• Class Number 6462
  • Term Code 3270
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Jilda Andrews
    • Dr Anni Doyle Wawrzynczak
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 01/10/2022
  • Class End Date 31/12/2022
  • Census Date 21/10/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 21/10/2022
SELT Survey Results

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:

  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.

Field Trips

NGA field trip

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction: Indigenous Representation in Cultural Institutions intensive Online classes
2 Collection
3 Exhibition
4 Custodianship
5 International Examples and Special Collections

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Learning Outcomes
Participation in Online Discussion Forums 15 % 1, 3, 4
Case Study Presentation 35 % 2, 3, 4
Essay 50 % 1, 2, 3

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 15 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 3, 4

Participation in Online Discussion Forums

Each of you will sign up for a day to lead the online discussion.

Students will post questions, comments and further readings relating to the day’s topic.

The primary aim is to inspire critical discussion and debate of issues raised during the intensive. The online forum also provides an opportunity to share research in the form of contributed images and websites. The primary focus of the discussion forum is on thoughtful engagement and participation.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 35 %
Learning Outcomes: 2, 3, 4

Case Study Presentation

5 minute oral presentation+ 5 minutes discussion and feedback in class. Written copy (approx 1,000 words) to be uploaded to wattle 19 October – 5 marks per day will be deleted for late hand in unless you have arranged an extension.

Select an object, exhibition or event at any museum or collecting institution that engages with Indigenous themes or is a product or example of Indigenous cultural expression. Explore the case study with relation to the topics covered in the class, and  present your findings in a five minute powerpoint presentation.

In your oral and written presentation on the case study you will be expected to consider the following questions:

1.    What is on display?

2.    What is the surrounding contexts around the example (permanent gallery exhibition, temporary exhibition, part of a collection, event associated with a exhibition etc.)

3.    What mechanisms have been used in representation and interpretation?

4.    How is Indigenous agency represented?

5.    How does this case study engage with the contemporary environment of protocols or expectations?

Assessment Task 3

Value: 50 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3


Respond to ONE of the essay topics below in a research essay (range 2000-3000 words).

1.    Museums and galleries are increasingly adopting Indigenous protocols and research agendas. How has this affected the ways in which they conduct their core functions? Discuss with reference to one or more current case studies.

2.    What makes collections/exhibitions contested? Discuss the concept using a current Indigenous exhibition in Australia contrasted with one elsewhere.

3.    Repatriation has classically involved the return of skeletal remains but is now also associated with cultural objects, archives and film and sound. How are the issues different for these types of objects? Using recent cases and readings present your views on the return of objects to source communities.

4.    Are there any differences in the presentation, promotion, curation and engagement with Indigenous communities in exhibitions shown at different types of galleries? Provide an overview of types of galleries and select at least two current exhibitions either in Sydney or Canberra that illustrate your points.

5.    What are some of the ethical issues involved with working with Indigenous communities in order to produce an exhibition of their work?

6.    What role do Indigenous people take in the formation of collections and exhibitions in Australia? (Provide at least two case studies, and relate these to ideas presented in the text by Peterson, Allen and Hamby)

7.    Present a survey of two or more exhibitions across Canberra to examine and analyse the various ways in which cross-cultural exchange is represented. Consider the context, site and purpose of the exhibition building as well as the way in which indigenous culture is rendered.

8.    Discuss the differing representation of Indigenous material culture which have been provided by anthropologists and art historians; do you believe that the art versus anthropology debates continue to have relevance for 21st century museums and galleries?

9.    There are moves afoot to create a national indigenous cultural centre in Australia. What cultural role should/ would it play? How might compare with other national indigenous museums such as the National Museum of Indigenous Americans? Discuss in relation to available material about the current debates and developments in Australia and elsewhere.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

No submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date will be permitted. If an assessment task is not submitted by the due date, a mark of 0 will be awarded. OR Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information. In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service — including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy. If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes. Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
Jilda Andrews

Research Interests

Museum studies

Jilda Andrews

By Appointment
Dr Anni Doyle Wawrzynczak

Research Interests

Dr Anni Doyle Wawrzynczak

By Appointment

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