Archive for the ‘roundup/review’ Category

Photo gallery: Not So Innocent Objects




























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CAN GLAM Sector News 18 Nov 23 Nov 2010

News from our @Can001 twitter feed

Where do good ideas come from? 1-6 • Ideas don’t come from watching television • Ideas sometimes come from listening to a lecture • Ideas often come while reading a book • Good ideas come from bad ideas, but only if there are enough of them • Ideas hate conference rooms, particularly conference rooms where there is a history of criticism, personal attacks or boredom • Ideas occur when dissimilar universes collide – I thought Seth Godin’s list of was a good way to start this weeks CAN news update there are more at http://bit.ly/dV3upr

Geocommons – this is an amazing development and probably my pick of the week as far as occupying my time. This is an online repository of all kinds of database which you can add in layers to make up your own geo-coded maps. I made up a quick one on Museum Attendance Europe 2008 at http://geocommons.com/maps/38095 and I am working on one for Locations of GLAM sector in Australia which will be great if I can get it to work.

Turing Papers a few weeks back I posted a link to Christie’s auction of these papers and on Tuesday Google announced it was contributing $100,000 to help Bletchley Park acquire them. http://is.gd/hF6oG

The British Library announces its adopt a book program http://adoptabook.bl.uk/

The Portable Film Festival, an online film festival filmink.com.au

Herbarium Information Systems Committee meeting in Christchurch NZ. Agenda and evolving meeting notes http://bit.ly/ckUF10

Australian Government funding for schools —the first comprehensive government appraisal of school funding since the early 1970s. In 2009, the Australian Government restructured its funding for schools, particularly for government schools, as a result of a new federal financial relations framework established by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) through the Intergovernmental Agreement on Federal Financial Relations. http://bit.ly/a09vG3

Sad News – fire destroys the Western Australian Town of Claremont library and council offices in Perth http://tinyurl.com/34ns9rv

Congratulations to Perth Zoo Category 1 Major Tourist Attraction Gold Medal, Western Australian Museum Geraldton & Silver medal WA Tourism. Category 2 Tourist Attractions Western Australian Museum – Geraldton http://fb.me/KvI7wXmL

iPhone Photography Accessories – mainly tripods etc. http://ow.ly/1a5VkB

Crash Course in Social Media for Community Engagement: 50 Tools and Methodologies slide show http://tinyurl.com/287yho2

Evolving Face of Community Care NSW Conference Sydney 2 May 2011 http://tiny.cc/al1sw@tricommunity

Position Vacant – HEAD OF CREATIVE LEARNING – Museum of Contemporary Art MCA – Sydney http://tinyurl.com/36nxqq9

Position Vacant – Director- Human Resources – Department of Culture & the Arts – Perth http://tinyurl.com/3×7tglh

Job – Curator Role at RMITs Design Hub Melbourne – http://tinyurl.com/38g2r5x

Job – CURATOR, HARRY BROOKES ALLEN MUSEUM OF ANATOMY AND PATHOLOGY Melbourne close 21 Nov – http://tinyurl.com/3yj7qen

Institute of Museum and Library Services selects 5 US libraries and 5 US museums for the 2010 National Medal see what they are up to at http://tinyurl.com/3ajceel

Australian National Data Service cranking up – http://ands.org.au/partner/connections.html

The History of Social Media: http://bit.ly/9929ai

Join designer Orla Kiely as she discusses the inspirations behind her vibrant pattern designs. Fri 3 Dec, 7-8.45pm. http://ow.ly/3comU

Interested in TV drama and doco funding? See Screen Australia’s new draft blueprint for funding http://tinyurl.com/25ak44g

EXHIBITION: Annie Leibovitz – A Photographer’s Life, starts today @ MCA http://www.mca.com.au http://bit.ly/13SkYA

Calling contemporary musicians who want to get a little experimental – Soundclash grants close 6 December http://bit.ly/aoBkOb

H.P. Lovecraft meets TINTIN? http://goo.gl/fb/5dnWR

The Nature of Connectedness on the Web http://bit.ly/9lVHkL

Art-youth-culture report and Arts Council response http://bit.ly/cgOfsb

A competition for urban photographers: HHT is running a competition with a Nikon D3100 up for grabs: http://bit.ly/aKq9GM

AUSTRALIAN ANTIQUARIAN BOOK FAIR was on 23 24 25 Nov Melbourne http://www.anzaab.com/anzaab/bookfair.cfm

University of technology Sydney – Design ’10 Exhibition showcases the… http://fb.me/OCh1IhNU

Scientist Fenner dies aged 95 http://bit.ly/9Xv5Cq

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CAN GLAM Sector News 28 Oct–3 Nov 2010

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The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) was established on 1 November 2010 by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner Act 2010 and they have published a paper ‘Towards an Australian Government Information Policy – Issues Paper which is worth a read.

Regional Australians have new opportunities to participate in hands-on arts and cultural activities that explore community issues through their local festival. Minister for the Arts announces Festival Australia funding for 37 new community festivals. Find out more http://bit.ly/8XmYS3 . Arts Minister Simon Crean said local Festivals are opportunities for communities to come together to have fun, and also to share and participate in cultural and artistic experiences. Today I am announcing $540,000 from the Festivals Australia program for 37 new and diverse festivals projects that range from career development for young Indigenous hip hop performers, workshops for singers and songwriters, MP3 guides to community art spaces, and shopping trolley art works that raise awareness of homelessness.

UNESCO-Aschberg is offering bursaries for young Artists with the deadlines ending Nov: http://bit.ly/cKXkrG Residencies in different arts disciplines available in countries around the world for artists aged 25-35. Residencies offered in Asia and Europe include:
• Visual Arts at Changdong National Art Studio, Korea
• Visual Arts & Creative Writing at Sanskriti Pratishthan, India
• Visual Arts & Design at Camac, France
• Visual Arts & Writing at Civitella Ranieri Centre, Italy
• Visual/ video arts, photography, architecture, animation at UNIDEE, Italy

The Australian Aviation Museum is featured in a new iphone app on Sydney Kids Activities by Nasda Studios http://fb.me/K0ufSt43

Museums Victoria has two positions advertised MV/6589 – Coordinator, Live Exhibits Grade 3; Value Range 2, This Vacancy is Full Time and Ongoing. Applications close: Wednesday 17 November 2010 ; MV/8027 – Senior Event Operations Coordinator Grade 3; Value Range 1 This Vacancy is Full Time and Ongoing Applications close: Monday 15 November 2010.

An interesting book – Electronic Business Revolution: Opportunities and Challenges in the 21st Century – by Peter Cunningham et al. http://amzn.to/8ZKQue

An interesting account of how Mosman Council has been using Social media can be found at http://tinyurl.com/23ofqvw

The CeBIT’s Gov 2.0 conference was also held and you can follow the tweets on this by using the #gov20cebit.

