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Decolonising the Museum (11123.1)

Level: Level 3 - Undergraduate Advanced Unit
Credit Points: 3
HECS Bands:

Band 1 2013-2020 (Expires 31 Dec 2020) Band 2 2021 (Commenced Before 1 Jan 2021) Band 4 2021 (Commenced After 1 Jan 2021)

Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Design
Discipline: School of Arts and Communications


Possible changes to your unit's learning activities and assessment items

For the remainder of 2020, resulting from Australian Government's directives requiring physical distancing and restrictions on movement because of the COVID-19 pandemic, any exams that are required for assessment in a unit will be online exams. Online exams may also use online proctoring to help assure the academic integrity of those exams. Please contact your unit convener with any questions.

While the University has made efforts to ensure that Unit Outlines reflect a unit’s learning activities and assessment items, any changes to Australian Government directives because of the COVID-19 pandemic may require changes to these during the semester to ensure the safety and well being of students and staff. These changes will not be updated in the published unit outline, but will be communicated to you via your unit’s UCLearn(Canvas) teaching site. Any changes made will continue to meet the unit’s learning outcomes, as described in the Unit Outline.

Unit Outlines

To view your Unit Outline, click View to log in to MyUC and access this information, or visit your unit's online teaching site.

  • Semester 1, 2021, ON-CAMPUS, BRUCE (199145) - View
  • Semester 1, 2020, ON-CAMPUS, BRUCE (193683) - View
  • Semester 1, 2019, ON-CAMPUS, BRUCE (184518) - View

If a link to your Unit Outline is not displayed, please check back later. Unit Outlines are generally published by Week One of the relevant teaching period.


This unit explores museums and collections and engages with issues of colonialism, neo-colonialism and decolonisation. It explores concepts, tools and methods that support Indigenous agency and control of the representation of Indigenous, Native American and First Nations people in museums and through cultural material. Concepts to be explored include forms of 'expertise' and cultural knowledge, community co-production, and repatriation. Students will critically analyse examples of the creative re-use and re-purposing of museums and collections by Indigenous, Native American and First Nations people. Students will also practically and ethically engage with the University of Canberra Indigenous Art and Artefact Collection and with other cultural institutions and collections.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

1. Evaluate the ethical issues surrounding Indigenous, Native American and First Nation collections held by museums;

2. Identify and assess the ways in which the role of museums has changed over time;

3. Reflect on how museums and their collections can contribute to decolonising society; and

4. Apply culturally appropriate practices relating to Indigenous cultural issues and museum contexts in working with cultural collections.

Assessment Items

Contact Hours

On-Campus and Online: 1 one hour lecture per week and 1 two hour interactive workshop per week for eight weeks. Students will also participate in two hours of active learning through work with cultural collections and representatives for four weeks.


11126 Indigenous Ways of Knowing


11122 Indigenous Cultures and Digital Contexts

Assumed Knowledge


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