Beyond the National Museum: Curating the Distributed Nation 

Thursday 31 October 2013 , 12.30-1.30pm
The Auditorium, Auckland War Memorial Museum
Auckland  , Auckland 
Free to attend

National Services Te Paerangi, in partnership with Museum and Heritage Studies, Victoria University; Museum Studies, Massey University; Museums Aotearoa; ICOM NZ and Auckland War Memorial Museum, is pleased to support this opportunity for museums, art galleries, and heritage and iwi organisations to engage with Simon Knell.

Beyond the National Museum: Curating the Distributed Nation

Around the world, most people do not live within easy reach of the national museum. Nevertheless, there is evidence to suggest that citizens believe national museums top be an essential component in nation making. In recent years, research agencies, university academics and politicians have become enamoured with the power of these institutions and, in response, an increasing number of these museums now tell the national story and display the material evidences of nationhood.

Rather naively, all this interest in these prestigious institutions has tended to sideline the provincial museum, yet there is strong evidence to suggest that if one is to use museology to build a nation of adaptable cohesive communities, then the provincial museum is a good place to start.

National identities are multifaceted and complex - a social, historical and geographical web of meanings - which are best realised through distributed acts of representation. Only through such nebulous acts of making can a nation gain a sophisticated understanding of itself to complement the essentialising narratives and glorious treasures that tend to define the national museum.

Who will I meet?

Simon Knell has been at the University of Leicester since 1992. He is now focused on the PhD programme and driving the School's research programmes forward. His research and teaching is focused on the production of museums and objects in various social, political and disciplinary contexts.

Simon’s current research is focused upon non-British contexts and the possibilities of comparative international study; understanding the museum as a culturally-situated concept rather than as a universalising notion. He is currently involved in an Australian Research Council funded project ‘Collecting institutions: Cultural diversity and the making of citizenship in Australia since the 1970s.’

Who is it for?

This seminar will be of interest to anyone who is working in, or in partnership with, museums, art galleries, and heritage and iwi organisations in New Zealand.

How do I sign up?

This seminar is free to attend, however space is limited.  If you’re planning to attend, please email us on to express your interest.