24 May 2019 4:30pm - 6:00pm Faculty of English Boardroom, 9 West Road, Cambridge


Objects’ other histories: Researching museum collections for new material histories of Australian-British encounters 

This event is free and open to all. No registration required. 

In this seminar, four Indigenous and non-Indigenous speakers from Australia discuss the urgent and often politically charged work of researching and exhibiting museum objects. Focusing on objects emerging from British and Australian-Indigenous encounters, and now held in collections in Australia and throughout the UK, they are interested in the ways in which this material culture can be used for new material histories of empire and colony that privilege Indigenous people’s experiences and perspectives. Using objects as portals to walk through side doors into history, they ask what new connections and perspectives objects can generate, in relation to or separate from textual sources. This work is taking place in a context of new relationships between museums and communities, which contribute to the collaborative work of retrieval and return. The speakers will reflect on the ways in which those contexts and politics influence their work.  


  • Dr Gaye Sculthorpe, Curator, and Section Head, Oceania, British Museum
  • Shayne Williams, Elder, La Perouse Community, and Educator, New South Wales Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (NSWAECG), Sydney
  • Maria Nugent, A/Professor/Co-director, Australian Centre for Indigenous History, School of History, Australian National University, Canberra
  • Penny Edmonds, A/Professor of History, Humanities School, University of Tasmania


Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk