Globalisation, Photography and Race - RCMC

Globalisation, Photography and Race

The Circulation and Return of Aboriginal Photographs in Europe 

Globalisation, Photography and Race: The Circulation and Return of Aboriginal Photographs in Europe addresses the intersection of new digital technologies and Aboriginal traditions surrounding visual imagery.

This project explores the global circulation of photographs of Australian Aboriginal people that began in the 1840s, and their central role within the emergence of modern views regarding race and history. The project investigates the significance of colonial photography to Indigenous communities, and through international collaboration returns photographs currently housed in five key European collections to descendants, providing an important Indigenous heritage resource, a major international conference and a travelling exhibition.

Aims

  1. To explore the global circulation of photographs of Australian Aboriginal people that began in the 1840s, charting their central role within the major shift in Western visual culture from Enlightenment humanism to the emergence of modern views regarding race and history. Through international collaboration with key European museums, it will connect their local production to their concrete effects as objects circulated through commercial, governmental, scientific and private visual networks that spanned the world.
  2. To return photographs currently housed in Europe to their subjects’ descendants, providing a major Indigenous heritage resource. In doing so it will explore the significance of colonial photography to Indigenous descendants and contribute to resolving the momentous and complex intersection of new digital technologies and Aboriginal cultural traditions regarding visual imagery.

Partners

  • Prof. Jane Lydon (University of Western Australia)
  • Christine Barthes (Musée du Quai Branly, Paris)
  • Dr. Anita Herle (Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge)
  • Dr. Christopher Morton (Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford)

Returning Photos

The project website, Returning Photos: Australian Aboriginal Photographs from European Collections, aims to make the photographic collections from the four museums available to researchers, and especially Aboriginal communities seeking to access their heritage.

As part of this project, Wonu Veys traveled to Australia and blogged about her travels and experiences. Read her posts here: Aboriginal Photo Project

Australian Research Council

Past project
This is a past project