The future of Australian museums: What we mean when we say the humanities are at risk

The future of Australian museums: What we mean when we say the humanities are at risk
Thursday 13 June 2024

HRC Director Professor Kylie Message has written for ABC Religion & Ethics on the lack of funding for our internationally significant museums and the message this sends about the value of culture in our national future?

I recently attended a conference of leaders in the humanities from across the globe. Held at the University of California, Berkeley, the theme of the gathering was “… at RiskIt aimed to examine the multiple challenges encountered by scholars operating within increasingly hostile environments across the world, as well as how the humanities enable as well as foreclose forms of risk. As I sat listening, my phone was pinging with emails from colleagues in Australia about the ongoing problems facing the South Australian Museum and the proposed axing of the museum studies program at the University of Queensland (UQ).

The split-screen experience led me to propose that we work backwards from the questions “What kind of world do we want?” and “What kind of society do we want?” It seems to me that this approach leads swiftly to the question “What kind of university do we want?” — which in turn requires us to identify the infrastructure required to deliver the answers. The flip side of articulating what is necessary is a better understanding of the effect that the long-term systematic chipping away of humanities and cultural infrastructures is having in Australia.

In short, rather than being “nice to have” optional extras, universities and museums are necessary for the production and sustainability of the cultural and educational work that is fundamental to societies that value care and respect.

Read this piece in full on ABC Religion & Ethics.



Updated:  13 June 2024/Responsible Officer:  Head, Centre/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications