‘Daily detritus’ as Cultural Heritage

Our next Cultural Heritage seminar will be given by Dr Sarah Hayes from Deakin University. 

Historical archaeology in Australia is primarily driven by cultural heritage management in response to heritage legislation. The result: vast collections of broken ceramics, bottle glass and other daily detritus from long ago carefully conserved and housed in corflute boxes in repositories, museums and archaeologists’ sheds. They are preserved for posterity and these ever growing collections will be housed in perpetuity. This seminar will explore the limitations and potentials of such collections as a heritage resource (in contrast to a research resource). Drawing on the Sarah’s current research into quality of life in the Gold Rush era, it will argue for the role of storytelling through site tours, museum displays and beyond in enhancing the heritage value of the collections. And there will be stories. Stories of everyday Victorians and the material trajectories of their lives in a time of great upheaval.

Read more of Sarah’s work at http://www.deakin.edu.au/about-deakin/people/sarah-hayes  

Free of Charge – all welcome

Date: Thursday 30 August 2018

Time: 5.00pm – 6 pm

Venue: Deakin Downtown, 727 Collins St, Tower 2, Level 12

Venue Tip: Deakin’s city centre campus is between Southern Cross Station and Docklands, on tram routes 11 and 48 (Stop D15).  Entry is via Tower Two.  The reception desk directs you to an escalator to a bank of lifts and ‘Deakin Downtown’ is on Level 12.


For further enquiries:

Steven Cooke: steven.cooke@deakin.edu.au

Andrea Witcomb on ‘Collecting the West’

Please join us for our July Cultural Heritage Seminar where Andrea Witcomb will talk about ‘Collecting the West’ 

‘Collecting the West’ is an Australian Research Council funded research project that looks at what’s been collected from Western Australia with a particular focus on collecting practices. This focus enables exploration of the role of collections in identity formation, place making and the production of knowledge. The project’s time span, which reaches as far back as the 1600s and as recently as the present, also locates these collecting practices with the contexts of imperialism, colonialism and the development of State based identities as well as across disciplinary divides. The project is a collaboration between academics and the state’s leading collecting institutions – the Western Australian Museum, the State Library of Western Australia and the Art Gallery of Western Australia, together with an international partner the British Museum – to create a new vision for collecting and display.

In this paper, Andrea Witcomb will talk about the discovery of five photographs in 2018 in the State Library of Western Australia which led to the discovery of a forgotten private museum housing the collection of Captain Matthew McVicker-Smyth in early 20th century Perth. Captain Smyth was responsible for the selling of Nobel explosives used by agriculture and the mining industry. The museum contained mineral specimens in cases alongside extensive, aesthetically organised displays of Australian Aboriginal artifacts, amidst a wide variety of ornaments and decorative paintings. The museum reflects a moment in the history of colonialism that reminds us today of forms of dispossession, of how Aboriginal people were categorised in Australia by Western worldviews, and the ways that collectors operated. The research brings back into existence a significant Western Australian museum and opens up a new discussion of how such private collections came into existence and what their legacy might be today.

Professor Andrea Witcomb
Wednesday 25 July 2018
Date: Wednesday 25 July, 2018
Time: 5.30pm – 6.30pm (please note later start time)
Venue: Deakin Downtown, 727 Collins St, Tower 2, Level 12

Free of charge, all welcome. Bookings not required.

My visit to Australia: Juggling research, networking and traveling

 Anna Dontcova, a PhD student from BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, in Germany, shares her experience of a 3-month research stay at Deakin University and her visits to the historic city of Ballarat

Anna takes part in the Imagine Ballarat East consultation workshop

Three months in Australia flew quickly. There was plenty to do: to get to know Deakin University and its academic staff, to take part in seminars designed for Arts and Education research students, to conduct my field research on implementation of UNESCO Historic Urban Landscape approach in Ballarat and at the same time to enjoy life in vibrant Melbourne and to see the  beautiful nature of Victoria.

It was not an easy task but I am happy I have managed to combine all these activities and significantly progress in my research in community involvement in urban heritage management.

In Ballarat I had a chance to observe several community workshops and to conduct numerous interviews with the City Council, the Mayor and Ballarat active citizens. Back in Germany I will compare the collected data to a German case study in order to find out what benefits HUL approach brings to community participation in heritage management.

I would like to specially thank Steve Cooke and Kristal Buckley from Deakin, as well as Susan Fayad and her team from the City Council of Ballarat for their warm welcome and generous support of my PhD research.