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A/Prof. Andrea Witcomb
|Area||Alfred Deakin Research Institute|
|Phone||+61 3 925 17232|
|Role and profile||
Andrea is an Associate Professor (Research) in the fields of cultural heritage and museology. She is the Deputy Director for the Alfred Deakin Research institute and the Director of the Cultural Heritage Centre for Asia and the Pacific.
Andrea graduated with a PhD in Media and Communication Studies from Central Queensland University in 1997(her dissertation looked at the Australian National Maritime Museum and situated it within emerging practices in the new museology). She has a Graduate Diploma in Museum Studies and an Honours Degree in History from the University of Sydney. She worked as a social history curator in the lead up to the opening of the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney and then at the National Museum of Australia. After completing her PhD she took up a lectureship in cultural heritage at the Research Institute for Cultural Heritage at Curtin University in Perth in 1996. She was promoted to a Senior Lecturer in 2000 and took up her present appointment as an Associate Professor in Deakin in late 2006. She is the author of Re-Imagining the Museum: Beyond the Mausoleum (Routledge, 2003) and with Chris Healy, the co-editor of South Pacific Museums: An Experiment in Culture (Monash e-press, 2006). Her latest book, co-written with Dr Kate Gregory is From the Barracks to the Burrup: The National Trust in Western Australia (University of NSW Press, 2010).
Andrea has a number of roles which include leading the continued development of cultural heritage and museological research at Deakin University, supporting the development of the Alfred Deakin Research Institute as a major flagship institution at Deakin University and teaching responsibilities.
|Teaching responsibilities||Andrea teaches AIM 727 (Exhibitions) and AIM 715(Virtual Heritage)|
Andrea's research interests range across the museum and heritage fields and are informed by theoretical, historical and professional practice concerns. She brings an interdisciplinary approach to her research, locating her work at the intersection of history, museology and cultural studies. Her interests include
1) Theorising museum practice using cultural studies approaches to the study of exhibitions and the policy discourses that surround them.
2) Embedding these within an awareness of institutional practices and ethos, that is speaking from practice up to theoretical debates rather than the other way round.
3) Focussing on relations between museums and communities.
4) Focussing on the concept of interactivity, using this to understand the impact of current media culture on exhibition design and interpretation practices.
Her contribution to theorizing museums has been to create a parallel space to the ‘governmentality’ approach informed by the work of Michel Foucault. She has developed an argument for museums as dialogic spaces which use a variety of interpretation strategies and curatorial practices to engage in conversation across difference. She has opened up a space in which museums can be thought of as spaces of potentiality rather than either hegemonic closure or consumed by instrumentalist forms of governmentality.
She has done this along two main axis – the first is through studies of relations between museums and communities where she has looked at the representation of migration and cultural diversity (Witcomb 1998, 2003, 2009)and at the ways in which local museums respond to governmentalist agendas (Witcomb and Mauldon 1996, Witcomb 2003). The other has been to analyse the ways in which contemporary media culture has influenced interpretation strategies, either by creating spaces in which visitors can insert themselves into the exhibitions (Witcomb 1994, 2003, 2007) or, more recently, by exploring the connection between the use of multimedia and spaces for cross-cultural communication – that is for attempts to bridge cultural difference rather than emphasising the separation between groups around identity. In this context Andrea is interested in exploring affective experiences in museums either through the use of multimedia (Witcomb 2007), the art of installation (Witcomb and Gregory 2007) or through objects (2009).
|Current research projects||
Current research projects include:
1) The History of the Jewish Holocaust Museum and Research Centre (JHMRC), with Pam Mclean, A/Prof. Michele Langfield and Dr Linda Young.
2) An ARC funded project, Australian Heritage Abroad: Managing Australia's Extraterritorial War Heritage (DP1094418). Andrea is the lead CI on this project with Prof. William Logan from CHCAP, Dr Bart Ziino (Deakin) and Professor Joan Beaumont (ANU).
3)An ARC funded project, "Collecting institutions: cultural diversity and the making of citizenship in Australia since the 1970s" (DP120100594). Andrea is the lead CI with A/Prof. Kylie Message (ANU), Dr Ian Mcshane (Swinburne), and PIs Prof. Simon Knell (Leicester University, UK) and Prof. Arne Amundsen (University of Oslo).
4)'Museum Theory' a volume (co-editing with Dr Kylie Message from the ANU) that is part of a series of international handbooks of msueum studies commissioned by Blackwell. The general series is edited by Professor Sharon MacDonald and Dr Helen Rees Leahy.
5) A series of papers exploring the relationships between objects, exhibitions and affect.
|Service to the University,
discipline or community
Member, Faculty of Arts and Education Research Committee
Director, Cultural Heritage Centre for Asia and the Pacific
National Trust of Australia (Victoria), Collections Committee
Historians Special Interest Group Committee, Museums Australia
Member of editorial boards for the following Journals: International Journal of Cultural Studies (Sage); Museum and Society; International Journal of Heritage Studies (Routledge); Public History Review.
PhD, Central Queensland University, 1997.
Graduate Diploma in Museum Studies, The University of Sydney, 1991
Bachelor of Arts (Hons), The University of Sydney, 1987
International Cultural Studies Association
|Research link||View Deakin associated research data|