PUBLIC TALK: From Objects of Science to First Australians
|From Objects of Science to First Australians : Public talk with Jane Lydon
Archival photographs of Aboriginal people were amassed during the colonial period for a range of purposes, yet rarely to further an Indigenous agenda. Today however such images have been re-contextualised, used to reconstruct family history, document culture and express connections to place. They have become a significant heritage resource for relatives and descendants. As a medium of exchange, photographs of Aboriginal people have served vastly different purposes within Indigenous and Western knowledge systems, from embodiments of kin and ancestral powers, to visual data that actively created scientific knowledge. In the digital age, it has become an urgent matter to understand and balance these traditions, and over the last decade, numerous innovative projects have employed digital means of making this resource accessible to Aboriginal communities: what are the benefits and challenges of this work to date?
Jane Lydon is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow. Her books include Eye Contact: Photographing Indigenous Australians (Duke, 2005) and Fantastic Dreaming: The archaeology of an Aboriginal mission (AltaMira, 2009), which won the Australian Archaeological Association's John Mulvaney Book Award in 2010. Her most recent book The Flash of Recognition: Photography and the emergence of Indigenous rights (NewSouth, 2012) explores the ways that photography has been called upon to argue on behalf of Aboriginal people, and won the 2013 Qld Literary Awards’ University of Southern Qld History Book Award.
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