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The Australian National University

2017 Anthony forge Memorial Lecture - Lady Kintore’s Corroboree

Date and time: 
Tue, 15th Aug 2017 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Location or Venue: 
Sir Roland Wilson Building, ANU
Presenter: 
Dr Gaye Sculthorpe

Dr Gaye Sculthorpe was a student of social anthropology in the first year course taught by Anthony Forge on his arrival at ANU in 1974. Completing further studies in anthropology, history and museums studies, she worked for many years in curatorial positions at Museum Victoria, Melbourne, and subsequently as a Member of the National Native Title Tribunal from 2000-2013. Since then, she has held the position as Curator and Section Head, Oceania at the British Museum where she curated the 2015 exhibition ‘Indigenous Australia: enduring civilisation’. She is currently a partner investigator on two ARC projects: ‘The Relational Museum and its Objects’ and ‘Collecting the West’ and was recently received an award for ANU’s 2017 Indigenous Alumni of the Year.

Anthony Forge’s field research in Bali and Papua New Guinea is of course well-known including his making of new collections from both locations now held in various museums. Less well-known are his contributions based on the study of nineteenth century museum collections such as early textiles and imagery associated with the Raffles collection in the British Museum. Forge noted in 1989 how the study of such objects elicited many new problems and he hoped answers, noting the necessity of making such resources more widely available through publication. Inspired by the opportunity to investigate British collections, this lecture presents recent research based on a period of ‘fieldwork’ undertaken on early Australian Indigenous collections in British museums. It discusses the potential of such collections to elicit new understandings of Australian material culture and history and some of the ways in which this is being done with Indigenous Australian communities and scholars.  

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