Researcher biography

Professor Paul Memmott is an anthropologist and architect and for some decades was the Director of the Aboriginal Environments Research Centre at the University of Queensland (School of Architecture and Institute for Social Science Research). This has now become the Aboriginal Environments Research Collaborative (AERC) within the School of Architecture, Design and Planning. The AERC has provided and continues to provide an applied research focus on a range of topics in relation to Indigenous populations, including institutional architecture, vernacular architecture, housing, crowding, governance, well-being, homelessness, family violence and social planning for communities.

Paul was the first full-time architectural-anthropological consultant in Australia, being principal of a research consultancy practice in Aboriginal projects during 1980 to 2008. His research interests encompass Aboriginal sustainable housing and settlement design, Aboriginal access to institutional architecture, Indigenous constructs of place and cultural heritage, vernacular architecture, social planning in Indigenous communities, cultural change and architectural anthropology.

Paul's scholarly research output includes over 300 publications (including 11 books and monographs), 215 applied research reports and 40 competitive grants. He has supervised over 50 postgraduate and honours students and has won a number of prestigious teaching awards in Indigenous education (including an Australian Award for University Teaching – AAUT). One of his books, titled 'Gunyah, Goondie + Wurley: Aboriginal Architecture of Australia', received three national book awards in 2008 (Edition 1), including the prestigious Stanner Award from the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, and then upon the publication of an expanded edition 2 in 2022, another three national book awards.

Paul also has extensive professional anthropological experience in Aboriginal land rights claims, Native Title claims and associated court work since 1980. He has presented evidence and been examined in a variety of Australian courts as an expert witness on a cross-section of Indigenous issues, in addition to the Native Title work.


  • AIA Neville Quarry Award, 2015
  • Best Exhibit, Australian Architectural Exhibit, Venice Biennale 2018 (Team led by Baracco + Wright Architects, Melbourne)


  • Life Member, Academy of Social Sciences (Australia)
  • Life Fellow, Australian Institute of Architects
  • Fellow, Australian Anthropological Society

Areas of research