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The reconnection of collection material to communities may foster cultural continuity and revitalise culture and cultural practices through exposure of collection material, providing the opportunity for Islanders to determine respectfully how this material can be re-woven back into our Islander worldview.
A portrait photo of John Morseu

Cultural affiliations/language group: Tamwoy Reserve (Waiben/ Thursday Island), Badu, Erub, Mer, Mabuiag and Masig islands — Meriam & Mabuyag

Community focus: Torres Strait Islander communities QLD and TSI community members in Canberra, ACT

Position: Access Officer and Reference Librarian

Employer: Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS)

Interests: Collections management and research, conservation, repatriation — all kinds with emphasis on digital content

Mentor: TBC


John Morseu is a Torres Strait Islander currently residing in Canberra, with family lineage to Badu, Erub, Mer, Mabuiag and Masig islands.

John is employed at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) as the Access Officer and Reference Librarian. John is also heavily involved with the ACT Torres Strait Islander community, namely the Kara Buai Torres Strait Islander Corporation. While working at the National Library of Australia, John contributed to the ‘Old TI’ research guide, which provides Torres Strait Islanders and others with access to and information about Torres Strait collection material held in the National Library and other collecting institutions.

John aspires to re-weave Torres Strait collection material back into the worldviews and practices of both Torres Strait and diaspora communities across the country, and to revitalise and enhance understanding of the cultural and social identity of the Torres Strait.


‘A community project that I would like to develop is establishing a professional partnership with Gab Titui Cultural Centre staff whereby the Torres Strait Islander Collection material held at AIATSIS can be digitally provided back to the centre to be used in exhibitions and reconnecting back to Islanders to provide metadata about orphaned material and material about which little is known. I would also like to utilise the Kara Buai Torres Strait Islander Corporation, based in the ACT, to develop the cultural artistic and creative expression of dance and regalia, by learning from networks that can be established through this project.

My project will have the opportunity to educate regional and diaspora Torres Strait Islander communities about AIATSIS collection material, as well as provide an opportunity for Islanders to contribute to the informed metadata of collection material.’

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