National Graduate Student Workshop: Public Humanities and Activism

“Who Are the Activists of Today?” Audio visual interactive display from ‘Activist New York’ exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York, New York, 2017.

ANU Humanities Research Centre (HRC) and

Interdisciplinary Cross Cultural Research (ICCR) Program


National Graduate Student Workshop



4th – 6th September 2019

The Australian National University, Canberra


Public humanities invites contemplation of, and engagement with, cultural and civic life. Reflecting on history and heritage, public humanities projects allow a diverse public to look critically at issues through cultural organizations, public art, heritage, oral history and material culture.   

Activism has become an increasingly important subject of public humanities investigation, as highlighted by the 2011 Occupy movement. The question has been posed whether ‘public humanities’ is just activism by a different name? Cultural institutions are increasingly collecting and exhibiting on activist movements, alongside a rise in community-based archival work in this area. That evolution forms part of the challenge of reimagining and re-engaging communities with history and historical narratives.

Drawing upon the expertise and experience of the speakers, the workshop will span numerous facets of public culture and activism, including archiving as activism, oral history and activism, heritage and activism, digital heritage and activism, intellectual activism, art as activism, and community activism.

Expert international academics and practitioners will lead discussion and provide mentoring throughout the workshop, which will focus on contemporary debates and the challenges of researching contestation in public culture globally, nationally, and locally. The workshop has a dual focus on:

  • Issues and topics relevant to activism and public culture 
  • Methodological questions relevant for students researching these topics

International speakers include:

  • Dr Andrew Flinn (University College London, UK)
  • Professor Chris Whitehead (Newcastle University, UK)
  • Amy Roberts (Occupy Wall Street Archives Working Group & Interference Archive, US)
  • Dr Gonul Bozoglu (Newcastle University, UK)



Are now open from PhD, Masters, and Honours students working in public humanities and related fields, including but not limited to history, museum studies, heritage, cultural politics, art, sociology, anthropology, digital humanities and cultural studies.

The number of places is strictly limited. Attendance at all sessions is compulsory. Participants will be provided with a short reading brick that they must have read prior to the workshop.

Applications must include, in no more than 2 pages:

  1. A brief biography that includes your academic level or program, and the institution you are enrolled at
  2. A description of your research project
  3. A response to why you are interested in public humanities research and think this workshop will benefit your research
  4. If relevant, a request & rationale for travel assistance (see below)

Applicants will be informed of the outcome within two weeks of the submission deadline. Applications that do not conform with these requirements will not be considered.


Travel assistance

Where relevant, successful applicants will be provided with travel assistance up to $300.00. Participants travelling from elsewhere will be expected to arrive in Canberra on Tuesday night and remain until the program’s completion late Friday afternoon.

To apply for travel assistance please add to your application a short statement outlining how the funding would facilitate your attendance (d). Funding will be allocated at the discretion of the workshop convenor.

There is no cost for ANU students but application and acceptance into the program is required.


Deadline for applications is 9 August 2019

Please direct all applications and any inquiries to Professor Kylie Message at

Date & time

Wed 04 Sep 2019, 9am – Fri 06 Sep 2019, 5pm


Humanities Research Centre, Sir Roland Wilson Building


Professor Kylie Message
+61 2 6125 4357


Updated:  26 July 2019/Responsible Officer:  Head, Centre/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications