Cultural Heritage Asia–Pacific Group

Our group specialises in the fields of museum and heritage studies with a special focus on the Asia–Pacific region. Our work explores the idea that heritage, in making use of the past in the present, is central to how we shape the future.


Our work

Our work shows that heritage practices set up encounters that help to shape our understandings of ourselves and others and, in so doing, frame relations between us.

Our work seeks to:

  • establish a conversation between scholarship on museums and heritage as a phenomena worthy of study with the concerns and issues emerging from the world of museum and heritage practices themselves
  • engage in applied research through partnerships with industry collaborators
  • work with an understanding of cultural heritage that incorporates a variety of expressions ranging from the built environment to the material world of objects, cultural landscapes and intangible heritage
  • engage with a spectrum of organisations from museums to heritage places, governmental and international agencies as well as NGOs
  • tackle issues concerning the practices of collecting, interpretation, conservation and management
  • cover a range of geographical areas, with a special interest in cultural heritage issues emerging from Australia and the greater Asian and Pacific regions. Of special interest are issues concerning:
    • the encounter between modernity and traditional societies
    • the impact of colonisation and decolonisation on the development of heritage consciousness and practice
    • the clash between different knowledge regimes and the interpretation of heritage places and objects
    • the growing understanding that heritage involves emotional responses to places, people and objects.

Our members

Our group has built up an impressive track record of collaboration with industry bodies and organisations across the museum and heritage sector, both in Australia and in the Asian region.

Our research themes

Heritage in times of rapid transformation

Our theme considers the various economic, social and political roles that heritage plays in times of rapid transformation. We identify the ways in which heritage is a resource for communities undergoing extensive forms of transformation such as:

  • modernisation
  • the rise of democracy in formerly authoritarian societies
  • post-war reconstruction
  • the development of multicultural societies under the impact of globalisation and consequent mass migration
  • urban development pressures
  • changing economic structures.

Across the world, heritage plays a significant economic, social and political role in nation, city and community construction and transformation.

Dealing with difficult pasts

Our focus in this theme is to understand the role that the increasing association of heritage with identity and with memory plays in people's everyday lives. Whether in the shape of a memory boom, Truth and Reconciliation Commissions or claims to heritage based on human rights discourses. 

We are analysing the various ways in which museums, heritage places, landscapes and intangible heritage practices are sites of contestation, negotiation and remembrance for nations as well as for specific community groups and individuals. In so doing, we observe the emotional landscapes that help to shape relations between people.

Staging cross-cultural encounters

In this theme we are concerned with understanding the multiple ways in which heritage practices produce cross-cultural encounters. Our focus is on the overlap of museums and heritage places with the histories of colonial encounters, mass migrations and the emergence of culturally diverse societies. 

We are interested in asking: 

  • how these processes have shaped collecting practices in settler societies and in former colonies of European Empires in the Asia–Pacific region 
  • what role exhibition and interpretation practices play in staging cross-cultural encounters 
  • how this role is made manifest though specific kinds of curatorial strategies.

Study with us

Join us in the diverse and exciting heritage sector. If you have an interest in working with objects and collections, managing a museum or heritage place, or protecting significant sites, landscapes or intangible cultural heritage, our postgraduate qualification in cultural heritage and museum studies will equip you for this career path.

Find out more about our postgraduate studies

Visit our blog

Culturalheritage@Deakin brings together the latest news on teaching and research related to cultural heritage and museum studies at Deakin.

Read more at Culturalheritage@Deakin

Contact us

For more information, please contact the institute.

Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation (ADI)
+61 3 9244 6658
Email ADI