Researcher of the month
Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies team
For July 2010 the Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies team have been nominated as Faculty Researchers of the Month in recognition of their outstanding contribution in research within the School of History Heritage and Society.
The Cultural Heritage Centre for Asia and the Pacific (CHCAP) is considered the leading centre for cultural heritage and museum studies research in Australia and is a leading force for research and research training in the Asia-Pacific region. With the recent merge of CHCAP with the Centre for Memory, Imagination and Invention (CMII), there have been some added opportunities for the Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies team, with research funding available for the next three years at least. Collaborative research on new projects with a range of researchers, which was not possible before, has expanded the research opportunities for the team.
The Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies group have worked on some significant projects so far. With CHCAP placing a strong emphasis on research in the Asia-Pacific region, it is exciting that two new ARC Discovery Grants have been funded: Australian Heritage Abroad: Managing Australia’s Extraterritorial War Heritage (Prof WS Logan; Prof JE Beaumont; A/Prof A Witcomb; Dr B Ziino) and Vietnam: heritage of a nation (Prof WS Logan; Dr CD Long).
It is worth mentioning some of the other projects the various members of the Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies team have been working on:
Professor Bill Logan, the UNESCO Chair of Cultural Heritage, was invited to participate in a small group meeting convened at ICCROM in Rome on 20-21 May to develop a global strategy for building the capacity of managers of World Heritage sites through training and other means. Bill has also been invited to be a Resource Person at a week-long research development workshop at the Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Anthropology Centre in Bangkok from 21-26 June. The theme of the workshop is ‘Culture and Rights in Thailand’, a topic that has some urgency given recent events in that country. He will present a paper entitled ‘Cultural Diversity, Heritage and Human Rights: Challenges facing Thailand, Asia and the World’ and work with the Centre’s staff and postgraduate students in developing their research projects.
The Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, is celebrating its 1,000th birthday in October 2010. As part of the celebration the Vietnamese government is republishing a collection of 100 books about Hanoi. One of these is Bill Logan’s book Hanoi; Biography of a City (UNSW Press/U Washington Press, 2000). It is being translated into Vietnamese, making it available to a broad Vietnamese readership for the first time. It is the only foreign book in the collection.
Jonathan Sweet received a UNESCO Research Grant US$15,000 for a pilot research program to develop collections management training for Buddhist Monks in Northern Thailand. A CHCAP team lead by Jonathan Sweet was partnered with the Chiang Mai University, Fine Arts Department, and UNESCO Bangkok. The pilot program which ran from 16 – 21 June 2009 was part of a research project conducted to chart priorities within the UNESCO Museums Program in the Asia-Pacific Region. Jonathan provided support for this research project and prepared the final report in association with UNESCO.
A/Prof Michele Langfield and A/Prof Andrea Witcomb have continued their nationally and internationally important work on the testimony of Jewish Holocaust survivors, with several publications and conference presentations.
In 2009, Dr Linda Young piloted a test of the Victorian Historic Themes Framework on community collections in the Central Goldfields, assessed movable cultural heritage items in properties belonging to or used by Australian Customs and Border Security, developed a management policy for them and conducted a significant assessment of the building and object collection at Old Gippstown Historic Village in Moe. Linda is also part of a team based at La Trobe University that won an ARC Discovery Grant: Suburban archaeology: approaching an archaeology of the middle class in 19th century Melbourne.
Dr Colin Long and Prof William Logan undertook a consultancy for UNESCO’s Hanoi Office, advising the Hanoi People’s Committee on writing the Thang Long-Hanoi Citadel World Heritage nomination dossier in January 2009. The dossier was later submitted to the World Heritage Committee in Paris.
Dr Joost Cote was successful in applying to fund an international three-day workshop in Surabaya in January 2010 entitled: An anthropological-historical enquiry into the state, social inequality, and urban space.
In addition to the projects mentioned above, a number of the team members attended the Cultural Heritage and War workshop in Germany from 22 – 27 October 2009 to discuss a diverse series of case studies on issues of managing and interpreting war-related heritage sites across the globe.
There is a significant focus on providing training in the management of heritage resources within CHCAP, with the centre hosting the eighth annual Introduction to Museum Practice course for Army Museum Managers, curators and volunteers at the Burwood campus. The week-long course included lectures in collections management, exhibition planning, visitor evaluation and marketing. Participants also developed case study scenarios and visited military and non-military museums.
The Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies team all have a strong focus on developing their research possibilities further and work well together to achieve the best possible outcomes in research. They work on various projects throughout the year, many of which are not mentioned, which have been instrumental in advancing the educational capacity of the School.