Anthropology PACE Unit

Anthropology PACE Unit

The Anthropology PACE Field school provides students with the opportunity to practice ethnography in on- and off campus business, museum or educational settings by doing applied or community-based anthropological research through preparation, participation in, and reflection on a PACE placement.

The unit includes practical skill building in hands-on environments, and reflection on anthropological practice, including the ethics of doing ethnographic research, research techniques and dissemination strategies. During the unit, students will develop skills in inter-cultural communication, research design, and mixed methods research. When possible, the unit will involve the production of publicly available outputs so that students can include the work in their professional portfolios.

ANTH225 PACE unit: Doing Fieldwork in Museum settings (Session 2, 2019)

This exciting unit introduces students to ethnography and anthropological research methods through readings, discussion, participation in, and reflection on research projects conducted in museum contexts. The unit is a hybrid of on-campus and external components, with a required weekly one-day placement during 9 weeks in a Sydney Museum or at the Macquarie University Art Gallery as the largest part of the curriculum. Pre- and post-placement components will be conducted on campus.

The Museum anthropology unit will provide an introduction to the historical background, practice, and ethical issues involved in the creation, representation, curating, and dissemination of anthropological information in museum settings. The course also considers current issues facing anthropologists, such as: contested rights to collections; representation and interpretation of cultures; art and artifact; conceptualization of exhibitions; and anthropological research and education in the museum. 
We begin with the interplay role of anthropology and ethnography in ethnographic museums, followed by a historical overview of collecting practices, the role of indigenous material culture in the development of museums, and the relationship between anthropology, museums and colonialism. Students are challenged to use these case studies in order to interrogate ideas of the museum as a ‘contact zone’, the shifting meaning of objects, contemporary curatorial challenges, the potential of new museum practices, and source community expectations while doing a practical placement of 9 weeks in a Sydney-based museum, or at the Macquarie University Art Gallery (MUAG).
Students will critically engage with actual museum collections, museum exhibitions, repatriation requests and museological dilemmas in relation to theoretical developments in anthropology, museum anthropology, art history, and indigenous studies. Specifically, the museum activities students will engage in are: doing a research survey of material (including objects, literature, documents and images in museum archives) to be used in and for the development of exhibitions; develop education resources around objects that are, or will be displayed; and develop education resources around specific themes, such as climate change, for use in a variety of on-site museum and outreach contexts.

Please contact the Faculty of Arts PACE office ( for an enrolment form. Enrolments close end of June!

Content owner: Department of Anthropology Last updated: 23 Jul 2019 9:54am

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