Decolonising Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies


Central Greenough, Western Australia. National Trust of Australia (WA). Photographer: Andrea Witcomb

It is now 40 years since Deakin University began its Museum Studies program in 1979.  In celebrating this milestone, we are organising a conference that responds to the enormous changes over that time, both in the fields of museum practice and the wider field of cultural heritage. Given our location in Australia, a settler society, our focus takes its bearing from the increasing pressure on museums, archives and heritage places to ‘decolonize’ their practices and relations with Indigenous and First Nations People. The ‘Decolonising Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies’ conference thus seeks to broaden and deepen the cross-disciplinary and cross-sector conversation about new practices, interpretations and lives for collected materials across the GLAM sector, as well as heritage places shaped by colonial contexts. Informed by histories of the production of colonial knowledge and responding to new and interdisciplinary directions in collection theory and research, heritage management and interpretation, this conference will bring together researchers, practitioners, industry partners, and artists to discuss the critical elements of working with and through collections and heritage places within a Decolonising impulse.

Broad themes will include but are not limited to:

  • Decolonisation in museums: a shift from a postcolonial museology to a new moment

  • Rethinking of management of collections but also particular ways of collecting, archiving, curating and exhibiting

  • Ends of particular disciplinary practices of collecting

  • Recovery, rediscovery and reconstitution of collections

  • Managing and interpreting places of colonial dispossession, trauma, and reconciliation

  • Managing and interpreting places associated with Indigenous Knowledge and histories

  • Decolonising approaches to concepts of nature and the implications for the management of natural and cultural landscapes.

13 -14 November 2019
Deakin University
221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, VIC 3125

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