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RAI Research Seminar: Michael Aird

September 12 2018 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm



From illustration to evidence in native title: the potential of photographs

Michael Aird, Director of the University of Queensland Anthropology Museum

Wednesday 12 September at 5.30 pm

By working with photographs from the collections of museums and libraries, Michael Aird is testing whether historical photographs can become substantial evidence of Australian Aboriginal connections with land and place. He is studying images and combines archival research to contextualize how photographs can serve as more than illustrations, but they can also demonstrate historical continuities and change as well as connections to country over time. Who are the people featured in early photographs and what were the complex personal relationships between these individuals. Photographs can be used to ask research questions that may previously not been considered in native title claim research. This research methodology will question the value of photographs as historical documents, as well as how they are valued, and used by contemporary Aboriginal people as an important part of history and identity.

Michael Aird has worked in the area of Aboriginal arts and cultural heritage since 1985, graduating in 1990 with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Queensland. Michael has worked in professional positions and as a freelance researcher, curator and publisher. In 1995 Michael was appointed Curator of Aboriginal Studies at the Queensland Museum, a position he held until 2000. His main research focus has been photographic history with a particular interest in native title and Aboriginal people of southeast Queensland. He has curated over 25 exhibitions, including curating Transforming Tindale at the State Library of Queensland in 2012, which was the first time photographs taken by Norman Tindale and Joseph Birdsell on their 1938 and 1939 expedition have been featured in a major exhibition. In 2014 he curated the Captured: Early Brisbane Photographers and Their Aboriginal Subjects exhibition at the Museum of Brisbane. In 1996 he established Keeaira Press an independent publishing house and has produced over 35 books. Much of what Keeaira Press has published focus on art and photography, which reflects Michael’s interest in recording aspects of urban Aboriginal history and culture. Michael is currently the Director of the University of Queensland Anthropology Museum and an ARC Research Fellow. 

This event is free, but tickets must be booked. To book tickets please go to https://michaelarid.eventbrite.co.uk

Location : Royal Anthropological Institute
50 Fitzroy Street
United Kingdom


September 12 2018
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
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