Dr. Shirley Campbell is a social anthropologist and Research Fellow at the Australian National University, with a special interest in the indigenous peoples of Australia, Melanesia, and the Pacific. More than three decades of academic research and university teaching have led to a sound knowledge and understanding of many cultures around the world and the theoretical foundations that human societies share. Growing up in California and exploring her suburban neighborhood, Shirley’s passion for understanding different cultures was sparked by discovering ancient artifacts from Native Americans long dispossessed of their lands. Now widely traveled, she has had firsthand experience of the ways in which communities form and develop distinct, yet interrelated cultures. Related to this has been research into the origins and dispersal of Austronesian-speaking peoples from Taiwan and their eventual colonization of the South Pacific, Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, and their only colonization of the southeast Asian mainland in Vietnam.
Living in England, Australia, Papua New Guinea, and the United States, Shirley developed fluency in Italian and the Vakutan language. She has led groups of Italian tourists around England, as well as American tourists throughout Western Europe; sailed in ocean-going outrigger canoes while living for almost two years with the indigenous people in the Trobriand Islands, a tiny coral atoll in Papua New Guinea; and lectured at prestigious Dartmouth College, New Hampshire and the Australian National University in Canberra. Shirley has specialized in studying the anthropology of art, convinced that understanding the way people represent their ideas through art and architecture provides valuable insights into our perceptions and relationships with the world around us. Her studies have led to degrees from Stephens College Missouri and the Australian National University. She has contributed several academic papers to peer-reviewed journals and books, and has written a book recounting her research and experiences in the Trobriand Islands titled ‘The Art of Kula’.
Shirley is passionate about mental and physical wellness, and is a senior instructor in the Australian fitness industry and a master yoga teacher. For relaxation and pleasure she enjoys studying the origins of yoga and its place within Indian society, music, quilting, and scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef.