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Projects in progress

Australian Indigenous collectors and collections


Partner: Research School of Social Sciences, The Australian National University

Dates: 2004–06

This project looks at the contemporary and historical roles of Indigenous people in shaping private and public collections, and at the history of ideas of communal ownership and responsibility that influence the stewardship of many cultural collections today. It reverses the usual emphasis on Europeans as collectors of Indigenous objects and explores the extent to which Indigenous people were active players in building public collections, rather than the passive subjects of museum collecting.

Increasing visitor frequency: An approach to understanding and forecasting how cultural-attraction visitors respond to various incentives to increase visitation rates


Partners: Powerhouse Museum, Australian Museum, Museum Victoria, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Maritime Museum, University of Sydney

Dates: 2004–08

Museums have been steadily losing visitors over the past decade. While current research indicates that this may be due to greater competition for leisure activities, little is understood about how people make choices to visit or not to visit cultural attractions. The aim of this project is to develop, demonstrate and test a random utility theory-based modelling approach allowing managers of cultural attractions to understand and predict likely visitation consequences of initiatives.

New literacy, new audiences: A model for cost-effective Australian content generation and multi-platform publishing via co-creation and multi-site distribution


Partners: Queensland University of Technology, Powerhouse Museum, Queensland Museum, Australian Museum, State Library of Queensland, Qpix, Australian Centre for the Moving Image

Dates: 2006–08

User-created media content, as opposed to professional broadcast media, has traditionally been regarded as amateur and unsuitable for broad appeal. New technologies and the popularity of interactive media offer new possibilities for low-cost but professional quality user-created content. Our industry partners are seeking new ways to engage their users and consumers, and to share their content-rich sites with each other and the public at large.

Migration memories: An analysis of representations of Australian migration histories


Partner: Centre for Cross-Cultural Research, The Australian National University

Dates: 2005–07

This project looks at the representation of Australian migration histories in museum exhibitions. The investigation process has three critical ingredients: storytelling through material culture; regional locations as sites of research to provide a comparative perspective on the migration experience; and the creation of small exhibitions locally and in a national setting as a method of research into the migrant experience.

Cultural collections, creators and copyright: Museums, galleries, libraries and archives and Australia's digital heritage


Partner: University of Melbourne, Arts Law Centre of Australia, Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Australian Film Commission, Museum Victoria, Museums Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, National Library of Australia, National Museum of Australia, Powerhouse Museum, The Library Board of Victoria

Dates: 2006–09

This project investigates current and emerging ways of using digital collections in museums, galleries, libraries and archives, in light of copyright law and the interests of creators. It serves the strong public interest in facilitating digital access to collections while efficiently managing copyright. Exploiting the potential of digital media and maximising Australia's creative capability both depend on providing adequate incentives for content production while granting access to creative material as a resource for new production. The project will help Australia better manage its digital cultural collections and balance the interests of creators, institutions and public accessibility.

Indigenous participation in the Australian colonial economy: An anthropological and historical investigation


Partner: The Australian National University

Duration: 2007–09

The project will enhance our understanding of past relations between Indigenous people and the wider community. The proposal has the potential to mediate the extreme positions in the 'history wars' by investigating the various types of accommodation and mutuality of interests which informed many early encounters on and beyond the frontier. It will also widen the focus of settler–Indigenous relationships from those between Indigenous people and Anglo-Celtic Australians to include relations with other ethnicities including Afghan settlers.

Completed projects

Bronze Age textiles from Dong Son coffins in Vietnam


Partner: School of Archaeology, The Australian National University

Completed: March 2007

The Australian Dictionary of Biography online and emerging national information systems: Networking research capability


Partners: The Australian National University, University of Melbourne, University of Sydney, Macquarie University, University of South Australia, Griffith University, Monash University, National Library of Australia, National Museum of Australia, National Archives of Australia

Completed: December 2006

Studies in the degradation of dyes and pigments in ink on paper, in photographic media and on painted surfaces


Partner: University of Canberra

Completed: March 2007