• Offered by School of Archaeology and Anthropology
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Museum and Collection
  • Areas of interest Anthropology, Art History, Museums and Collections, Digital Humanities, Heritage Studies
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Jilda Andrews
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Spring Session 2020
    See Future Offerings

This course focuses on theoretical and practical issues relating to indigenous collections and exhibitions, drawing its interdisciplinary approach and methodology from the fields of anthropology and cultural studies as well as museum studies. This allows students to develop a critical understanding of the creation, function, histories, politics and contemporary meanings of objects; the representation of cultures in museum displays and other public venues; shifting relations between source communities and museum; problems of landscape, place, and space; art and aesthetics; visual anthropology; and issues of representation, including photographic representation.

The specific emphasis is on collections and exhibitions relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples that are held or displayed in Australia or overseas, but specific attention is also given to other ethnographic and historical collections and displays. Issues examined during the course include the history of collecting and exhibitions, community representation, ownership and intellectual property, repatriation, negotiation, preservation, and modes of display.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
1. Interpret institutional, agency and government policies and frameworks pertaining to Indigenous collections and consultation with Indigenous and other communities;
2. Conceptualise the main issues pertaining to the representation, preservation, ownership and intellectual property of traditional knowledge and cultural objects, including repatriation;
3. Evaluate the representation of Indigenous individuals and communities in museums and other exhibition contexts;
4. Conduct primary research into Indigenous collections including effective written and verbal communication; and
5. Model best practice and engage in ethical and sensitive processes appropriate to the diversity of constituents and communities  in cross-cultural museum contexts.

Indicative Assessment

Forum discussion, 1000 words (15%) [Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3]
Object Case Study Presentation,10 minutes with 5 minutes discussion and associated documentation, 1500 words (35%) [Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4]
Critical Essay, 2500 words (50%) [Learning Outcomes 2, 3, 4, 5]

In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle. 

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130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact over a one-week intensive made up of lectures, visits to museums in Canberra, seminars and/or workshops; and
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Preliminary Reading

Kreps, Christina F. (2003), Liberating Culture: Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Museums, Curation and Heritage Preservation, London and New York: Routledge.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $3570
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $5460
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Spring Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
9269 01 Oct 2020 23 Oct 2020 23 Oct 2020 31 Dec 2020 In Person N/A

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