Dr Helena Robinson

BA (Sydney), MA (Sydney)
Lecturer, Museum Studies

F02 - Baxter's Lodge
The University of Sydney


Curriculum vitae Curriculum vitae

Biographical details

Helena Robinson is a Museum Studies researcher and lecturer. She has taught extensively within the postgraduate Master of Museum and Heritage Studies programme at the University of Sydney. In 2019 she accepted a newly created role for the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education), teaching into the undergraduate Industry and Community Project Units (ICPU), which emphasise interdisciplinary complex problem-solving.

Helena's museum-focused research explores intersections between processes of meaning-making in museums and broader cultural and public policy frameworks. Her recent publications investigate cultural democracy and the practice of stakeholder participation in curatorial projects. She has a continuing research interest in the convergence of galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAM), focussing on the impact of integrated institutional structures on the interpretation of museum collections.

In conjunction with her academic roles, Helena has worked in curatorial, collection management and museum education roles across social history and art history collections. Her professional experience, coupled with her work as a reviewer for the Museums & Galleries NSW Standards Program, ensures that her research and teaching remain grounded in practice and responsive to real-world issues in the museum sector.

Research interests

  • Convergence of museums, galleries, libraries and archives
  • Theories of interpretation in museums and heritage
  • Museums and Local Government
  • Cultural democracy and participation in the contemporary museum
  • Cultural policy
  • Museums and digital culture
  • Theory and practice of Higher Education teaching

Current research students

Project title Research student
Analyzing Audiences Participation Wenwen BAI

Current projects

  • Collection Interpretation in the Hybrid Museum
    This is a book project due for publication by RoutledgeMuseums in Focusin 2019. The book takes a microscope to the recent trend for converged (integrated) collecting institutions and explores its consequences for collections through case studies in Australia and New Zealand.
  • The Municipalisation of Culture: Cultural Policy, Local Government and Museums
    Research investigating how cultural policy agendas, funding and management structures affect the capacity of museums to interpret cultural collections. This project combines analysis of government policy, parliamentary inquiries, cultural planning documents and interviews with museum workers. It extends research into the convergence (integration) of museums, libraries, archives and galleries by exploring contemporary curatorial practices, collection management and audience development strategies through the lens of ‘interpretive sustainability’.
  • Participation, Cultural Democracy and the 21stCentury Museum
    This research responds to the current audience-driven emphasis on pluralism, inclusion and civic responsibility in museum theory and practice. In the context of social and economic policy agendas, participatory museology emphasises the role of museums in developing civic competence and encouraging productive citizenship. But does participatory museum practice represent a genuine pathway to cultural democracy, and where do collections figure in this project? This project forges new connections between the fields of democratic theory and museums studies.

Associations

  • Committee Member, Museums & Galleries NSW Standards Review Program.

Awards and honours

  • 2014 FASS Teaching Fellow, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Sydney.

PhD and master's project opportunities

Selected grants

2019

  • Archaeology, collections and Australian South Sea Islander lived identities; Flexner J, Robinson H; Australian Research Council (ARC)/Linkage Projects (LP).

2018

  • Developing Authentic, Responsive, and Flexible Seminars - Museum and Heritage Studies; O'Reilly C, Barker C, Robinson H, Lawrenson A, Flexner J; DVC Education/Large Educational Innovation Grant.

