Museum Victoria: 2010 Lecture Series, Indigenous Cultures Department

I received this announcement from the School of Culture and Communication mailing list this afternoon:

When: 1pm – 2pm, last Tuesday of every month, February to November, 2010
Where: The Discovery Centre, Lower Ground Floor, Melbourne Museum

The Indigenous Cultures Department of Museum Victoria is launching a monthly lecture series in February 2010 entitled Culture and History. The series will offer free public lectures on a wide range of topics relating to Australian Colonial and Post-colonial history, Aboriginal Studies, Australasian Anthropology & Archaeology, Aboriginal Art, Cultural Theory, Contemporary Politics & Government and other related topics. Lectures in the broader fields of History and Culture will also feature from time to time.

Tuesday the 30th of March, 2010: The Lamalama of Cape York – Reclaiming and Linking the Past with the Future, By: Lindy Allen (Senior Curator, Indigenous Cultures Department, Museum Victoria)

This paper presents insights into museums and their activities as intellectual and cultural resources and how museums respond to the aspirations of Indigenous communities. Museum collections have in recent decades been a pivotal point of reference for Indigenous people and source communities across Australia, and this paper seeks to demonstrate how collaborative projects between the museum sector and Indigenous people and source communities in Australia have created new insights into heritage collections. Engagement with museum collections has provided a focus for Indigenous people to explore their own history and created an environment that supports the regeneration and maintenance of knowledge and the construction of group-identity. An Australian Research Council funded Linkage project with Museum Victoria, University of Queensland, Deakin University and pama from Cape York – the Lamalama people of Princess Charlotte Bay – has been underway for the past three years. It combines museum and anthropological practice, film making and Indigenous community participation to investigate processes of cultural renewal and issues of identity within the context of museums and investigation and documentation of heritage material. This paper explores the way in which Lamalama people have initiated and engaged with the Donald Thomson Collection and over 500 still images taken and around 150 objects collected at Port Stewart by the Melbourne-based anthropologist, Donald Thomson. It discusses a research model based on the intersection of disparate and incongruous methodologies and epistemologies in order to breathe life into and give new meanings to museum collections. It promotes the value of museum based-research while at the same time giving due recognition to the authority of source communities. In this context, the contemporary museum environment is not just a contested site where knowledge is negotiated, but serves as a field site itself where contemporary and historical Indigenous agency emerges.

Lindy Allen is Senior Curator for Northern Australia at Museum Victoria and has worked in the museum sector for 30 years. Lindy’s research interests are in Aboriginal material culture and art, museum collections and collecting, museology, museum anthropology and visual anthropology; and has most recently been Partner Investigator on the ARC Linkage Project  Oral Tradition, Memory and Social Change: indigenous participation in the curation and use of museum collections. She has initiated a focused research program on Indigenous collections and co-edited the volume The Makers and Making of Indigenous Australian Museum Collections published by Melbourne University Publishing in 2008); undertaken extensive fieldwork and fostered relationships with Indigenous communities across Arnhem Land and on Cape York Peninsula; and curated over 30 major exhibitions, the most recent exhibition being Ancestral Power and the Aesthetic: Arnhem Land Bark Paintings and Painted Objects from the Donald Thomson Collection, shown at the Ian Potter Museum of Art at the University of Melbourne in 2009 and now being prepared for an interstate tour in 2010-11.

Free entry, Bookings essential
For RSVP and information contact:
Larissa Tittl
Phone 8341 7363
Email ltittl@museum.vic.gov.au

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