The Australia-Indonesia Museum Project (AIM Project) was officially launched on Thursday, 27 May 2021 through an online event.
The launch event brought together twenty-two (22) participants representing twelve (12) museums from eight (8) provinces in Indonesia, as well as ten (10) curators from the Western Australian Museum (WAM). These curators will work together to develop collaborative approaches to researching and interpreting significant museum objects and collections from both countries, and will co-curate an online exhibition that will be launched in 2022.
The implementation of the project will be a collaborative effort, and will be led by Deakin University's Cultural Heritage Asia-Pacific Group in collaboration with the Museum Nasional Indonesia, the Western Australian Museum (WAM), the Southeast Asia Museum Services (SEAMS), and participants from across Indonesia. The AIM Project has been made possible through grant funding from the Australia-Indonesia Institute (AII) of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Australia, and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology of the Republic of Indonesia.
At the launch of the AIM Project, Associate Professor Steve Cooke from Deakin University shared that:
“Museums are the storehouses of our collective memories, places where stories about the past present and future are told. Traditionally, exhibitions have been conceived with a national frame of reference, but more recent approaches are exploring trans-national connections of people, objects, and ideas. Through a process of co-curation with curators, the project will develop new approaches to understanding how these histories are collected, displayed, and interpreted in Australian and Indonesian museums.”
Dr Hilmar Farid, the Director General of Culture from the MOECRT said:
“We hope this project will strengthen and broaden greater understanding between our communities, promote cross-sectoral consultation and coordination to enhance knowledge of Indonesian and Australian cultures through various media, and encourage arts and cultural exchanges among relevant institutions. In the longer term, I believe that this project will amplify Indonesia and Australia's cultural cooperation, especially in the museum field.”
In his opening remarks at the meeting, Allaster Cox, Deputy Australian Ambassador to Indonesia, DFAT, shared that:
“This AIM project is a very innovative concept that will help build connection across museums in Australia and Indonesia and knowledge about new and emerging museums practice. I would like to thank all the partners and supporters who have made the project possible, in particular the Indonesian MOECRT, the Australia Indonesia Institute (AII), which has had a strong role in supporting the Project and many others like it, and all the participants from across Indonesian who will join the trainings and exhibition development.”
Diana Jones, Acting CEO/Executive Director, Collections and Research, Western Australian Museum, outlined that:
“The WA Museum Boola Bardip Connections gallery features a number of stories and objects which connect Australian with Southeast Asia. It is anticipated that collaboration with Indonesian colleagues will provide further interpretation about the shared heritage of our collections.”
A recording of the launch event can be accessed via SEAMS YouTube.