INSITE / November-December / Decolonising Collections

     Dr Ryan Presley, 'Blood Money–Infinite Dollar Note–Fanny Balbuk Yooreel Commemorative,' 2018, (detail) watercolour on Arches paper, documented by Carl Warner. Image courtesy the artist.

The November-December 2019 issue of INSITE on the theme ‘Decolonising Collections’ has three articles about our theme and additional articles about the activities of AMaGA Victoria and museums and galleries in the sector. Below is a list of the issue’s contents and associated links for each article.

This is the final edition of INSITE. You can view a list of contents for INSITE editions from 2011-2019.

Our cover image is by artist, Dr Ryan Presley, from the series Blood Money. The Blood Money series portrays leaders, social advocates, warriors and writers from Aboriginal history, such as Fanny Balbuk Yooreel, Dundalli and Pemulwuy. Dr Ryan Presley’s artist’s statement about the series says, “A primary aim of the series is to broadcast and promote important Aboriginal people within the context of Australian history and experience, testifying to their intelligence, perseverance and maneuverability. Their actions and legacies are not only respectable in terms of their general achievements in Australian society, but they also dispel many of the myths circulated via colonial occupation: particularly that Aboriginal people were passive and lacked the will to resist colonial encroachment. Read the full artist statement here.

Caption: Dr Ryan Presley, Blood Money–Infinite Dollar Note–Fanny Balbuk Yooreel Commemorative, 2018, (detail) watercolour on Arches paper, documented by Carl Warner. Image courtesy the artist.

Speaking Back to Colonial Collections: building living Aboriginal archives (pages 2-4)
In this article Kirsten Thorpe, Archivist and Senior Researcher at the Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education & Research, University of Technology Sydney, discusses ways to reconnect colonial collections with Indigenous communities and respectfully reposition Aboriginal voice and perspectives into these historical collections and reframe our colonial stories. This essay was first published in Artlink (39:2) Indigenous Storytelling in Digital World, June, 2019.
Visit the Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education & Research at:

Reflect and Innovate: the Western Australian Museum’s Reconciliation Action Plan (page 5)
In this article Deanne Fitzgerald, Western Australian Museum, shares how the WA Museum’s Reconciliation Action Plans have been frameworks for implementing meaningful change that embed Indigenous values into museum and gallery practice.
Recomcilliation Action Plans :
Download a copy of the Indigenous Roadmap:

Re-Visioning History at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre (page 7)
Bundoora Homestead Art Centre is located in a Queen Anne style Federation mansion certified by the National Trust. In this article Ella Hughes, Director, Bundoora Homestead Art Centre, takes us through how staff have developed a curatorial framework over the past five years, to support exhibitions and programs that acknowledge the sites colonial history.
Visit Bundoora Homestead at:

The Victorian Museums and Galleries Forum (pages 8-9)
The Healthy Museum theme of this year’s Forum is at the forefront of discourse within the sector. As the definition of the museum continues to be contested on an international stage we can’t help but question ‘What constitutes a healthy museum?’ Speakers covering topics including wellbeing, diversity, accessibility, engagement, and sustainability, explored ways that our sector can become ‘healthier’ through responsive actions and directions.
An excerpt of Tony Butler’s presentation is available on Arts Hub: 
The #diversifyyourarts project has ten tips for cultural organisations to use to demonstrate and implement support for diversity and a commitment to anti-racism:

Vale Martin Hallett (page 10)
Forbes Hawkins, Senior Digital Systems Developer at Museums Victoria and lead technical developer of Victorian Collections, has written a tribute to Martin Hallett, former deputy chief executive of Museums Victoria, curator emeritus and visionary leader within Victoria’s museum establishment.

Latest Re-Accreditations (page 10)
Museums and galleries in the Museum Accreditation Program review their Accreditation standards at intervals of about five years. The latest re-accreditations have been achieved by Stawell Historical Society and Buda Historic Home and Garden. Find out more about the Stawell Historical Society at:
and Buda Historic Home and Garden at:

Victorian Collections Day (page 11)
The 2019 Victorian Collections Day included presentations on digitisation, catalogue photography, exhibitions and sustainability. Find out more about VC Day participant organisations on Victorian Collections at:

Apps & Online

Ara Irititja
Ara Irititja makes historical and cultural items available to Anangu (Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara people), and Keeping Places under license, through the Keeping Culture KMS software. Materials include photographs, films, sound recordings and documents.

Mukurtu is an open source platform built with indigenous communities to manage and share digital cultural heritage. SL NSW has adopted the program so communities can view collections and apply their own cultural protocols.

The Museopunks Episode 38: Decolon-ization and its Discontents probes the “many ways decolonization seems to still center the colonizer.“ Museopunks is presented by Suse Anderson and Ed Rodley and supported by the American Alliance of Museums.

Let’s Talk Race
The Australian Human Rights Commission has launched the Let’s talk race: a guide on how to conduct a conversation about racism. The Guide is a complementary resource to cultural competence training and Reconciliation Action Plans (RAPs).

Common Ground
A website for the sharing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories and lived experiences.

Smiling Mind App
Women from Central Australia’s NPY Women’s Council have recorded meditations in Pitjantjatjara and Ngaanyatjarra languages with the producers behind mindfulness app Smiling Mind. NPY lands span the central desert region of SA, WA and NT.

Bow Down
Jennifer Higgie is an Australian writer, editor-at-large of Frieze magazine and presenter of Bow Down, the new frieze podcast about women in art history.


Creative Victoria Logo
AMaGA Victoria respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which we work, the Woi Wurrung people and honour their Ancestors, Elders and next generations of community. AMaGA Victoria acknowledges and pays respect to the Elders of all the Nations of Victoria, past, present and emerging.