Sound Summit is looking for Festival Co-Directors on 2011 and 2012 festivals http://bit.ly/aY26nn Monday 15th November 2010.

Some great coverage of Phar Lap’s Melbourne Cup win in 1930 http://bit.ly/cCQ91e

World Wildlife Foundation posts 7 photos on Facebook in the album “20% of vertebrates (back-boned species) face extinction risk” http://fb.me/L9jEWkLv

The State Library is hosting a free exhibition of original artwork by the revered poet, Kahlil Gibran, from 4 Dec 2010. http://bit.ly/d17blg

The South Australian Zoo saw the arrival of their long awaited Sea-lion pup. The first pictures http://bit.ly/aCl4O8

EveryBlock partner API goes online to provide access to the latest neighbourhood news 24/7 – across 16 cities Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Portland, San Francisco ,San Jose, Seattle, Washington, http://tinyurl.com/3axwnu3

Senator Kate Lundy was named one of the Top 10 People Who Are Changing the World of Internet and Politics & topped the top 10, winning the International eDemocracy Award at the World e.Gov Forum in Paris. Craig Thomler online director at the Department of Health and Ageing & runs a blog called eGov AU, and was also named. Charlotte Harper’s article http://tinyurl.com/38ah2qj

Archiving the Web: Papers from the International Web Archiving Workshop (Vienna 2010) has put some papers online although 1 link appears faulty the others include: Archiving web video – http://liwa-project.eu/images/publications/ArchivingWebVideo.pdf , Terminology Evolution Module for Web Archives http://liwa-project.eu/images/publications/TerminologyEvolutionModule.pdf , Archiving Data Objects using Web Feeds http://liwa-project.eu/images/publications/ArchivingDataObjects.pdf

The Powerhouse Museum have just completed WaterWorx their first in-gallery iPad interactive http://bit.ly/aNj5v6

To support the development of inclusive practices and opportunities for all people with a disability living in NSW, Accessible Arts has developed a Rural and Regional Engagement Strategy 2010-12 http://bit.ly/bpn00H

Australia Council appoints Anzarts for Australian Performing Arts Market scoping study http://bit.ly/dlsLGc

Release of the draft for the proposed new National Arts curriculum http://icio.us/5wfrah
Australia’s average online connection speed is 2.8 megabits per second (Mbps) ranking it 48th in the world according to the Akamai Report: http://bit.ly/aNrXPm
A fantastic interactive graphic illustrating the scale of the universe by Cary Huang & Michael Huang http://htwins.net/scale/

South Australian Library & Information Network (SALIN) Committee wrote to tell us about the library infested with Zombies see Attack of the Zombrarians they even have their own calendar http://bit.ly/9iBR8u

Simon Collins wins the inaugural Hurstville Library St George Art Award.
An article on the end of textbooks as we know them http://bit.ly/aacxSy

One less login – you can now sign up for Flickr using your Google Account! http://cot.ag/8XGibT

The Smithsonian’s open source web development tools Omeka beta launches http://bit.ly/bBShhX

A nice BBC story on Ludwig Koch, the man pioneered nature sound recording: http://is.gd/gpbAX

Paper from Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission inquiry on Victorian tourism industry scopes public submissions http://tinyurl.com/392wt9d

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Arts & Culture in Australia: Statistical Overview (Part 1)

Keyboard, photograph by Geoff Barker, 2010

On the 19 October the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) published its 8th Australian Bureau of Statistics report on Arts and Culture in Australia. Drawn from a range of sources, including the CAN-Partners list of Museums and Galleries. It is an attempt to provide a unified body of information relating to the those industries defined as being in the ‘Heritage’ or ‘Arts’ sector.

This post is my attempt to compile a bit of an overview of this rather lengthy report and hopefully encourage others to plumb its depths to drag out some of the interesting stats to be found in it. The main area that attracted my attention was Part B Profiles of the Cultural Sectors – 8.0 Museums, 10.0 Libraries and Archives, 12.0 Performing Arts, 13.0 Music & 14.0 Visual Arts and Crafts.

The first thing I noted from the table on page 11 – AVERAGE TIME SPENT ON SELECTED CULTURE AND LEISURE ACTIVITIES – was that in 2006 the GLAM sectors main competitor for leisure activity was still the TV with Australians over 15 spending just under 3 hours each day watching or listening to TV. The most popular cultural venue was the cinema and this perhaps accounts for the table noting that Australians spent triple the length of time visiting entertainment and cultural venues than they did attending Sports Events, although presumably many, like myself, tend to vegetate at home and watch the event on TV. Also I wasn’t sure if this included Australians visiting overseas events.

But even so it is an interesting statistic given the general perception that Australians would prefer to attend a sporting event rather than a cultural one. The reason for this is perhaps the definition of cultural venues which include 36% visiting zoological parks and aquariums 34% percent visiting local, state and national libraries, 34% visiting botanic gardens, and 25% visiting a popular music concert. Art galleries and Museums were next in line in terms of attendance.

It should also be noted that across the board women were more likely to attend a cultural venue with the visit to the library showing the largest discrepancy. In 2006, the ABS Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey found that reading was a favourite activity for 61% of people aged over 15 years. The activity was a favourite for 73% of females surveyed – compared with this sad indicator my genders general bookish interests – 50% of males.

Strangely in the period leading up to middle age (i.e. 44), people were more likely to visit museums and after this Art Galleries assumed the ascendance. I was surprised because of it is often the museum that is associated with the older market and the Art Gallery with the younger one … Hmmmmm? Also noted that Museums tended to get more one-off visits while galleries, libraries get more repeat visits.

The second table discussed is the 2009 OVERSEAS CULTURAL AND HERITAGE VISITORS. Arranged by activity we find 57% attending Museums and Art Galleries but the greatest number 62% visit historical/heritage buildings, sites or monuments. I’m thinking the Sydney Opera House and other major heritage building may have been responsible for quite a few of these however.

Australians took around 66 million overnight visits and 9.3 million of these visited: the theatre, a concert, performing arts, museum, art gallery, Art, craft workshops, festivals, fair, cultural event, Aboriginal displays site or community, or a historical/heritage building, site or monument.

