Engaging with Creator Communities: The Way Forward for Museums

By Les Christidis, Vinod Daniel, Paul Monaghan, Yvonne Carrillo-Huffman and Kirk Huffman.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The Australian Museum has one of the world’s largest and most significant Melanesian collections with particular strengths in cultural material from Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. One of the prime goals of the Australian Museum is to develop new ways of unlocking these collections. The aim is to provide increased access and engagement with the creator communities, in order to rejuvenate the traditional arts of creator communities, while at the same time documenting and preserving the intangible knowledge linked to the cultural material. As part of this initiative the Australian Museum has instigated a program whereby cultural leaders from Pacific Island Communities visit the collections to add their stories and take back relevant information and images. Two examples are described here. The first details visits by Chief Jerry Taki and Ms. Sophie Nemban from the island of Erromango in Vanuatu. The visits focused on the Erromangan men’s and women’s cultural material held at the museum. Several aspects of this long term project including the rejuvenation of traditional bark-cloth as well as the enrichment of intangible heritage information associated with the museum collections are described. The second example relates to the visit by Mr. Lawrence Foana’ota a cultural leader from the Solomon Islands and how this has led to a digital repatriation and community engagement project in the Solomon Islands.

Keywords: Intangible Cultural Heritage, Creator Communities, Vanuatu

International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp.1-6. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 528.666KB).

Dr. Les Christidis

Assistant Director and Division Head, Research and Collections, Australian Museum, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Dr. Les Christidis is the Assistant Director and Head of Research and Collections at the Australian Museum. The author of 3 books and over 100 scientific publications, his primary research has been in the field of evolutionary genetics of birds, in which he is an international authority. Over the past 4 years he has initiated several culturally-based projects at the Australian Museum. One of these is linking intangible cultural heritage with museum artefacts through developing web and other electronic methods that creator cmmunities can acces and interact with.

Vinod Daniel

Australian Museum, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Vinod Daniel is the Head, Cultural Heritage and Science Initiatives Branch, Australian Museum. He is also the Chairman of AusHeritage (Australia’s International Cultural Heritage Network) and a Board Member of the Australia India Council (Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade). Vinod has a very strong interest and expertise in preservation and management of culture heritage and has published or presented over 50 papers dealing with conservation and cultural heritage issues.

Dr. Paul Monaghan

Australian Museum, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Dr. Paul Monaghan is a linguist-anthropologist who is the Project Manager, Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Anthropology and Culture Unit, Australian Museum. In recent years, he has undertaken a number of language and culture revitalization projects in the Australia-Pacific region.

Yvonne Carrillo-Huffman

Australian Museum, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Yvonne Carrillo-Huffman is a Technical Officer, Pacific Collections in the Anthropology and Culture Unit. Australian Museum. Her main focus of interest is identity, cultural revivalism and contemporary reinterpretation of cultural collections. She has been responsible for initiating and working with cultural reawakening projects in partnership with Pacific Island Communities living in Sydney and the Pacific region. Yvonne has presented a number of papers at conferences and symposiums.

Kirk Huffman

Australian Museum, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Kirk Huffman is an ethnologist and anthropologist specialising in the ‘art’, ritual and material culture of Vanuatu. He has published and lectured widely, and has helped produce numerous cultural radio and television programmes. He is currently Honorary Curator, Vanuatu Cultural Centre; Member, Scientific Committee, Museum of Tahiti and the Islands; Trustee, Pacific Islands Museums Association; Research Associate, Australian Museum and an Honorary Associate, Macleay Museum, University of Sydney.

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