collaboration with local community members. His dissertation will investigate social and cultural contributions of, as well as the impending challenges for, Indigenous media in the Kimberley region - particularly in light of current national shifts in media funding structures, satellite broadcasting technologies, and the National Indigenous Television channel. Willi will spend a significant portion of his research working with PAKAM media units in remote Aboriginal communites to include perspectives from grassroots media producers, as well as the primary media hubs in Broome. He has experience in radio production and continues to take film courses in preparation for working on various media projects during his fieldwork.