uni week 13

The last week of uni was week ending Friday 26 October. But we left for Dryandra via Bremer Bay the following morning so I did not get a chance to say how the semester ended.

We had two guest speakers, Nell from the Berndt Museum of Anthropology and David Blair, School of Physics.

Nell came to our tutorial room and talked to us about her work as a curator in the Berndt Museum of Anthropology and museology in general with specific examples from the Berndt Museum.

The main focus of the Berndt Museum is to collect contemporary Aboriginal art within a year of finishing. This is so that both tangible and intangible attributes are preserved, including experiences and material from the artists themselves. Also, it is important to the museum that the collected art is what Aboriginal people themselves deem significant.

Nell explained that most of the collection came from fieldwork, so the museum has strong ties with community. Opening with 1600 objects and 200 photographs in 1976, the collection has grown to 11,500 objects and 40,000 photographs, as well as other material. The museum is seeking a new building to house its collection, and Ernie Dingo is the Patron of the Berndt Museum Campaign.

The exhibition example that caught my attention was that of the Koorah Coolingah (Children Long Ago). A box of these drawings were re-discovered and exhibited in Perth and Katanning as part of PIAF in 2006.

The other project that was fascinating was the material that is being digitally repatriated. That is, some objects are fragile or owners wish the museum to hold the pieces, so a photograph of the object is taken to return to the community for use and or display.

The second half of our tutorial session was a talk with Professor David Blair round his round table in his office. The previous night, it was announced that he had won the 2007 Western Australian Premier’s $100000 Scientist of the Year Award. So although the talk was informal, it was interrupted by media, colleagues and friends seeking more information and offering congratulations.

Prof Blair talked to us about the Australian International Gravitational Observatory and The Gravity Discovery Centre, including the Cosmology Gallery (Buckyball dome) and the Leaning Tower of Gingin (40m high). Creating exhibits to engender public participation and enthusiasm for physics, cosmology, and the universe through science and art was eagerly discussed by our class with Prof Blair.

We were encouraged to visit The Gravity Discovery Centre as it is located in one of the twelve biodiversity hotspots of the planet, and is en route to New Norcia and the Pinnacles.


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