Lives of Exhibitions: Circumscription and Activation: The British Museum exhibition “Indigenous Australia: enduring civilisation”

Huw Rowlands

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

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The British Museum’s exhibition Indigenous Australia: enduring civilisation was shown in Room 35 between 23rd April and 2nd August 2015 against a background of significant changes in the ways that museums work, especially in their relationships with Indigenous communities. This dissertation applies multiple methodologies to explore the extent of the exhibition. In doing so it draws particularly on Actor-Network Theory approaches as a way of understanding the circumscription and dynamics of exhibitions. It concludes that museum exhibitions can usefully be seen as emerging from a dynamic ‘field’ of associations, and that understanding of this ‘field’ can be enhanced with reference to the Polynesian concept of ‘vā’, and the related idea of activation.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Department of Geography
  • Driver, Felix, Supervisor
Award date1 Nov 2015
Publication statusUnpublished - 2015


  • Museums
  • Exhibitions
  • Cross-cultural encounters
  • Indigenous
  • Australia
  • Aboriginal Australians
  • Torres Strait

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