Narelle Jarry – Associate Director Collections

Narelle graduated from the University of Canberra with a Bachelor of Applied Science in the Conservation of Cultural Material. Specialising in works of art on paper, Narelle has worked in numerous cultural institutions in the US and Australia including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Los Angeles County Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney as well as the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York.

After a move to Armidale Narelle worked as the Registrar and Collections Manager of the New England Regional Art Museum (NERAM) where she was responsible for the care of the entire collection – its display, storage and handling, installation, framing, loan and transportation, conservation and preservation. She curated a number of exhibitions and reinstated and chaired the acquisition and deaccession committee.

Narelle then moved to work with Beyond Empathy, a not-for-profit organisation that uses the arts to influence change and enrich the lives of individuals and communities experiencing recurring hardship. She created conceptual artworks to engage with marginalised people in the local community, aiming to break cycles of disadvantage, embed new attitudes and develop new skills. In 2014 Narelle was accepted into the Australia Council Emerging Leaders Development Program.

A chance encounter with a whale skeleton in 2016 led to a position at the UNE Natural History Museum where her responsibilities remained much the same as in her arts career – advocate, champion and carer for collections. Narelle has now moved to Associate Director of the University Collections, a role that aims to bring all UNE collections to life for research, teaching and engagement with a lifelong learning focus. Click here to email Narelle directly.

Dr Russell Bicknell – Museum Collections Manager

Russell is our resident Kiwi and palaeontologist. He grew up in Wellington, New Zealand, and completed both a Bachelor and Master of Science at Victoria University of Wellington (VUW). Russell moved to Armidale in 2016 to begin his Ph.D. at UNE in the Palaeoscience Research Centre, and his recently highly acclaimed thesis considered the early evolution of life. During his Ph.D. Russell explored records of ancient predation and used a group of animals alive today–horseshoe crabs–to model this predation. He has since explored the evolution of horseshoe crabs and is now an authority on the topic. He enjoys uncovering fossil horseshoe crab species that have not been studied for decades and identifying specimens that are undescribed to uncover the true diversity of these animals that have a stunning fossil record. He has recently named his first genus and species using a specimen from the Alps of Slovenia!

Russell works as the Museum Collections Manager of UNE’s Natural History Museum while juggling palaeontology research and outreach education with the Discovery Voyager crew. He enjoys the days photographing specimens in the collection room and sifting through material to identify unique and curious specimens for research and micro-CT scanning.

Russell is passionate about engaging museum visitors in educational experiences.  He works with UNE Discovery to facilitate curriculum-aligned school visits to the Natural History Museum. The activities are an opportunity to introduce students from the age of five to components of natural history, which Russell finds highly rewarding. He believes this type of hands on education makes science much more accessible, relatable and interesting. Click here to email Russell directly.

Dr Jean Holley – UNE Discovery Voyager Educator and Bookings Coordinator

Jean comes from a life immersed in the Australian landscape. She is the UNE Discovery Voyager bookings coordinator, Discovery activity facilitator, and insect ecologist who finds insects utterly enthralling.  She’s continually amazed that these little creatures are living, breathing animals that perceive and react to their environment and to each other!

Jean has worked across government and academia as a researcher, investigating aspects of cold tolerance in locusts, as an integrated pest management entomologist and policy and technical officer. The interaction between insects as ecosystem service providers (primarily dung beetles) and climate change has been her recent research interest, and she has undertaken innovative experiments in climate controlled chambers to assess the reproductive performance, survival and ecosystem service provision by beetles under experimental thermal regimes.

If Jean can change just one person’s view from aversion to appreciation for insects, it’s a good day. She brings her appreciation and understanding of the natural world to Discovery in order to help children and curious adults value how intricate ecosystems fit together, have fun and think critically about their place in the world.