Selected publications & creative works

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Books

  • Robinson, H. (2019). Interpreting objects in the hybrid museum: Convergence, collections and cultural policy. Abingdon: Routledge. [More Information]

Book Chapters

  • Cameron, F., Robinson, H. (2007). Digital Knowledgescapes: Cultural, Theoretical, Practical and Usage Issues Facing Museum Collection Databases in a Digital Epoch. In Fiona Cameron and Sarah Kenderdine (Eds.), Theorizing Digital Cultural Heritage: A Critical Discourse. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. [More Information]

Journals

  • Robinson, H. (2018). Cultural policy, local government and museums: An Australian perspective. Local Government Studies, 44(5), 719-738. [More Information]
  • Robinson, H. (2018). Curating Convergence: Interpreting museum objects in integrated collecting institutions. The International Journal of Cultural Policy, 24(4), 520-538. [More Information]
  • Robinson, H. (2017). Encountering complexity: debates around cultural democracy and participation. International Journal of Heritage Studies, 23(9), 899-903. [More Information]
  • Robinson, H. (2017). Is Cultural Democracy Possible in a Museum? Critical Reflections on Indigenous Engagement in the Development of the Exhibition 'Encounters: Revealing Stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Objects from the British Museum'. International Journal of Heritage Studies, 23(9), 860-874. [More Information]
  • Robinson, H. (2016). 'A lot of people going that extra mile': professional collaboration and cross-disciplinarity in converged collecting institutions. Museum Management and Curatorship, 31(2), 141-158. [More Information]
  • Robinson, H. (2014). Knowledge Utopias: An Epistemological Perspective on the Convergence of Museums, Libraries and Archives. Museum & Society, 12(2), 210-224. [More Information]
  • Robinson, H. (2012). Remembering things differently: Museums, libraries and archives as memory institutions and the implications for convergence. Museum Management and Curatorship, 27(4), 413-429. [More Information]

Textual Creative Works

  • Robinson, H. (2001). Biography of J.M.W. Turner. William Turner: Licht und Farbe, Cologne, Germany: DuMont.

Other

  • Robinson, H., Cameron, F. (2003), Knowledge Objects: Multidisciplinary Approaches in Museum Collections Documentation [unpublished manuscript].

2019

  • Robinson, H. (2019). Interpreting objects in the hybrid museum: Convergence, collections and cultural policy. Abingdon: Routledge. [More Information]

2018

  • Robinson, H. (2018). Cultural policy, local government and museums: An Australian perspective. Local Government Studies, 44(5), 719-738. [More Information]
  • Robinson, H. (2018). Curating Convergence: Interpreting museum objects in integrated collecting institutions. The International Journal of Cultural Policy, 24(4), 520-538. [More Information]

2017

  • Robinson, H. (2017). Encountering complexity: debates around cultural democracy and participation. International Journal of Heritage Studies, 23(9), 899-903. [More Information]
  • Robinson, H. (2017). Is Cultural Democracy Possible in a Museum? Critical Reflections on Indigenous Engagement in the Development of the Exhibition 'Encounters: Revealing Stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Objects from the British Museum'. International Journal of Heritage Studies, 23(9), 860-874. [More Information]

2016

  • Robinson, H. (2016). 'A lot of people going that extra mile': professional collaboration and cross-disciplinarity in converged collecting institutions. Museum Management and Curatorship, 31(2), 141-158. [More Information]

2014

  • Robinson, H. (2014). Knowledge Utopias: An Epistemological Perspective on the Convergence of Museums, Libraries and Archives. Museum & Society, 12(2), 210-224. [More Information]

2012

  • Robinson, H. (2012). Remembering things differently: Museums, libraries and archives as memory institutions and the implications for convergence. Museum Management and Curatorship, 27(4), 413-429. [More Information]

2007

  • Cameron, F., Robinson, H. (2007). Digital Knowledgescapes: Cultural, Theoretical, Practical and Usage Issues Facing Museum Collection Databases in a Digital Epoch. In Fiona Cameron and Sarah Kenderdine (Eds.), Theorizing Digital Cultural Heritage: A Critical Discourse. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. [More Information]

2003

  • Robinson, H., Cameron, F. (2003), Knowledge Objects: Multidisciplinary Approaches in Museum Collections Documentation [unpublished manuscript].

2001

  • Robinson, H. (2001). Biography of J.M.W. Turner. William Turner: Licht und Farbe, Cologne, Germany: DuMont.

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