Interviews and past lectures

In conversation series

Beginning in 2017 the Nicholson Museum began an In Conversation series, to we explore the life and work of prominent archaeologists who have helped shape the museum throughout their careers. Our first guest was Associate Professor Judy Birmingham in conversation with Dr Craig Barker; discussing a career spanning decades and encompassing the pre-historic through to the historic. Future interviews in this series, as well as all of our upcoming lectures, can be found on our events calendar.

A Life in Archaeology: In Conversation with Judy Birmingham

May 27 2017, Nicholson Museum

Associate Professor Judy Birmingham is a significant figure in the history of archaeology in Australia. She studied at the Institute of Archaeology in London under Sir Max Mallowan and undertook extensive fieldwork in the Middle East, Cyprus, Greece and Britain with some of the most famous and fascinating figures of 20th century archaeology. Beginning with the Near East, she went on to pioneer the development of Australian historical archaeology in the 1970s and 1980s, leading excavations at sites such as Irrawang, Wybalenna and Regentville.

Sharing memories of the resistance she overcame while developing Australian historical archaeology courses, Judy and Craig discussed what it was like to be the first female archaeological staff member at the University, and her involvement with the Nicholson and Macleay Museum collections over five decades.

Macleay Museum

Arts and Aboriginal Australia: decolonisation or reconciliation?

31 May 2017, Macleay Museum

In 2017, National Reconciliation Week commemorates two significant milestones in Australian history: 50 years since the 1967 referendum and 25 years since the Murray Island Land Case 'Mabo' Decision.

In those 50 years museums have slowly changed from exhibitions 'about' Indigenous peoples to exhibitions by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander curators. This year also marks 25 years of the University of Sydney’s own repatriation program, part of an International reconciliation between museums and colonised peoples.

As the University of Sydney embarks on the building of the new Chau Chak Wing Museum, we will continue to question how exhibitions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collections can engage all visitors meaningfully.

How can museums embed the diversity of knowledge and experience that these objects signify for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities today?

This panel session was chaired by Matt Poll, Curator Indigenous Heritage and Repatriation Project, Macleay Museum on 31 May 2017. Matt was joined by:

  • Sharni Jones, Manager of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collections at the Australian Museum
  • Stephen Gilchrist, Associate Lecturer Department of Art History, University of Sydney
  • Rodney Kelly, Gweagal activist for the repatriation of ancestral collections to Aboriginal ownership
  • Amanda Reynolds, Stella Stories artist, curator, cultural consultant and editor.

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