This forum will be moderated by Professor Robyn Sloggett and will take the format of a panel discussion around provocations connected to Theft, Vandalism and Repatriation.
To ignore, dismiss or reject requests from indigenous peoples who seek the return of cultural objects that they require to assist in the processes of cultural renewal would suggest that museum professionals are more concerned with preserving artefacts than supporting communities in their efforts to perpetuate the distinct cultures, beliefs and practices that led to the creation of the artefacts. If the return of ceremonial objects can assist indigenous peoples in continuing or renewing the values and practices essential to their cultural and ceremonial life and can contribute to community healing as part of contemporary life, then the act of repatriation is surely the ultimate form of cultural preservation. (Simpson, Moira 2009 Museums and restorative justice: heritage, repatriation and cultural education Museum International No 241-242 Vol 61 No 1-2. Page 121 – 129. UNESCO Publishing and Blackwells Publishing Ltd.)
- Where do conservators fit in repatriation processes?
- Repatriation is going to empty our museums!
- Finders keepers – why should museums have to look after something that’s only going to be returned?
- What does it mean for communities if conservators do not properly engage in repatriation?
- Leading to the question – so what does it then mean for repatriation to be done properly?
Thursday 16 September 2021
Professor Robyn Sloggett AM is the Cripps Foundation Chair in Cultural Materials Conservation and Director of the Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation at the University of Melbourne. Her research interests include attribution and authentication of Australian paintings, the investigation of the materials and techniques of artists collection development and history, and the preservation of cultural materials held in Australian Indigenous communities.
Dr Lyndon Ormond Parker is Senior Research Fellow and expert on indigenous cultural heritage Dr Lyndon Ormond-Parker of Alyawarra descent and Honorary Senior Lecturer, Centre for Heritage and Museum Studies, ANU, with expertise in the area of cultural heritage, materials conservation, and repatriation.
Dany Williams is a Dau’wai (stringy bark tree) Kau’bvai (Native Bee) man from the Northern Sunshine Coast section of the Mary River Watershed. I have spent many years working with senior elders from across Queensland in the field of cultural heritage, sacred site preservation and the preservation of ancestral remains and I am now the Repatriation Manager for Queensland Museum.
Dr Amber Aranui (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Tūwharetoa) is the former project lead for Ngākahu – National Repatriation Project, which supports New Zealand museums and iwi in the return of ancestral remains held in museums collections. She is a founding member and former chair of the New Zealand Repatriation Research Network, set up to assist repatriation researchers to work collaboratively with the aim of proactively returning ancestral remains back to iwi, hapū and other communities around the world. Amber has worked to develop the national policy on repatriation for the New Zealand museum sector. She is also working with her own iwi (tribal group) on repatriation initiatives relating to the return of taonga (objects of cultural significance).