A new online exhibition will share stories about the histories of Australia and Indonesia through a collaboration between Deakin University, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology of the Republic of Indonesia, the Western Australian Museum (WAM), and the Southeast Asia Museums Service (SEAMS). Funded by the Australia Indonesia-Institute from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Australia and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology of the Republic of Indonesia, the project brings together museum curators and heritage professionals from both countries to develop collaborative approaches to interpreting objects.
Museums are the storehouses of our collective memories, places where stories about the past present and future are told. Associate Professor Steve Cooke from Deakin University shared that:
‘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 Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology, Indonesia, said:
‘The Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology fully supports this initiative and considers this project to be an important opportunity to develop and support long-term linkages and partnerships between Indonesia and Australia in the cultural sector. We look forward to implementing the project with our partners in Australia to explore the different narratives of both historical and contemporary links between our two countries.’
The project builds on the Australian Awards Fellowship ‘capacity building in the Indonesian Museum Sector’ that was run by Deakin University in 2016 and the alumni would act as mentors for the emerging professionals involved in the new project.
SEAMS in conjunction with virtual input from WA Museum and Deakin, will run workshops with curators on understanding significance and interpretation and provide additional mentoring and support. Curators will then work together to develop new collaborative stories for 15 objects which will be showcased through an online exhibition hosted by the WA Museum.
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.