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Twitter Q&A with #NMAEncounters curators
The Museum’s latest exhibition, Encounters: Revealing Stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Objects from the British Museum, raises many important topics for discussion and debate.
On Monday 30 November 2015 the curators of Encounters, Patricia Williamson, Ian Coates and Jay Arthur, participated in an online Twitter Q&A about this ground-breaking project and the important issues that it raises.
About the curators
Pat is the newly appointed Head of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Program (ATSIP) at the National Museum of Australia. Pat is an Indigenous woman from north-west Queensland with extensive experience in Indigenous community consultations, and has previously worked in museums, Aboriginal cultural centres and government departments. Pat began working on the Encounters project in October 2014 as a Senior Project Officer, focusing on strategies for the project’s Indigenous community engagement.
In the last 12 months, Pat has been heavily involved in the consultation process to enable communities to visit the National Museum in Canberra. As the Head of ATSIP, Pat will continue to maintain a strong focus on the importance of Indigenous community engagement in the work of the Museum.
Dr Ian Coates
Ian is the Head of the Museum’s Collections Development Unit, and is co-lead curator on the Encounters project. Ian has undertaken research in many museums in Australia, the UK and northern Europe, with a focus on investigating the histories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander material held in museums throughout the world.
Ian has completed many exhibition and research projects, often with a strong element of local community engagement. The most recent is the Encounters exhibition collaboration between the National Museum of Australia and the British Museum. The intersection between Indigenous and colonial histories, and the potential of museum collections to inform new colonial narratives, remains a key research passion.
Dr Jay Arthur
Jay is a Senior Curator in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Program. She has curated two major exhibitions at the National Museum of Australia before coming to work on the Encounters project, which she is co-curating with Ian Coates. Jay’s interest has been to tell stories that have not been previously included in our national story, as well as stories that have been forgotten or ignored. Jay is also committed to ensuring that owners of stories have a strong voice within an exhibition. Since 2012, Jay has worked closely with Indigenous communities across Australia to connect them with objects in the Encounters exhibition and document their reflections on the project.