HDR Scholarship - Aboriginal Objects in the Art Museum

Applications now open. A PhD scholarship is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic 'Aboriginal objects in the art museum'.

Research topic

Aboriginal Objects in the Art Museum: histories, issues and exhibitions

This is an opportunity to work on an industry-based project researching historic Aboriginal collections of the National Gallery of Victoria. The student will have access to specialists with expertise in history and Museum Studies at Deakin University and research and collections resources at the NGV with behind-the-scenes access to carry out the research.

Project aim

The project will focus on how art museums in Australia engage with ‘ethnographic’ objects. A core part of the research will involve undertaking provenance and contextual research on one of the National Gallery of Victoria’s shield collections (comprising 66 objects), which come from mostly south-eastern Australia, but also some other locations in Australia and which were made largely in the nineteenth century. It will also examine histories of acquisition and exhibition by the NGV placing this within a broader interpretation of how Aboriginal objects collected in colonial times are being exhibited in other art museums in Australia. Research outcomes and consultation with relevant communities will provide data for new interpretations which incorporate First Nations’ perspectives.

Important dates

Applications close 5pm, Friday 30 June 2023


This scholarship is available over 3 years.

  • Stipend of $33,500 per annum tax exempt (2023 rate)
  • Relocation allowance of $500-1500 (for single to family) for students moving from interstate

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be a domestic candidate. Domestic includes candidates with Australian Citizenship, Australian Permanent Residency or New Zealand Citizenship.
  • meet Deakin's PhD entry requirements
  • be enrolling full time and hold an honours degree (first class) or an equivalent standard master's degree with a substantial research component.

Please refer to the research degree entry pathways page for further information.

Students and professionals in the fields of anthropology, history, art history, cultural heritage, museum studies, and related fields are encouraged to apply. Indigenous applicants are preferred however non-Indigenous applicants will also be welcomed.

How to apply

Please email a CV and cover letter to Tiffany Shellam. The CV should highlight your skills, education, publications and relevant work experience. If you are successful you will then be invited to submit a formal application.

Please apply using the expression of interest form


Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact A/Prof Tiffany Shellam

A/Prof Tiffany Shellam
Email A/Prof Tiffany Shellam