When it comes to government funding the main part of Federal revenue, $1,391,100,000 goes to Radio and TV services while State and Territory Government spends the most on Performing Arts venues $241,200,000. By comparison table 4.1 with 2008-2009 figures shows

Heritage Expenditure by Australian Government in millions followed by %
Archives 105.4
Libraries 60.0
Environmental heritage 207.0
Other museums and cultural heritage 266.0
Art museums 91.5
Total heritage 729.8

Heritage Expenditure by State and territory Government in millions
Archives 65.9
Libraries 337.4
Environmental heritage 1,397.0
Other museums and cultural heritage 338.3
Art museums 175.2
Total heritage 2 313.8

Arts Expenditure by Australian Government in millions
Other arts 136.3
Multimedia 6.2
Film and video production and distribution 115.5
Radio and television services 1,391.1
Design 0.2
Visual arts and crafts 33.4
Music composition and publishing 0.7
Performing arts venues __
Other performing arts 7.0
Music theatre and opera 24.0
Dance 21.6
Drama 28.3
Music performance 59.3
Literature and print media 31.2
Total arts 1 854.7

Arts Expenditure by State and Territory Government in millions
Other arts 124.2
Multimedia 5.9
Film and video production and distribution 122.7
Radio and television services 1.7
Design 4.9
Visual arts and crafts 41.1
Music composition and publishing 0.5
Performing arts venues 241.2
Other performing arts 34.6
Music theatre and opera 16.9
Dance 18.2
Drama 30.1
Total state and territory government 3 033.7

Totals for Heritage and Arts expenditure were as follows: Australian Government 2,584.500,00 and State and Territory Government 3,033,700,000.

There are % figures on this but I have not included them as I wasn’t sure how they were worked out but if any one else can work out how they are arrived at please let me know.

I’ll leave it here for now and try to get out Part 2 on the report next week. All the best Geoff.

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CAN – GLAM Sector News – 20 Oct – 27 Oct 2010

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Lots to report on from the Can001 twittersphere this week

One of the most useful documents tweeted this week was released on the 19th Oct by the Australian Bureau of Statistics – A statistical overview of Arts and Culture in Australia – http://tiny.cc/ztcp4

Also this week we were finally given an erudite answer to the most pressing question on the internet – Why Does the Web Love Cats?

The Australian Film Institute Award 2010 Nominees were announced http://tiny.cc/itd9s

Playing Australia, the Australian Government’s national performing arts touring program, Round 37 is open http://bit.ly/2Yf1E5 - This program is designed to assist the touring of performing arts across state and territory boundaries. A principal objective of Playing Australia is to support tours to regional and remote Australia and is open to theatre, music, opera, dance, puppetry and circus.

Digital Culture Fund deadline is coming up (Nov 22nd) a new round of the Geek in Residence program about to open- Ozco’s artsdigitalera want to talk about your idea for a digital arts project or a geek in residence placement? Adelaide 29 Oct – 1 Nov; Brisbane 3-4 Nov; Perth 8-9 Nov; Melb 10-12 Nov; Hobart 15-16 Nov; Syd 18 Nov – more details – http://bit.ly/digf2f

Had the pleasure of vicariously watching Tim O’reilly deliver his keynote @ Xinnovate conference on 26th. Some great ideas and the O’reilly innovation plan: innovating starts with fun – think of a great idea that could change the world – work on the business model – build an ecosystem – i.e. apple gives money to people to develop app platforms for its iphone – revalue people

I also came across this nice idea – a youtube version of the British Library exhibition on the stories behind 15 21st century British inventions. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klzwXrGOD8I

Work of Aussie film photographers Greig Fraser (Let me in) & Adam Arkapaw (Animal Kingdom) showcased in October edition of American Cinematographer.

The Australian Maritime Museum listed a few new upcoming events including Matthew Flinders Return: 200th anniversary symposium, 31 October 2010, Bligh: Master Mariner – with Rob Mundle, Friday 12 November, behind-the-scenes at Wharf 7, 24th November – more at http://bit.ly/cur8fk

The 17th Biennale of Sydney advertised an exciting role to join the Biennale team as the Nick Waterlow OAM Curatorial Fellow. A unique opportunity to work closely with high calibre national and international artists, arts workers and venues in a fast-paced and exciting festival. Applications close Monday, 22 November. http://bit.ly/9eUdbZ

ABC Innovation, Sydney, is also looking for PHP/Python developer to work on exciting new mapping and education projects – close date 5 November – http://bit.ly/90JRgn

ABC Arts also posted a video of Gilbert & George in conversation with Virginia Trioli on Artscape Monday, 22 February 2010, video at http://bit.ly/c4F3XU

The Perth Institute of Performing Arts (PICA) performance space to continue operations into 2011 – http://tinyurl.com/38ajbsm

Darren Beauchamp John Hillier from AGIMO (Australian Government Information Management Office) present their slideshow at the IPV6 summit. What is this – well apparently Internet Protocol Version 6 offers the world simpler networks, enhanced mobility and security, and almost unlimited addresses for the next-generation Internet. – see more at – http://bit.ly/9dOz2K

The Museum of Islamic Art in Old Cairo opens after seven-year renovation project http://bbc.in/cUGxpd

Launch of “Sciences& curiosities at the Court of Versailles” – an exhibition on the scientific exhibitions held in Versailles – http://bit.ly/900vWT

A selection of impressive nature photographs – From the Guardian – top 40 – A polar bear dance, a doomed thresher shark, and a crowd of giant tortoises gathered at dawn in the Galapagos etc – http://ow.ly/2XQMt

Finalists from Guggenheim’s ‘Play’ a biennale of Creative video – saw 25 selected from 23,000 entries from around the globe including one Australian – the amazing work of Keith Loutit for his Bathtub IV – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Us6kDalkqgM – more about the event http://bit.ly/b3P1aH

This is a link to check whether your Gallery Library Archive or Museum is listed in the world catalogue registry http://www.worldcat.org/registry/institutions/

Interesting – Edmodo – a social learning network for teachers, students, schools and districts provides free classroom communication for teachers, students and administrators on a secure social network. – http://www.edmodo.com/

This is a nice list of 200 old occupation definitions compiled by Jane Hewitt – @familyresearchr http://tinyurl.com/3×4ktdk

The National Library of Australia has acquired a rare account of an 1840s attack on a group of Indigenous people by white squatters in Queensland http://bit.ly/aZTPw9

More accolades for the sector as a librarian enters the Guinness Book of Records for collecting 22.1 grams of ‘belly button fluff ‘ – http://bit.ly/9zEsZ8

UK Museums – Renaissance in the Regions – An independent review of Renaissance, published in July 2009, endorsed the flagship funding programme as the most important intervention in English non-national museums since the Museums Act of 1845. Says the £300m invested since the programme started in 2002 has helped transform the regional museum sector across the country and boost visitor figures. 15 mill visitors to these hub museums per annum up 18.5% since 2002/03 http://tinyurl.com/nn6bgu

Librarians – Social Networking – Facebook – an interesting outline in the Course Wiki: http://bit.ly/a1onjI

National Museum of Australia has posted the ‘Caring for collections’ symposium – Audio downloads of speakers – http://www.nma.gov.au/audio/series/collections-2010-series

Open Library – open source – book reader – http://github.com/openlibrary/bookreader#readme

Melbourne Museum Exhibition has minerals online in 3D at http://tinyurl.com/36kjnvj

Australia Library Technicians Conference Perth Sept 2011 call for papers http://conferences.alia.org.au/libtec2011/call.html

A guide for using statistics for evidence based policy, 2010 http://bit.ly/a8yZGp

Mackay Council – Ooralea Local Area Plan – online consultation process up and running http://ow.ly/2WS44

Australian Poetry – two positions – NSW director and National Admin Assistant – details: http://ow.ly/2XtPz

An interface built by Tim Sherratt at the National Archives of Australia for searching on their fact sheets – [tip - make sure you click on the fact sheet links] http://bit.ly/bSg18L

Next Records Managers Forum for NSW Public Sector on ICT and records partnerships – Nov 8 – Register here: http://bit.ly/97NyBq

Interesting new museum experiences from launch of Powerhouse Museum Collection database API – Amped – http://tinyurl.com/2dn53bx

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Possum skin cloaks can be found on CAN

Possum skin cloaks offer a vehicle to learn about Aboriginal people’s stories and their connection to country. The Collections Australia Network (CAN) has been building an online database of possum and wallaby skin cloaks and rugs. The designs and motifs etched onto the cloaks pass on stories about a community’s ancestors.

