Deakin’s story in 9 Objects?

Deakin has some amazing cultural collections, and we have been working with our university archives, library and art gallery colleagues over the last year to think of ways to showcase our collections and to give our students valuable ‘real world’ experiences.  Given it’s almost 40 years since the first students graduated from Deakin, we decided to explore ways in which we could tell the history of our university through those cultural collections.

The result is ‘Deakin in 9 Objects’: a collaboration between Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies, Film and Television Studies, The Deakin Art Gallery, University Archives and the University Library.  The university has committed to supporting the project with six paid internships for Deakin students.  Students will be paired across disciplines to create short audiovisual interpretations of significant artefacts from the University’s cultural collections, resulting in nine stories in total. Together, these nine objects and their filmed representations will tell the story of student life across Deakin’s campuses and its antecedent institutions.  We hope that these will eventually be pulled together on one website, where everyone can see their creative responses and learning about Deakin’s history. 

Over the next two trimesters, six students (three from the cultural heritage and museums studies postgraduate program and three from Film and Television studies) will work together in pairs.  Dave Tredinnick, Collections Coordinator in the Deakin University Archives has been leading the project:  “Now that our interns have started work, it’s great to see how quickly they have responded creatively and intellectually to the chosen archival objects. I’m really looking forward to seeing how they take on the challenge of expressing these ideas in a short film format.”

The first interns – Maruan and Pravin –  started in the Uni archives last week and are thinking about the objects and their creative response to them.  

“Deakin in 9 Objects interns Marian Jenkinson and Pravin Rokaya holding one of their ‘objects’, Deakin University Archive, Burwood”





Asked about their first day they responded: “Overwhelmed, anxious, nostalgic – these are some of the feelings washing over us as we start this project. We’re curious as to where this project will take us as we mull over ideas- rejecting some, laughing at some – and very aware of how much work we have ahead of us”: feelings many of us have experienced when we start a new project!

 Another object under consideration is the video from our very first graduation – and we are really looking forward to seeing the creative response!

Still from video footage of First Graduation Ceremony, May 1978 – one of the artefacts under consideration.”




Merging Tactile Experiences with Virtual Reality in Museums: Bringing Little Leaellynasaura from the Otways to Life

Our next cultural heritage seminar will be a presentation by Kaja Antlej, Ben Horan (Deakin University) and Georgia Melville (National Wool Museum), on “Merging Tactile Experiences with Virtual Reality in Museums: Bringing Little Leaellynasaura from the Otways to Life”.

For centuries, museums have been using tactile copies to better engage visitors with their collections. Digital technologies provide a whole new perspective for storytelling in museums, but often lack a tactile experience that enables closer connection with objects. Deakin University is working together with palaeontologist Professor Pat Vickers-Rich and the National Wool Museum to investigate merging physical exhibits with virtual environments. As a case study, a wallaby-size dinosaur from Otway, Leaellynasaura, is used to explore engaging ways of interpreting heritage in museums through virtual reality, augmented realty and 3D printing.

For more about the project, please see:



Date: Wednesday 19 July 2017

Time: 5.00pm

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

Venue Tip: Deakin’s new 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.

Free of charge.  All welcome. No bookings required.

International Museums Day student essay competition

Deakin University joined with ICOM Australia to conduct the inaugural International Museums Day (IMD) student essay competition.

Students undertaking the subject Museums, Heritage and Society contributed essays on the 2107 International Museums Day theme of Museums and contested histories: Saying the unspeakable in museums.

The winner was chosen from amongst a short list assessed by Deakin University and then forwarded to an ICOM sub-committee, who were charged with selecting the winner. This committee was made up of a representative from each of the National Museum of Australia, Museums Victoria and the Western Australian Museum.

The winner is Justin Croft. The committee commented that: ‘We felt he had a good writing style, argued well, included his own observations and chose a suitable topic for a paper of this length.’

Of the other six shortlisted essays, the chair of the committee wrote:

‘Broadly we felt that all the students had selected very strong topics, and that each essay reflected an impressive effort, particularly in terms of extensive secondary sources. It would be great to see each develop their ideas further. We noted that most would have benefited from the incorporation of more of their own voices and opinions (the sort of courage that comes from experience); more recent references would have been helpful in some cases. Please pass on our thanks and congratulations to the short-listed students. I think all show considerable promise!’

Congratulations to Justin Croft and to all the short-listed students; and thanks to Dr Jonathan Sweet for organising everything for Deakin’s participation. 

Justin’s essay is now available to read on the ICOM Australia website:
 ICOM essay competition winner