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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


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Unit Outlines

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

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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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