In this video, artist Vicki Couzens explains her designs while telling the story of her grandmother’s country in Victoria’s Western Districts. When Ms Couzens made the cloak, she wanted to connect to the spirits of the Gunditjmara Tribe. She wanted to get to know her ancestor’s land and create an awareness of the unseen. Ms Couzens offers an insight into the culture and meaning behind the possum skin cloak revitalisation project that began in 1999.



Over the last 12 years, five women have worked hard to bring the tradition of making possum skin cloaks back into Aboriginal communities. The work of contemporary Indigenous artists Debra and Vicki Couzens, Lee Darroch and Treahna Hamm have been acquired into public collections — the cloaks have been recognised as artworks that tell stories about their ancestors. Cultural Collections and Community Engagement Manager Amanda Reynolds and Koorie Heritage Trust Curator and artist Maree Clarke have supported the revitalisation project so that communities are able to make their own connections to country.

The Collections Australia Network (CAN) invited the collecting organisations that acquired traditional and contemporary possum skin cloaks to upload the catalogue entries onto CAN. This means that by searching ‘possum skin cloak’ or ‘wallaby skin cloak’, researchers, curators and the general public can discover where the cloaks are cared for and learn more about the cultural stories behind them.

This project evolved while planning a trip to the Albury City LibraryMuseum. Collections Co-ordinator Bridget Guthrie was keenly promoting the four cloaks in the Museum collection by artist Treahna Hamm. Albury has the largest number of cloaks in its collection of any cultural organisation in Australia. This not only reflects the Indigenous tradition in the Riverina area but also the strength of Ms Hamm’s career as a contemporary artist who depicts trade routes in pre-settlement times, as well as sharing country, totem and personal markings.

Possum and wallaby skin cloaks, possum and wallaby skin rugs and a platypus skin cape in collections across Australia on CAN
*AIATSIS – Drawings of the Maiden’s Punt (1853) and Lake Condah (1872) possum skin cloaks not accessible on CAN

*Albury City LibraryMuseum: Four possum skin cloaks made by Treahna Hamm and the Indigenous community

*Australian National Maritime Museum: Treahna Hamm’s Dhungala (Murray River) Creation Story, 2006

*Australian Museum: Possum-skin cloak, Maureen Reyland (Mor Mor), Commonwealth Games revitalisation project, 2006

*Koorie Heritage Trust: Ten possum skin cloaks not accessible on CAN

*Museum Victoria: The original Maiden’s Punt (1853) and Lake Condah (1872) possum skin cloaks and work by Lee Darroch are part of Museum Victoria’s collection not accessible on CAN.

*National Gallery of Australia: William Barak drawings depicting Indigenous people wearing possum skin cloaks in 1824
Badhang (possum skin cloak), Michael McDaniel, 2008

*National Gallery of Victoria: Possum skin cloaks by contemporary artists Euphemia Bostock, Treahna Hamm and Lorraine Northey-Connelly

*National Museum of Australia: Collection of possum skin cloaks and works on paper

*State Library of Victoria: Tuuram gundidj possum skin cloak by artist Vicki Couzens, 2004

*South Australian Museum: Wallaby skin cloak and rug

*University of Ballarat Art and Historical Collections: Possum skin cloak made by university students, 2002. The story is based on Eugene Von Guerard’s painting ‘Barter’ (1854) which depicts the exchange of possum skins between indigenous peoples and white settlers.

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Benchmarking digital repositories: Chloe Brookes-Kenworthy

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Chloe Brookes-Kenworthy wants to set a benchmark for good practice in digital repositories. To do this she is asking all collecting agencies across the country to complete an online survey on their practices. The Edith Cowan University research student also works as the assistant archivist (metropolitan), at the Lands and Property Management Authority, in Sydney.

‘I want to determine what good practices exist in digital repositories in cultural heritage. I want to establish if there are any agencies that have fully considered making their repository ‘trustworthy’, according to TRAC – the Trustworthy Repositories Audit and Certification: Criteria and Checklist,’ Ms Brookes-Kenworthy said. She selected TRAC for its comprehensiveness and potential to evolve into an industry standard.

Ms Brookes-Kenworthy believes that if people are aware of an industry benchmark when building a digital repository, they will have the capacity to expand. Not everyone wants to be a trusted repository as they have different commitments and requirements but it is important to have the option to extend practices and services in the future.

The results of individual agencies who complete the survey will remain confidential. Ms Brookes-Kenworthy is aware that people’s expectations of their results could be artificially low as many people are working alone and feel they are not doing a very good job when quite often the opposite is true.

Opt-in invitations are being sent to list servs and all managers of digital repositories are encouraged to respond. Email Chloe Brookes-Kenworthy if you would like her to send you the opt-in email. You can also complete the survey over the phone as an alternative to online.

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Repatriation and collections online

Should cultural institutions be primary caretakers or should families be encouraged to look after their own heritage. Is a museum or archive’s role to collect unique material for the benefit of society or should private collectors share the expense of the storage and conservation. The Sisters of Mercy West Perth, in Western Australia, has recently faced this very quandry which resulted in the photographic album being returned to the family. Before repatriation, the images were digitised and put online through the Collections Australia Network (CAN).

GirlposingPortrait of student of St Brigid’s College, Perth, Layfayette Studios, c1934

Annie Medley found a beautiful black album in the Sisters of Mercy West Perth archives, its pages filled with silver gelatin prints of convent school life at St Brigid’s Lesmurdie. The album belonged to student Betty Phillips who, after caring for it for 70 years, decided to donate it to the archives with the belief that her family would not care for it. But in 2009, Mrs Phillips’ children asked for the book to be returned to the family. The sisters honoured this request but it has been a great loss to the archive collection. Ms Medley, a congregation archivist at the Sisters of Mercy, started researching the history of the book and its carefully composed images made by Layfayette Studio in the 1930s.

