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Forget the barks! Bring on the string figures! The String Figures of Yirrkala: Activating a legacy

Robyn McKenzie, Australian National University

Barks, Birds and Billabongs symposium, 19 November 2009

Robyn McKenzie examines Fred McCarthy’s celebrated collection of Yirrkala string figures as artefacts of cross-cultural exchange, looking at problems of definition, description, interpretation and analysis.

art, indigenous

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Yolngu ways of knowing Country: Insights from the 1948 Expedition to Arnhem Land

Emeritus Professor Dr Ad Borsboom, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Barks, Birds and Billabongs symposium, 19 November 2009

Whereas the 1948 Expedition presented vast collections of plant and animal life classified according to Linnaean taxonomy, Ad Borsboom explores how the Yolngu organise and present knowledge through mythological Dreaming stories.

economy, indigenous, place, ways of knowing

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The forbidden gaze: The 1948 Wubarr ceremony performed for the American–Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land

Dr Murray Garde, University of Melbourne

Barks, Birds and Billabongs symposium, 19 November 2009

Murray Garde considers the Wubarr ceremony performed in 1948 and examines the tangled cross-cultural politics of non-Aboriginal involvement in secret Aboriginal religious ceremonies in Western Arnhem Land.

ceremony, indigenous, politics, spirituality

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The forgotten collection: Baskets reveal histories

Dr Louise Hamby, Australian National University

Barks, Birds and Billabongs symposium, 19 November 2009

Louise Hamby examines the dispersed collection of fibre objects collected by the 1948 Expedition – the objects and the process and politics of their collection.

art, collection, indigenous

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Closing remarks

Dr Peter Stanley, National Museum of Australia

Barks, Birds and Billabongs symposium, 19 November 2009

Closing remarks from the Barks, Birds and Billabongs symposium.

art, collection, indigenous, science

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Launch of Collecting Cultures, a book about the 1948 expedition

Craddock Morton, National Museum of Australia

Barks, Birds and Billabongs symposium, 18 November 2009

Craddock Morton, Director of the National Museum of Australia, introduces, contextualises and launches the book by Sally K May: Collecting Cultures: Myth, Politics and Collaboration in the 1948 Arnhem Land Expedition

Transcript

collection, indigenous, politics

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Beneath the billabongs: The scientific legacy of Robert Rush Miller

Gifford Miller and Robert Cashner

Barks, Birds and Billabongs symposium, 18 November 2009

Robert Rush Miller was one of the youngest members of the 1948 American-Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land. Miller’s son, Gifford Miller, and son-in-law, Robert Cashner, provide insight into his life and work.

exploration, indigenous

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Collecting Australia at the Smithsonian: 150 years and still going

Dr Adrienne L Kaeppler, National Museum of Natural History, United States

Barks, Birds and Billabongs symposium, 18 November 2009

Adrienne Kaeppler, Curator of Oceanic Ethnology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, provides an overview of the museum’s Australian collections, focusing on the Arnhem Land collection which comprises more than 400 artefacts.

collection, indigenous

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Hidden for 60 years: The motion picture films of the American–Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land

Josh Harris (paper read by Mark Jenkins)

Barks, Birds and Billabongs symposium, 18 November 2009

Josh Harris describes the rediscovery in the archives of The National Geographic Society of 12,000 feet of film shot by Howell Walker during the 1948 Expedition and the in-depth steps that were taken to preserve and bring the footage back to life.

collection, indigenous, media

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Making a sea change: Rock art, archaeology and the enduring legacy of McCarthy’s research on Groote Eylandt

Dr Anne Clarke, University of Sydney and Ursula Frederick, Australian National University

Barks, Birds and Billabongs symposium, 18 November 2009

Dr Anne Clarke and Ms Ursula Frederick revisit Frederick McCarthy’s research in relation to their own more recent analyses of rock art sites on Groote Eylandt, using sites that were not recorded in 1948, and focusing on cross-cultural interaction.

archaeology, art, indigenous

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