South Australian Museum Staff
- Honorary Research Associate
- Australian Aboriginal Ethnology
Valérie is also an Honorary research fellow, Centre for research and documentation on Oceania (CREDO), University of Provence, Marseille, France.
Dr Valérie Boll has an academic background in art, anthropology and zoology. After studying at the University of Strasbourg and Paris (France), she started post-doctorate research at the South Australian Museum in July 2000.
Between 2001 and 2005, Dr Boll worked on a project called "The distribution and ethnozoology of frogs (and toads) in North East Arnhem Land – Phase 1 + 2". This research focused on the cultural relationship between Dhalwangu people and the frog, Garkman, in North-East Arnhem Land (Yolngu territory), Northern Territory, Australia. The aim of this research was to record traditional Aboriginal knowledge about frogs as viewed by Dhalwangu, a Yolngu clan. Particular emphasis was placed on amphibian traditions and beliefs, local nomenclature, and natural history as conceived by the Dhalwangu. Data and art works were collected during two research periods, August to December 2002 and February to June 2005, at Gängan outstation, Gapuwiyak, Yirrkala (community and Buku-Larrnggay Art Centre) and Nhulunbuy.
In 2007, Dr Boll worked on an exhibition project: "Following Garkman: the frog in N.E. Arnhem Land". This journey, following Garkman, the totemic frog, took us through Dhalwangu (Yirritja) country, traditions and beliefs, allowing outsiders to learn about Dhalwangu sophisticated systems of living, their philosophy and an encyclopaedia of the environment, combining the ancient time, the present and the future. The exhibition represented a tremendous opportunity to bridge the gaps between natural and social sciences, jointly presenting cultural and zoological knowledge as an educational exhibition supported by significant artworks. The exhibition was developed by the South Australian Museum for the 2007 program.
In 2008 and 2009, Dr Boll focussed on a new project on traditional ecological knowledge: "Caring for country. Managing indigenous and scientific environmental knowledge in North- East Arnhem Land." Traditional and local Aboriginal knowledge systems are dynamic expressions of perceiving and understanding the world. As such, they can make a valuable contribution to science and technology, and there is an urgent need to preserve, protect, research and promote this cultural and empirical knowledge. Animals and plants are of value to humans in many ways for their scientific, cultural, ecological and aesthetic worth, and they play a critical role in the world's ecosystems. In the face of the evidence for global decline of many species, additional research on traditional ecological knowledge is urgently needed in all these areas both from a broad approach and a detailed case study perspective.
In 2011 an educational bi-lingual DVD and a booklet called The Yolngu Seasons have been produced. Both are valuable resources which will be used in the first place by the CEC (Community Education Centre) at Yirrkala but may also be distributed later to Yolngu schools across North East Arnhem Land.
Major Publications: (Top 5)
Boll, V. 2006. Following Garkman, the frog in North-East Arnhem Land (Australia). Australian Zoologist 33 (4): 436-445.
Boll, V. & L. McArthur. 2005. Sur les traces de Garkman, la grenouille, dans le Nord-Est de la Terre d'Arnhem (Australie). (Following Garkman, the frog in North-East Arnhem Land, Australia). Journal de la Société des Océanistes, 120-121 (1-2): 41-55.
Boll, V. 2004. The distribution and ethnozoology of frogs (and toad) in Northeastern Arnhem Land, Australia. Anthropozoologica. L'homme et l'animal, Société de Recherche interdisciplinaire. Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, 39 (2) : 445-456.
Boll. V. 2003. Le monde fragile des grenouilles en Australie. (The fragile world of frogs in Australia). Combat Nature, 140 (Février): 21-22.
Boll. V. 2000. Autour du couple ambigu crapaud-grenouille. Recherches ethnozoologiques. (About the ambiguous toad-frog couple: anthropozoological research). L'Harmattan. Paris. (211p). Published Ph. D.