These investigations have raised questions such as – Could the album have been used to advertise the school to prospective students and their parents or was it made specifically for Betty Phillips? What is unusual about the album, she says, is that it is the only one known to exist. She encourages anyone to come forward who knows of another example of this documentation from the between the war period.

As soon as the family asked for the album to be returned, Ms Medley worked hard to produce high quality scans of the photographs and photographed the album before repatriating the unique material. This week the Collections Australia Network (CAN) put the photographs online so that this remarkable record of lifestyle in a 1930s convent can be accessed by other students and the Sisters of Mercy across the world.
dormitory
Interior of boarders bedroom of St Brigid’s College Lesmurdie. Layfayette Studios, c1934.

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Shelf Life: woollen swimsuits and beauty pageants

‘Quite a few people come to the Research Library from the theatre, designers, artists and authors, gallery owners, antique dealers. It’s a dream getting all of these interesting people.’

Costume and set designers can often be found with their heads buried in a book in the Powerhouse Museum Research Library, looking into the history of costumes and props for their next production. Fashion designer Kit Willow-Podgornik has spent hours poring over costume books and periodicals, researching designs for her fashion shows in New York or Milan.


Powerhouse Museum research librarians Karen Johnson, Dimity Holt and Philippa Rossiter

Research Librarian Philippa Rossiter, together with colleague Dimity Holt, facilitates Museum curators’, exhibition designers’ and editors’ collection research, but some of the most interesting explorations come from the public.

It was the partnership with Little Leaf Pictures in the pre-production research for the ABC children’s television series My Place that captured the imagination of Research Library staff. Based on the classic story book by Nadia Wheatley and Donna Rawlins, My Place is the story of a Sydney terrace house over 100 years as seen through the eyes of the different children who lived there.



‘We had to find examples of clothing for each decade from 1888 to 1988, while reflecting the changes of interior décor in a terrace house over that time,’ Philippa said.

‘We needed to find product labels in colour so we looked in store catalogues to get the colours right, so then the artists would reproduce them. We researched domestic detail in depth, such as the sort of bread people had, or containers for milk and eggs.

The hardest things to find were examples of packaging for fireworks for the year 1911. Surprisingly, I found that today’s fireworks packaging is not so different from what was used at that time.



‘You do learn a lot. It is really like living back in those days. It is a very rewarding job because people are so focused on what they are looking for and so pleased with what you give them.’

Aviva Ziegler (two-time Logie winning director), Melissa Hines and Veronica Fury conducted extensive research in preparation for Fury Productions’ two-part series for SBS entitled The Glamour Game. Screened on SBS in November 2007, this series investigates the evolving face of Australian beauty and fashion, with the first episode looking at the history of the Miss Australia Quest and the second episode examining the progress of fashion in Australia, from Christian Dior’s New Look of 1948 to the present day.


Young women posing in swimsuits on sand dune, glass lantern slide, 1940s, Flickr Commons / State Library and Archives of Florida.

Diving into someone’s field of interest and swimming around with them through the material on offer at the Powerhouse Museum Research Library can produce some very unexpected results. Fashion designer and Queensland University of Technology PhD Candidate, Christine Schmidt, was researching the history of women’s bathing costumes between 1900 and 1950. While Philippa worked alongside her, the pair found a 1935 knitting pattern for a woollen swimsuit. Christine had the costume knitted up and found a mistake in the pattern and so knitted another one without the mistake to compare. After that, swimming costume knitting patterns started coming out of the woodwork. This led to an exhibition of the completed woollen costumes.

Make an appointment with Philippa Rossiter and let her know what you are looking for so she has time to think about what material you may need for when you arrive. Philippa and her two colleagues, Dimity Holt and Karen Johnson, are adept at combining their individual knowledge of this wonderful collection and finding material from unexpected subject areas.

Contact details for library staff are: Philippa Rossiter phone (02) 9217 0258; Dimity Holt (02) 9217 0259; Karen Johnson (02) 9217 0533.

Check out the Powerhouse Museum Research Library blog to learn about the range of research inquiries these professionals field.

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Not So Innocent Objects: a digital story

Not So Innocent Objects is a five-minute video threading stories about seemingly ordinary objects together to reveal their dark and often emotionally-charged nature. The Collections Australia Network invited Victoria Police Museum Public Programs Curator Kate Spinks to develop a concept based on the theme of ‘crime and punishment’. She came up with the concept Not So Innocent Objects to illustrate that collections often comprise of unremarkable objects with intriguing stories.

 

 

CAN Outreach wanted to start a project that actively worked with institutions of all sizes to upload their collections to the national heritage collection database. Once Kate sent through the working concept and five objects from the Victoria Police Museum collection, CAN invited nine other institutions to submit material. This project enabled CAN to collaborate with galleries, libraries, archives and museums. The video showcases a small selection of the 50 items sourced from the ten organisations. A Google Earth tour will also be made over the next few days to explore the full collection of the not so innocent objects uploaded to CAN. It can be seen on the collectionsaustralia YouTube channel.

 

The participating institutions are the Justice and Police Museum (Sydney), State Records NSW (Sydney), The Rocks Discovery Museum (Sydney), Mackay Regional Library (Queensland), Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (Launceston), National Gallery of Australia (Canberra), Australian Federal Police Museum (Canberra), Museum of Old and New Art (Hobart), National Museum of Australia (Canberra) and the Victoria Police Museum (Melbourne).

 

CAN made this movie using the free software – iMovie and Google Earth. The Powerhouse Museum’s creative media training suite Thinkspace recorded the voiceover but this can be also done using the free software Audacity and the microphone on your computer.

 

CAN is now working with the National Museum of Australia senior curator Richard Reid in sourcing success stories about Irish professionals in Australia. This project will help the National Museum of Australia source material for its Irish in Australia exhibition to open on St Patrick’s Day 2010. More importantly, it will help institutions of all sizes to promote their own collections. Once the Irish professionals story has been posted on YouTube in early October, institutions participating in the project will be able to embed the video into their own websites or play it in their exhibition space alongside the items they have submitted to CAN.

 

For more information on how to be part of the CAN digital stories projects, email Sarah Rhodes.

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Turning the Global Financial Crisis into an opportunity: National Public Galleries Summit

Raise Your Voice: National Public Galleries Summit, last week in Townsville, asked it’s delegates how the Global Financial Crisis can be turned into an opportunity to achieve sustainability, creativity and resilience.

Robyn Archer gave the keynote address titled Lightness Agility Resilience: clues for survival in the 21st century. The talk was based on an essay she wrote for Essentially Creative, issue 23 of the Griffith Review. She emphasised that this is the time for grants to be redirected from those arts agencies that have become inefficient due to long-term funding to new and dynamic projects.

The closing hypothetical discussed this concept of Resilience in terms of what ideas institutions could take home. The panel Manchester Council Director of Culture Virginia Tandy, head of the Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of AucklandJonathan Mane-Wheoki and art critic John MacDonald, together with summit delegates, offered ideas on that could be taken back on a positive step forward.

