Pathways to Knowledge: Research, Agency and Power Relations in the Context of Collaborations Between Museums and Source Communities

Chapter
Part of the One World Archaeology book series (WORLDARCH)

Abstract

Museum collections have in recent decades been a pivotal point of reference for indigenous people and source communities across Australia. This chapter seeks to demonstrate how collaborative projects between the museum sector in Australia and Aboriginal people and source communities have created new insights into heritage collections. At the same time engagement with museum collections has provided a focus for Aboriginal people to explore their own history and created an environment that supports the regeneration and maintenance of knowledge and the construction of group identity. In this chapter, we explore the nature of collaborations drawing on case studies from projects involving remote communities in Arnhem Land and Cape York of northern Australia. These projects have focused on collections held by Museum Victoria in Melbourne. We explore the way in which indigenous people have initiated and been a part of engagements with museum collections of images, objects and field material that relate to themselves and their own history. We discuss a research model that promotes the value of museum-based research while giving due recognition to the authority of source communities. In this context, the contemporary museum environment is one of a contested site where knowledge is negotiated and a field site where both contemporary and historical indigenous agency emerges.

References

  1. Allen, Lindy 2005 A Photographer of Brilliance. In Donald Thomson, Man and Scholar, edited by Bruce Rigsby and Nicolas Peterson, pp. 45–62. Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, Canberra.Google Scholar
  2. Allen, Lindy 2008 Tons and Tons of Valuable Material. In The Makers and Making of Indigenous Australian Museum Collections, edited by Nicolas Peterson, Lindy Allen and Louise Hamby, pp. 387–418. Melbourne University Publishing, Melbourne.Google Scholar
  3. Bolton, Lissant 2003 The Object in View: Aborigines, Melanesians and Museums. In Museums and Source Communities, edited by Laura Peers and Alison K. Brown, pp. 42–54. Routledge, London.Google Scholar
  4. Corn, Aaron, and Neparrnga Gumbula 2006 Rom and the Academy Re-positioned: Binary Models in Yolŋu Intellectual Traditions and Their Application to Wider Inter-Cultural Dialogues. In Boundary Writing: An Exploration of Race, Culture and Gender Binaries in Contemporary Australia, edited by Lynette Russell, pp. 170–197. University of Hawai’i Press, Honolulu.Google Scholar
  5. de Heer, Rolf, and Peter Djigirr 2006 Ten Canoes. A Film by Rolf de Heer and the People of Ramingining, Fandango/Vertigo Production in association with South Australian Film Corporation, Film Finance Corporation Australia.Google Scholar
  6. Djerrkura, Gatjil 2003 Foreword. In Donald Thomson in Arnhem Land, edited by Donald Thomson, compiled and introduced by Nicolas Peterson, p. ii. The Miegunyah Press, Melbourne.Google Scholar
  7. Edwards, Robert, and Jenny Stewart 1980 Preserving Indigenous Cultures: A New Role for Museums. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.Google Scholar
  8. Gibson, Noel 2007 Reclaiming the Past Can Be Personal. Sydney Morning Herald, Monday April 9: News 2. Sydney.Google Scholar
  9. Gumbula, Neparrnga 2009 Makarr-Garma: Aboriginal Collections from a Yolngu Perspective. Macleay Museum, Sydney.Google Scholar
  10. Hafner, Diane 2005 Images of Port Stewart: Possible Interpretations. In Donald Thomson, Man and Scholar, edited by Bruce Rigsby and Nicolas Peterson, pp. 45–62. Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, Canberra.Google Scholar
  11. Hafner, Diane 2008 The Past, Present: Lamalama Interactions with Memory and Technology. In The New Boundaries between Bodies and Technologies, edited by Bianca Maria Pirani and Ivan Varga, pp. 250–267. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle.Google Scholar
  12. Hafner, Diane, Bruce Rigsby, and Lindy Allen 2007 Museums and Memory as Agents of Social Change. The International Journal of the Humanities 5(6):87–94.Google Scholar
  13. Hamby, Louise 2007a Wrapt with String. Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture 5(2):208–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hamby, Louise 2007b Thomson Times and Ten Canoes. Studies in Australasian Cinema 1(2):127–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hamby, Louise 2008 Lloyd Warner: The Reluctant Collector. In The Makers and Making of Indigenous Australian Museum Collections, edited by Nicolas Peterson, Lindy Allen, and Louise Hamby, pp. 355–386. Melbourne University Publishing, Melbourne.Google Scholar
  16. Karp, Ivan, Corinne Kratz, Lynn Szwaja, and Tomas Ybarra-Frausto (editors) 2006 Museum Frictions: Public Cultures, Global Transformations. Duke University Press, Durham and London.Google Scholar
  17. Murray, Tom, and Allan Collins 2005 Dhakiyarr vs the King. Film Australia.Google Scholar
  18. Museums Australia 1993 Revised 2005 Continuous Cultures, Ongoing Responsibilities. http://www.museumsaustralia.org.au/dbdoc/ccor_final_feb_05.pdf
  19. National and State Libraries Australasia 2007 National Policy Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Library Services and Collections. http://www.nsla.org.au/publications/policies/2007/pdf/NSLA.Policy-20070129-National.Policy.Framework.for.Indigenous.Services.pdf
  20. Peers, Laura, and Alison K. Brown (editors) 2003 Museums and Source Communities. Routledge, London.Google Scholar
  21. Peterson, Nicolas, Lindy Allen, and Louise Hamby (editors) 2008 The Makers and Making of Indigenous Australian Museum Collections. Melbourne University Publishing, Melbourne.Google Scholar
  22. Rigsby, Bruce, and Nicholas Peterson (editors) 2005 Donald Thomson, Man and Scholar. Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, Canberra.Google Scholar
  23. Thomson, Donald 1934 The Dugong Hunters of Cape York. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 64:237–262.Google Scholar
  24. Thomson, Donald 2003 Donald Thomson in Arnhem Land. Compiled and introduced by Nicolas Peterson. The Miegunyah Press, Melbourne.Google Scholar
  25. Vertigo Productions 2006 Ten Canoes Press Kit. Vertigo Productions, Adelaide.Google Scholar
  26. Warner, William Lloyd 1937 A Black Civilisation: A Social Study of an Australian Tribe. Harper and Brothers, New York, NY.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Indigenous Cultures, Museum VictoriaMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Research School of Humanities and the ArtsAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

Personalised recommendations