Dr Fiona Cameron
Ecologizing experimentations: Collections and curatorial practices for a more-than-human and digitally mediated world
Our lives and worldly situations are deeply ecological and radically interconnected dramatically evident through events such as climate change, through the observed realities of the Anthropocene, and through the emergence of an all-encompassing digitally mediated world. Through their collections, programs and exhibitions, museums are powerful pedagogical institutions, instrumental in shaping ideas about culture, identity and cultural difference, and about human relations with the non-human world, technology and science. Museums are therefore ideally placed to frame and promote new theories and practices of life.
Using specific collection items across the MAAS collection (technology, design, social history; digital) and working closely with museum staff, Fiona’s project will develop and test a series of ecologizing theories and methods with the aim of formulating new models of curatorship, object concepts, interpretive storytelling and exhibitory practices drawing inspiration from the environmental posthumanities, digital humanities and media ecology.
Dr Fiona Cameron is Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University and visiting Professor at Linköping University, Sweden. Fiona is a museum scholar in the fields of digital cultural heritage, museums and climate change and the environmental posthumanities. Over the last 10 years Fiona has been conducting ecologizing experimentations across domains of museum practice from climate change narratives to institutional forms; to collections and documentation, and to digital cultural heritage.
Relevant grants, projects and publications can be found on Dr Fiona Cameron’s research page.
Dr Ollie Bown
Project title / Creative work title: Spiral: A mechanical musical installation
Fellowship Topic: Examining the role of player pianos in music technology history, through the Mastertouch company
Dr Oliver Bown is Senior Lecturer at UNSW Art & Design, where he is co-director of the Interactive Media Lab. His research looks at new algorithms and technologies applied to the production and experience of music.
Ollie was drawn to the museum’s Mastertouch collection of mechanical pianos, and the machines that Mastertouch used to create and copy piano rolls for an international audience. Mechanical musical instruments are interesting triggers for reflection on music technology’s present. Neither normal instruments nor music recording technology in the sense we are familiar with it today, they are hard to fit neatly into a simple lineage of music technology history. They continued to be popular in the face of the rise of audio technology; Mastertouch sold piano rolls through to the early years of the 21st Century. Naturally, the company updated its production process over the years, using digital technology to record piano performances that were then printed onto physical rolls.
Working with a number of collaborators, including the improvising ensemble Tangents, of which he is a member, Ollie will create a new musical work that explores the mechanical, situated nature of autonomous instruments, weaving in contemporary aspects of music technology including networked systems, generative music and augmented reality.
Dr Sarah Barns
Project title: Eyes on the Skies: The scientific imagination of Lawrence Hargraves
Through her fellowship at MAAS, Sarah’s will continue an ongoing series of research investigations exploring the nature of the scientific imagination during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century and its links with disciplines today associated with the arts and creativity. Sarah will research the collection as part of a profile of Lawrence Hargrave whose work on aviation models he considered ‘his very soul’s work’. Through research of Hargrave’s diaries and relevant photographic archives, Sarah will be seeking to understand and capture a sense of how Hargrave understood his own work of invention as creative endeavour. This will involve access and documentation of elements of the photographic collection, personal diaries and documentation of relevant artefacts and models.
Sarah’s work as a practitioner relates to the interpretation of digital collections through experiential media and site-based digital storytelling. In 2015-6 she was lead curator and interpretation consultant for the Arts Centre of Christchurch’s ‘Rutherford’s Den’, a museum space dedicated to the life and legacy of Lord Ernest Rutherford, for which she developed a series of exhibits exploring the historical relationship between the arts and sciences in the development of twentieth century modern physics. Previously she was audio-visual interpretation consultant for the redevelopment of the ANU Mt Stromlo Observatory Director’s Residence, creating a series of film and sound based responses to the history of Mt Stromlo as a space of creative and scientific endeavour. Sarah connects practice-led research in digital archives with experiential media and design opportunities through Esem Projects, a practice dedicated to expanding the possibilities of place-making, historical interpretation and community engagement in the public domain.