The suggestions were:
* During a time when there are a multitude of niche interest groups rather than a general public, putting collections online allows specialised interest communities to form.
* Local councils should stop the restriction of social networking sites like Flickr and YouTube that are valuable tools for reaching new audiences.
* Institutions should look at what is in their collections rather than sourcing material from other organisations.
* Transfer part of a collection to another institution if they have better resources and staff to care for it.
* Promote stories about collections in how they have impacted on people’s lives. For example, Sir Norman Foster decided on his architecture career after finding a book on Frank Lloyd Wright in the library.
* Larger galleries and museums should help regional galleries attract corporate sponsorship so they can offer free admission to traveling exhibitions.
* Recognise that people give money to people not institutions.
* Use a collection creatively to attract donors.
* Network to compensate for a lack of resources.
* Engage with the local community by establishing what they are already interested in.
* Employ people from the local community for front of house roles so they will promote the area.
* Ensure there is career progression for staff.
* Administer ideas quickly and simply. Minimise reports, documentation and committees.
* Be positive.

The summit was a great success, particularly in terms of regional galleries and service providers, artists and curators sharing ideas and forging valuable relationships. Summits like these help build a supportive community of practice. Congratulations Museums and Galleries Services Queensland on putting on a well-run conference with such a warm and friendly atmosphere and thank you Frances Thomson, director of Perc Tucker Gallery, for being a wonderful host. Recordings of the talks will be available on the MGSQ website over the next few weeks. They also have social networking running on their Facebook page.

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Copyright series 1/3: What are the copyright issues surrounding galleries putting collections online?

Viscopy, the Australian Copyright Council and the Creative Commons Clinic share their different views on how artists and galleries should negotiate copyright. This three-part series is being published in support of the National Public Galleries Summit in Townsville this week, of which CAN is an official sponsor.

Viscopy
Whilst galleries and museums may own or have on loan works of art, it does not follow that they will also own the copyright in those works which are protected by copyright law. Determining whether or not a work is protected by copyright is quite simple: the work is protected if its creator is still alive, or if the creator died after 1 January 1955, or in the case of photographs, if the photograph was taken after 1 January 1955. Once copyright is established, and assuming no exceptions to the law apply, the first issue galleries must consider when putting collections online is obtaining permission from the creator or copyright owner to reproduce and communicate the work.


Michael Riley, Untitled, from the series cloud (feather), 2000, © The Estate of Michael Riley. Licensed by Viscopy, 2009.

If a licence is granted, galleries and museums will usually need to ensure that:

Reproductions of the work are as faithful as possible to the original.
The work is correctly attributed to its creator.
Works are protected from third party infringements (for example, by including a copyright disclaimer on the website and limiting file size).
They have allowed sufficient provision in their budget to pay for a copyright licence.

Viscopy represents a huge number of Australian and international artists many of whose works form part of Australia’s public collections. We work closely with a number of small and large museums which want to make their collections available online.
We aim to make the copyright licensing process efficient, simple and affordable for customers, whilst still protecting and valuing our members’ work.

Viscopy:

Is unique in Australia in providing customers with a one stop shop for some of the world’s most iconic artists
Clear rights instantly in most cases
Offers annual licenses which are very cost effective and allow the museum to upload works at their own pace

Viscopy is committed to working with museums to continually improve our licensing services.

Joanna Cave, Chief Executive Officer, Viscopy
Email Viscopy for advice.

Creative Commons
As those on the ground know, the single biggest cost in trying to put collections online is usually copyright clearance. The vast majority of material held within most Australian institutions will not be cleared for online access, and there will often be large amounts of material for which the copyright status cannot be identified and copyright owners cannot be contacted (ie orphaned works). In this environment, the legal barriers to putting your collection online often seem insurmountable for individual institutions.


Jessica Coates, Project Manager, Creative Commons Clinic

One of the best things the government could do to assist collecting institutions moving into the digital age is to provide increased exceptions or legislative permissions schemes for minimum online access initiatives (eg provision of thumbnails or low resolution catalogues) and orphaned works.

However, this doesn’t mean that individual institutions have to wait for legislative change before they can do anything. There’s lots of interesting work being done with ‘low-hanging fruit’ in collections – such as material that is in the public domain, that has a single copyright owner who can be partnered with, that is created by the museum, or that is new to the collection (so appropriate clearances can be obtained). Successful projects such as the Flickr Commons and the increased viewership, user engagement and even improved sales that these initiatives have afforded for institutions provide good examples for those looking for ways in which they can make better use of their collections.

Jessica Coates, Project Manager, Creative Commons Clinic
Email Jessica Coates at the Creative Commons Clinic for advice.

Australian Copyright Council
A gallery will usually only be free to put up images of artworks where copyright in the artwork itself has expired and where it owns copyright in the image of that artwork (for example, because one of its employees has taken the photo). In other cases, it will usually need a clearance from the relevant copyright owner or collecting society (such as from Viscopy or the Aboriginal Artists Agency).

Where it¹s free to put an image online, a gallery should think strategically about what it will make available; where it will make it available; at what resolution; and on what terms.

A gallery will need to take extra care where an image contains Indigenous intellectual property or anything that may be sensitive to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people, but a gallery should act sensitively no matter what is in an image. By considering making images available only on its own website or on websites within the museum and gallery sector, a gallery has a greater chance of ensuring that the integrity of works in its collection is maintained and that online access to images is properly curated. This may not be possible where images are made available on websites outside the museum or gallery sector.

In deciding whether to make images available at a low or a high resolution, a gallery will need to take into account the extent to which it would like to exercise a degree of control over the downstream use of the images, particularly in light of the revenue stream such licensing represents for many galleries.

Last, galleries should clearly distinguish between making images in their collection available to be viewed online from licensing the subsequent reuse of those images. Where a gallery allows people to reuse online images, it should take care that the terms of the licence protect both its own reputation and the interests of its stake-holders ­ including the community on whose behalf the gallery has custody of the material.

Ian McDonald, Senior Legal Officer, Australian Copyright Council
Email the Australian Copyright Council for advice.

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Copyright series 2/3: Should artists be concerned about Creative Commons licences?

Viscopy, the Australian Copyright Council and the Creative Commons Clinic share their different views on how artists and galleries should negotiate copyright. This three-part series is being published in support of the National Public Galleries Summit in Townsville this week, of which CAN is an official sponsor.

Viscopy
Yes. Viscopy accepts that Creative Commons offer a legitimate alternative to more traditional forms of copyright licensing. Creators of some forms of copyright material such as academic research can find that open source licensing serves their needs very well. However, Viscopy does not believe that Creative Commons provides the right solution for artists when a museum or gallery is seeking permission to communicate copies of their works online.


