Kirsty is Senior Curator in Anthropology at the Museum of Tropical Queensland, Townsville, part of the Queensland Museum network. Her post is a joint appointment with JCU's College of Arts Society and Education, where she is involved in research, supervision and guest lecturing.
Prior to joining JCU in January 2017, Kirsty was a Research Fellow in the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining, Sustainable Minerals Institute at the University of Queensland (UQ), where she continues to hold affiliation as an Honorary Fellow. During her time at UQ Kirsty worked on a cultural heritage program in the Lihir Islands of Papua New Guinea (PNG) in the context of large-scale gold mining.
Kirsty has been conducting research on aspects of Papua New Guinean culture since 2003. Her doctoral thesis, a comprehensive study of the musical practices of the Duna people of Hela Province, PNG, was awarded by the Australian National University in 2008. The research was subsequently published in the book 'Steep Slopes: Music and Change in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea' (ANU Press, 2010).