Dr Jo Law and Dr Agnieszka Golda
February and June 2017
Project title: Exchanges between traditional and new textile technologies: inventing sustainable methods of making through creative collaboration
Jo and Agnieszka’s collaborative project asks: how can art contribute to new strategies that helps us meet current environmental challenges? In response to this question, they bring together their areas of expertise: textiles and electronic media, to focus on how art can inspire social change and action on global climate justice.
While at MAAS, Jo and Agnieszka’s research looks at gold and silver thread embroidery principally from China and Japan. They will access the MAAS collection and access samples held in the Lace Study Centre. They are particularly interested in the depiction of animals in textile objects as well as their construction processes. Jo and Agnieszka’s objective is to discover how traditional and contemporary lace and embroidery techniques can be combined with conductive materials, low energy devices, and energy harvesting technologies (photovoltaic cells) to invent new materials and sustainable methods of making. This archival research will directly inform their material research which will result in the creation of a series of experimental objects.
Dr Kate Scardifield
Project title: Archival Enactments: New Constellations
Curated by Panel (Glasgow) in partnership with Heriot Watt University; Live Borders; Fife Contemporary Art & Craft; The Barony Centre and Falkirk Community Trust.
Kate is a visual artist and researcher currently developing a new body of work in response to collections and civic archives across regional areas in Scotland. Tracing thread lines and points of connection between Scotland and Australia, her project employs a constellation metaphor to think about how we construct meaning and narrative through the specific grouping of objects, and how actively re-seeing collections as unfixed ‘bodies of knowledge’ can prompt new ideas and call into question our understanding of heritage, identity and place.
Over the course of her fellowship Kate examined objects and ephemera linked to the former Governor of NSW and Scottish astronomer Thomas Brisbane (1773-1860). MAAS and Sydney Observatory hold a number of astronomical instruments brought to Australia by Brisbane in the early 1800s and used at the Parramatta observatory to chart the southern sky. Kate’s work spans textiles, video and sculpture and will result in a touring exhibition across Scotland in 2017 and 2018.
Associate Professor Robert Crawford
November – December 2016
Project title: Mapping marketing networks: Rousel Studios and Interwar Sydney
Media and Marketing Historian, Associate Professor of Public Communication at the University of Technology Sydney
Over the course of his Fellowship, Robert examined the materials contained in the Rousel Studios collection. The project analysed these materials with a view to understanding the everyday operations of the Rousel Studios and contextualising them within their broader social, cultural, commercial, and economic contexts.
Research firstly focused on ascertaining the everyday operations of the Rousel Studios, from its organisation and client lists to its creative output. The project then delved more deeply into the archival materials to explore the ways in which the Rousel Studios interacted with other firms with a view to mapping Sydney marketing industries. By developing a clearer outline of Rousel Studios’ operations and its interaction with allied and associated businesses during the interwar period, this project expanded understandings of this business and its operations and offers new insights into Sydney’s marketing industry during the 1920s and 1930s.
Robert’s publications include But Wait, There’s More … A History of Australia’s Advertising Industry, 1900-2000 (Melbourne University Press, 2008), Consumer Australia: Historical Perspectives (CSP, 2010). His most recent book, Through Glass Doors: Inside the World of Australian Advertising Agencies, 1959-1989 (co-authored with Jackie Dickenson – UWAP, 2016) uses oral history interviews to go behind the scenes of Australia’s advertising agencies during the ‘Mad Men’ period.
Dr Justine Lloyd
Cultural and media historian, senior lecturer in Sociology at Macquarie University, Sydney
Project title: Intimate geographies of media: Public service radio for women, 1932-1975
While at the museum, Justine researched the social context of radio in the home during the mid-twentieth century. Justine gathered information on the ways that radio as broadcast technology was domesticated in the 1930s and 40s and looking at how it increasingly became part of everyday life in Australia. She accessed the Museum’s Research Library and Archives to explore this process, especially the Museum’s collection of trade literature, magazines and periodicals. Justine also looked at the Museum’s collection of radio receivers and its photographic archive. This research contributes to a set of projects looking at contemporary media forms through the lens of listening practices. This material will be included in a book on women as radio producers and audiences in the UK, Australia, and Canada (Bloomsbury Academic, 2017).