Rick Amor, Roman Life, 2001, © Rick Amor. Licensed by Viscopy, 2009.

The simple if inconvenient truth is that artists need the royalties – however modest – which flow from copyright licences such as those made available by Viscopy. Creative Commons licences do not enable artists to earn anything from exploitations of their work. Artists also desire – quite reasonably – a degree of choice about how their work is exploited; something which is denied to them by most forms of Creative Commons licences.

Joanna Cave, Chief Executive Officer, Viscopy
Email Viscopy for advice.

Creative Commons
A lot of misinformation gets spread about Creative Commons licences – that they are anti-copyright, or anti-commercial. But when it comes down to it, they aren’t really very different from other copyright licences. Having a Creative Commons licence on your material doesn’t affect your ability to enforce your copyright against pirates or people who are using your materials in ways you have not approved – it simply provides an easy way for you to provide certain permissions in advance. In fact, there is anecdotal evidence that users are more likely to follow the terms of use for material under an simple and friendly licence than ‘all rights reserved’, if only because they find it easier to understand what’s expected of them. The licences are legally sound, have been examined by literally hundreds of lawyers internationally, and have been upheld in several court cases. And most importantly – they’re entirely voluntary.


Jessica Coates, Project Manager, Creative Commons Clinic

Creative Commons licensing can be a valuable tool for artists looking to take advantage of the new online business models that are having success in the music and film industries, or even just engage with their audiences on a different level. This is particularly the case for emerging and early career artists, for whom obscurity presents a bigger problem than piracy. But they are just a tool, and need to be used thoughtfully. Creative Commons licensing can be used for different materials in different ways. For example, non-commercial licensing of low resolution images can be a good way of increasing an artist’s profile without impacting on revenue streams from sales of original works, high quality prints or commercial reproductions. Or putting out a single artwork, a draft, or a sample for remixing can be a great way of engaging with audiences without reducing the value of the larger collection. The point is, Creative Commons aims to hand these decisions back to artists.

Jessica Coates, Project Manager, Creative Commons Clinic
Email Jessica Coates at the Creative Commons Clinic for advice.

Australian Copyright Council
As with any licence, an artist thinking about licensing their work under a CC licence has to read and fully understand both all the terms of the relevant licence and all the implications. They also need to think about what they want to achieve by licensing their work, and the extent to which the licence will help them get there.

An artist interested in using a CC licence needs in particular to consider that these licences are for the entire period of copyright (their lifetime plus 70 years). Things are moving very fast in the online world, and what might seem OK today, might not seem such a good idea even a couple of years down the track. Under a CC licence, however, you can¹t change your mind.

An artist would also need to look at how the CC licences allow their work to be used. Generally, the licences are very broad and in some cases unclear.
(It’s not particularly clear, for example, what types of uses might be prohibited by the “non-commercial” licences, and other people may well be able to make money using an artist’s work even if the CC licence is labelled “non-commercial”).

Artists should also assess what they might miss out on under a CC licence.
One thing would be any potential payment under the Copyright Act for use of their artworks by governments and educational institutions: governments, schools and similar organisations pay for electricity and for pens and pencils ­ why not also for images of art they are using? Another thing artists lose under a CC licence is a great deal of control over their work ­ the ability to decide on a case-by-case basis whether a particular use of their work is OK or not, based on who wants to use their work and what they want to do with it. Artists also potentially lose the ability to get feedback, as the CC licences don¹t impose any obligation to let an artist know their work is being used.

In particular, an artist should consider whether they should hold off licensing their work until someone asks them for a permission. An artist can put his or her own artwork onto their own website so people can see it without having to give other people any upfront licence to reuse their works, and if an artist is putting images onto a social media site (such as Flickr or MySpace), then just using a copyright notice and reserving rights will generally work just fine. (Generally, also give contact details, such as an email address, for people to use if they want permission). Artists should also take into account the fact that there are lots of provisions in the Copyright Act that allow other people to use their material without permission – including for reporting news, for criticism or review and for educational purposes – so they don’t really need to license these uses themselves.

Last, if an artist wants to license their work, they should consider becoming a member of Viscopy ­ a non-profit organisation that has lots of experience in licensing artworks on behalf of its members.

Ian McDonald, Senior Legal Officer, Australian Copyright Council
Email the Australian Copyright Council for advice.

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Copyright series 3/3: What do artists need to be aware of when licensing artworks to galleries?

Viscopy, the Australian Copyright Council and the Creative Commons Clinic share their views on how artists and galleries should negotiate copyright. This three-part series is being published in support of the National Public Galleries Summit in Townsville this week, of which CAN is an official sponsor.

Viscopy
The law is clear that the copyright belongs to the creator in the first instance. It is time-limited in order to realise benefits to the creator during his or her lifetime and for a limited period following death. Once copyright expires in a creative work, it enters the public domain and may be exploited freely by any individual or organisation. Public domain works exist in most public collections; in some cases, museums own very few or no works at all which are protected by copyright. In such cases, they are free to do as please.


Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Untitled (Awelye), 1994 (c) The Estate of Emily Kame Kngwarreye. Licensed by Viscopy, 2009

With respect to works which are currently protected by copyright, the law allows for copyright to be bought, sold or licensed for use. The right to receive remuneration arising from any of these transactions can be waived altogether. Unfortunately, some museums are taking advantage of their superior bargaining power by demanding that artists whose works they collect freely assign their rights or forgo their entitlement to a copyright royalty for any uses of their works the museum wishes to make. The justification for this is almost always financial. Of course we understand that museums often operate with limited funds. But then so do artists.

If museums are insistent on finding ways to avoid paying artists for the right to use their work, either through rights waivers or the imposition of Creative Commons licences, our question is this: how will creativity be funded?

In a changing information and knowledge environment museums need to be leaders in their field. Museums are important standard bearers, which would not exist but for the creative impulse in human beings. If guardians of our national culture and public heritage cannot be relied upon to support those artists who – often with significant personal sacrifice – enrich our lives so much, then who can?

Joanna Cave, Chief Executive Officer, Viscopy
Email Viscopy for advice.

Creative Commons
On the other hand, where material is in the public domain or has been created by or in collaboration with the institution, there are good arguments that institutions shouldn’t be too risk averse in their licensing. Although it is tempting to feel that as the ‘owner’ of a public domain work you need to protect it from ‘undesirable’ uses, this can lead to policies that undermine the value of our collective culture. After all, the whole point of copyright is that it eventually ends – creators have a monopoly for a certain period of time to allow them to earn a living, but after that time the work should go back to the commons so it can be used for the benefit of the whole community. If kids can play with Shakespeare, they should be able to play with material from their own national collections.


Jessica Coates, Project Manager, Creative Commons Clinic

Australia’s collecting institutions can be a valuable tool to reduce piracy by providing a source of safe material that can be legally reused by innovators, creators and educators, to name just a few. By taking advantage of new business models and audience engagement tactics, galleries should also be able to implement access policies for materials that they ‘own’ in ways that benefit the community and their institution.

