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Program overview

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Program overview

Barks, Birds & Billabongs: Exploring the Legacy of the 1948 American-Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land. 16-20 November 2009.

Symposium program

Sunday 15 November

Monday 16 November

  • Visit to Arnhem Land Expedition collections in Canberra for speakers and Indigenous community members (AIATSIS, National Library of Australia, National Museum of Australia Mitchell Store)
  • Welcome cocktail reception hosted by the Embassy of the United States of America for speakers, Indigenous community members and invited guests
  • Official symposium launch by the Governor-General, Ms Quentin Bryce AC. The launch included an address by Australian of the Year 2009 Professor Mick Dodson AM and a lecture by ABC Radio National Science Show presenter Robyn Williams AM on environmental and scientific change since 1948.

Tuesday 17 November

Wednesday 18 November

Thursday 19 November

Friday 20 November

Indigenous participation

There was substantial representation from the Indigenous communities touched by the Expedition. These included Yirrkala, Groote Eylandt, Gunbalanya and Milingimbi. A number of discussion panels provided a forum for Arnhem Landers to express their views and enable them to actively engage with the Expedition's findings and collections, as well as with presenters and attendees at the symposium. In this and other ways, the subjects of study in 1948 can today become the beneficiaries of the Expedition's legacy. Reconnecting communities with collections also represents a broader Museum priority in the Indigenous area.