Justine is also the editor with Dr Jeannine Baker of a special issue of Media International Australia on the theme of ‘Gendered Labour and Media” (forthcoming November 2016). Previous research has been published as co-authored articles and a book (with Lesley Johnson, Berg 2004) on the history of the housewife. She is a joint editor of the international journal of social spaces, Space and Culture.
Dr Gail Kenning
Artist, researcher, educator, and Research Associate, University of Technology Sydney
Project title: Everyday Creativity
Using ethnography Gail explored contemporary relationships to craft activities and hobbies with a focus on how these activities contribute to positive wellbeing and healthy ageing. She interviewed MAAS staff and volunteers, and accessed the Museum’s archives and Research Library to explore literature about craft activities and their popularity at various times, and to examine craft techniques. Gail’s research provided a wealth of information about craft activities and how people engage with them which will inform and underpin future research in this area.
Previously Gail has been the recipient of funding for work related to craft and wellbeing where she has worked with the Lace Study Centre at the Powerhouse Museum; the evaluation of arts programs for people with dementia; and projects exploring participatory design approaches working with and for people with dementia. Gail is Design United Research Fellow at University of Technology, Eindhoven, Netherlands where she researches in relation to implicit memory, ageing and dementia. Gail works at the intersection of art, craft, design and technology. Her artistic practice spans sculptural installation, photography and video, programmed animations and data visualization. She has exhibited and screened works internationally and nationally at public galleries, private galleries and artist run initiatives.
Dr Sally Gray
November 2015 and March 2016
Cultural historian, curator, Visiting Scholar in Cultural History UNSW | Art & Design, Principal of Sally Gray and Company arts consultants
Project Title: Hand and Heart Shall Never Part: The Creative Collaboration of Linda Jackson and David McDiarmid
Sally’s research project relates to her exhibition of the same title scheduled to open at Wollongong City Gallery in September 2016. The exhibition and its accompanying publication will explore the interdisciplinary art and fashion space inhabited by the two friends – David McDiarmid, artist and Linda Jackson, fashion designer – as they worked to co-invent design ideas and co-create garments bearing the labels Linda Jackson Flamingo Park (1974-82) and Linda Jackson Bush Couture (1983-92). The exhibition title refers to a sentimental 19th century homily used by McDiarmid and to the romantic framing of creative relationships in the milieu they shared in first Melbourne and then Sydney. The exhibition is part of a larger project which includes David McDiarmid: When This You See Remember Me at NGV Melbourne (May-August 2014) and a soon to be published book resulting from Sally’s 2010-12 Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship exploring fashion, art, decorative arts and sexual politics in Melbourne and Sydney in the 1970s and 80s. Sally is working mainly on magazine and newspaper files in the Museum’s important Linda Jackson and Jenny Kee Archives and the MAAS fashion collection, which holds significant work by Jackson and McDiarmid, and the MAAS Research Library.
Dr Narelle Lemon
March and May 2015
Project Title: Museums, Audiences, and Capturing Learning Experiences: Tweeting to Connect
Narelle’s research investigated how museums are sites for learning and how we can access cultural awareness off-site meaningfully and purposefully. She is interested in investigating how social media can be integrated to build student and teacher engagement with museum sites, objects, and cultural knowledge. The Fellowship enabled the formation of the hashtag #MuseumEdOz that is facilitated on Twitter (and with a page on Narelle’s website). The hashtag development emerged from a need to provide a national forum for sharing and a dedicated discussion for museum educators and teachers. This focuses on building a community that is flexible with ‘anywhere, anytime’ access, accommodation and engagement with multiple voices, and a shift away from professional isolation. It supports the generation of questions, sharing ideas, resources, and best practice. Most importantly it creates possibilities for an open dialogue associated with museum education from the perspectives of curriculum integration across multiple discipline areas and professional learning opportunities.
#MuseumEdOz chats run on the first Thursday of each month at 7:30pm AEST. Narelle tweets at @rellypops.