Jessica Coates, Project Manager, Creative Commons Clinic
Email Jessica Coates at the Creative Commons Clinic for advice.

Australian Copyright Council
When a gallery acquires an artwork (whether from an artist or from a donor or auction house), it is usually only acquiring a physical item, and not any of the copyright in the work. In other words, just owning an artwork does not make a gallery a copyright owner.

There are, however, cases where a gallery will own copyright in works in its collection. One example is where an artist specifically bequeaths either copyright to a gallery or a hitherto ³unpublished² artwork. Another case is where the artist has assigned his or her copyright to a gallery or licensed the gallery to use images of the artwork in particular ways.

In my view, when it comes to copyright, artists and galleries should follow the ³best practice² guidelines and protocols published by the National Association for the Visual Arts (available at www.visualarts.net.au). Under these guidelines, a gallery should respect the copyright of the artist and ensure that these rights are respected by all parties and the general public. In particular, outside the exemptions under the Copyright Act, galleries should not expect artists to allow image reproduction without the payment of a reproduction fee ­ particularly where an exhibition catalogue is a commercial venture or where an image database is to be made available to the public. Under those guidelines, artists and galleries might nonetheless take into account the suggestions from the 2007 Museums & Galleries NSW NETS Touring contract that attempt to balance the interests of the artist and the interests of the gallery in relation to when an artist might allow images to be reproduced without a fee (see the guidelines for more information).

Note also that, although the point is not clear under Australian law for photos of two-dimensional artworks such as paintings and drawings, there may be a separate copyright in a photo of an artwork. This copyright will usually be owned either by the gallery or the photographer, depending on the circumstances and any relevant agreement, but will usually be subject to any underlying rights in the artwork depicted in the photo.

Ian McDonald, Senior Legal Officer, Australian Copyright Council
Email the Australian Copyright Council for advice.

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“What it was like watching Slim Dusty sing live?” and other stories …

Congratulations to the four CAN Partners for winning an MP3 player. More than 300 people filled out the CAN Outreach survey. Thank you to all of those people who supported CAN Outreach and provided valuable feedback.

The prizewinners have been given the choice of an MP3 player that plays video and a device that just records. Those who have chosen the recording function will be able to make podcasts and audio slideshows. Hopefully the prizewinners will upload stories to the CAN Outreach Blog so we can fully appreciate the tremendous value of regional collections.



Karlie Hawking
Community Museums Project Officer, Department of Planning and Community Development, Ballarat, Victoria
Karlie is the community museums project officer for Ballarat’s Planning and Commuity Development Department. She works with community institutions, like the Creswick Museum, in helping them preserve and interpret the town’s history. The Museum identified Jack Sewell’s wealth of knowledge as one of their most valuable assets and so Karlie is helping them capture his story.

Jack Sewell is one of Creswick’s treasures. He is a local historian who takes bus tours around the district – telling stories about the Australasian Mine Disaster and the characters involved. No-one else has the depth of knowledge he has of the township. It is Karlie Hawking’s job to help the Creswick Museum, document his experiences for the preservation of the community. As part of the interpretation plan she is working on with the community, she is building podcasts that can be downloaded onto iPods and mobile phones. That way the bus tours with Jack’s voice can be heard forever.

The Community Museums Pilot Program is a joint initiative between Department of Planning and Community Development and Arts Victoria. For more information about the Community Museums Pilot Program, email Karlie.


Wendy Birrell
Manager, Discover Eumundi Heritage & Visitor Centre, Sunshine Coast. Queensland
Body art carnivales are a far cry from the social history collection of first settler families the Eumundi Museum is famous for. Museum manager Wendy Birrell believes reflecting contemporary society will ensure the gallery stays relevant to its community. Wendy organised for the Australian Body Art Carnivale to be recorded, made into a DVD and posted on YouTube. Along with interviews collected during the festival, she sourced material from the local newspapers, professional cameramen and photographer’s work and even took her own camera onto the streets. ‘We covered the carnivale strongly because we want to focus on yesterday’s history,’ Wendy said.

Eumundi has famously focused on the first settler families in south-east Queensland. It set itself up as an information centre for genealogists and researchers – promoting its collection of 3000 photographs. The excellent quality of images can be attributed to the keen amateur photographers who lived in the area between 1890 and the 1940s. While Eumundi is one of the smallest museums on the Sunshine Coast, it is one of the most visited. Wendy intends to maintain the growth in visitor numbers by keeping the museum contemporary.

Email Wendy if you would like to discuss how small museums can stay relevant to their community.


Fiona Graham
Secretary, Scout Heritage Centre of Western Australia
As the Scout Heritage Centre of Western Australia catalogues its wonderful paraphenalia associated with boys-own adventures, it receive more donations. This involves provenance checks of beautifully handwritten logbooks with cartoons drawn in pen. Accessioning the newly designed scarf that represents another scout group that was recently set up in WA. Keeping up with history is secretary Fiona Graham’s main priority and she desperately needs the support of experienced volunteers. ‘People are forever donating historical artefacts. We are trying to record scout life as it happens but we are just catching up on the past,’ Fiona said.

The heritage centre does promote its collection through displays at libraries, councils and most recently at the Fremantle Arts Centre. Like many organisations across Australia, it has not had the resources to invest in technology. They need to upgrade old software, buy new computers and digitise photographs. In the meantime the MP3 player they won will be the perfect device to record oral histories of those people who drew the cartoons in the logbook.

Email Fiona to volunteer or support the Scout Heritage Centre of WA.


Barrie Brennan
Board member and volunteer, Australian Country Music Foundation, Tamworth, NSW
Country music fans often come into Tamworth’s Australian Country Music Foundation offering their memorabilia and photographs. The NSW foundation has had to teach the country music community how to be collectors and how to care for their own objects as there is too much material to be ingested into their collection. They have also started collecting oral histories from country music fans. So the MP3 player Barrie Brennan won on behalf of the organisation for being the 50th person to fill out the CAN Outreach survey, will be the ideal device to collect these visitor stories.

‘We see our role in encouraging people. Helping other people collect and save. We are trying to use our own museum staff and visitors to be a resource. We have this incredible network of people who have these links,’ Barrie said. ‘We ask them to share their story about the first Buddy Williams concert. What it was like watching Slim Dusty sing live.’

The country music foundation’s next major project is to digitise their photography collection. They hope there will be the potential to have access to major collections of photographs as part of that deal, such as Fairfax Media’s collection of country music photographs from The Northern Daily Leader. The foundation is relying on their current Community Heritage Grant submission to fund this proposal. They are optimistic as they have been awarded a CHG for significance and conservation in the past. Not bad for a 100% volunteer-run organisation.

Email Barrie if you would like to know how the Community Heritage Grants benefit the Australian Country Music Foundation.

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