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The stories in the Encounters exhibition are important for all Australians. Our curators have been recording the views of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from across Australia, as they share their thoughts about objects, museums, history and cultural identity.

Articulate responses

Computer generated illustration of the Aboriginal flag.

Visitors to our Encounters exhibition in Canberra recorded their impressions through writing, drawing, recording or photography in our Articulate app.

Browse Articulate responses here

Responses by Indigenous artists

Unsettled: Stories within

In Unsettled: Stories within, five leading Indigenous Australian artists responded to Encounters. The artists – Julie Gough, Jonathan Jones, Judy Watson, Elma Kris and Wukun Wanambi – produced unique works of art that provided a creative examination of objects on display in Encounters.

Explore the Unsettled website

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08 Dec 2015 4:40pm

I wish every Australian could experience the exhibition.

I spent almost four hours there, looking listening and absorbing. What did I like the most? Hard to say though the feeling that stays with me is one of positivity, of not bearing grudges into eternity. 'We're not living in the past. If we want to use an axe we buy one from Bunnings' - I loved that. Even though I have seen similar basketry in art galleries before, and spear tips, the craftmanship of the Encounters objects jumped out at me and struck me as extraordinary. For a reality check I looked at the collection in the NGA the following day, and while I did appreciate the craftmanship, I didn't really connect with the objects or feel the sense of awe and wonder that Encounters produced. The exhibition gave me a real appreciation of the First Australian as a proud and resilient people, and a real connection to the indigenous kinship with the land. That story around the artwork with the river and the water holes, of working at passing on the traditions and the resigned speech 'Of course, it's all gone now'. I knew it wasn't just that particular waterhole that was gone, it was the river, the land, their whole way of life. 


08 Dec 2015 12:42pm

These items are not the British Museums to loan!
They should be returned to Australia, to the lands from where they were taken/stolen. 


Dr Jonathan Riske
03 Dec 2015 4:07pm

Congratulations, in particular, to Dr Ian Coates for such amazing research and stakeholder management. Extraordinary achievement. 


Ian Garratt
04 Jul 2015 11:27am

Fantastic concept, process, objects and stories.
I first learned of the British Museum Indigenous Australia Enduring Civilisation exhibition on Radio National, I heard no mention of the Encounters project.
Recently I recieved the book of that exhibition, purchased online at;
It was in the Directors Foreward of his book where I first learned the National Musuem of Australias' "related exhibition".
British Museum Director, Neil MacGregor, continues;
"This will be the first time that these objects have been exhibited there since they were collected. The British Museum acknowledges that for Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander peoples, this return will be of high cultural and symbolic significance."
As he says "return" not 'loan', will any of these British held objects remain in Australia?
As a non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian person, this "return" "is of high cultural and symbolic significance" for me as well.
I highly recommend this book to all those learning about Australia and interested in the related Encounters project, and I look forward to similar and better quality Australian publications.
My view is that we deserve such publications in all libraries and curriculums in Australia.
I can't wait to hear more about the Encounters project, exhibitions and events.
I will be visiting the exhibition as soon as I can. 


Paul Bong - Bindur Bullin
01 May 2015 12:10pm

I am excited on the Encounters Exhibition i hope there will be more to come like this one , it will unearth the 60,000 years of silence and bring to the public new and refreshing information that will help them learn and understand about the objects that will be on display , it will be like walking back in time from 2015 to 1788 to 60,000 years ago this exhibition Will be one of a first encounters for Australia. Thanks to Both Museums for this Up and coming Encounter Exhibition. 


26 Feb 2015 11:06pm

It'll be interesting to see what sort of things are in the British Museum's collections. How often have the Aboriginal and Torres Strait things been displayed? 


26 Feb 2015 11:05pm

It'll be interesting to see what sort of things are in the British Museum's collections. How often have the Aboriginal and Torres Strait things been displayed? 


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