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Kato’alu (ceremonial basket), mid-19th century, Tonga

Previous talks and events

Watch the best of our talks and lectures series
We've shared some highlighted talks and lectures that you can watch or listen to from your device.


Board games in the ancient Greek world: Dr Stavros Paspalas

In the ancient Greek world board games were not always simply board games. An array of iconographic, literary and artefactual evidence is presented in this lecture so as to gain a deeper understanding of what board games may have meant to the ancients, both in life and death.

Glory on the plastic battlefield: Dr Hamish Cameron

This talk surveys recent board games drawing on the ancient world—especially the ancient Greek world—and examines some of the ways that these games reveal modern attitudes towards the ancient past.

Batteries not included: Candace Richards

This lecture explores the archaeology of board games popular in the Greek world from antiquity to today, examining what kinds of boards and playing pieces have been uncovered, including those from the Paphos Theatre Archaeological Project.

The publican and the daguerreotypist

Dr Elisa deCourcy and Dr Martyn Jolly, joined by Dr Donna West Brett, connect JW Newland’s palm-sized and cased image of Edward McDonald taken in Sydney in 1848 to the intricate local, imperial and global visual economies in which it was embedded.

Where are the Women in Eternity?

In this keynote lecture, Professor Gina Walker juxtaposed the stark reality of millennia of ignorance about earlier female figures and their authority as knowers in the context of sixty years of contemporary Feminist Historical Recovery that ‘Modern’ Women of the Past? Unearthing Gender and Antiquity celebrates.

Women in the present, women in the past

Dr Rachel Pope provides a perspective from the UK and Europe on how preventing women’s access to academia and the heritage sector, both historically, and in our contemporary workplace culture, has impacted our understanding of women in the past. 

Journeys through eastern Arnhem Land: Djalkiri Book Launch

Over three years Yolŋu elders and artists have worked with our curators to determine how their artwork, knowledge and Law is shown to visitors in an ambitious exhibition of over 300 works, 'Gululu dhuwala djalkiri: welcome to the Yolŋu foundations'. In celebration of our recent collaboration and close-to 100 year association we have made a series of films documenting our exhibition process and a richly illustrated book.

Artist talk with Judy Watson

Acclaimed Waanyi artist Judy Watson and Professor Jakelin Troy, Director of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research at the University of Sydney, discuss Judy's research and the process of creating her major new work, juguma, 2020.

The Making of ‘Animal Gods’

Behind every exhibition is a story of its making. Join curators Dr Jude Philp and Candace Richards for an in-depth exploration of  'Animal Gods: Classics and Classification'. The exhibiton explores the history of taxonomy and its intersection with the myths and legends from the classical world.


Being Collected 2020: When you become me - how collections can trigger collisions

Dr Jilda Andrews is a Yuwaalaraay woman, cultural practitioner and researcher based in Canberra. In this lecture Dr Andrews looks at how ontological (the study of being) collisions can reveal a different kind of ‘culture work’ for museum practitioners today – and how collections of cultural material and knowledges can become sites for ongoing collision.

The Floating Box: JPW architects in conversation

Kiong Lee and Graeme Dix from Johnson Pilton Walker (JPW) discuss the process of designing the Chau Chak Wing Museum. Madeleine Borthwick, Lecturer in Design at the School of Architecture, Design and Planning, moderates the discussion.

Sneak Preview Tour - Chau Chak Wing Museum

This Sneak Preview was a part of the opening celebrations of the Chau Chak Wing Museum in November 2020. Hosted by Fenella Kernebone, the event includes exhibition tours and interviews with the Director of the museum, Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney.

How to Build a Collection: Networks of colonial science at Australia's first museum 1827-1880

22 October 2020

Presented by Vanessa Finney from the Australian Museum. 

From Pompeii to Tharros: understanding the making of Roman urban neighbourhoods

9 September 2020

Presented by Dr Steven Ellis fom the University of Cincinnati.

Celebrating the remarkable history of the Nicholson Museum

29 January 2020

Presented by Dr Craig Barker, Candace Richards and Dr James Fraser from the Nicholson Collection. 


Sardinia and Corsica in the post-classical era

2 March 2019, Nicholson Museum

Presented by Robert Veel from Academy Travel.

The Mummy Project

20 February 2019, Nicholson Museum

Presented by Dr James Fraser, research lead of the Mummy Project.

Māori in early Sydney

2 February 2019, Nicholson Museum

Presented by Rebecca Conway, Curator of Ethnography, Macleay Collections.


Facing our Past: The Jericho Skull

21 November 2018, Nicholson Museum

Inaugural Sir Charles Nicholson Lecture. Presented by Dr Alexandra Fletcher, British Museum, on new research and discoveries made about the Jericho skulls from the British Museum collection and our own.

Some impressions of Greece: The photographic archive of William Woodhouse

30 May 2018, Nicholson Museum

Presented by Candace Richards, research lead of the Woodhouse Archive Flickr Project.

Shakespeare's Mark Antony: a tale of two authors

27 March 2018, Nicholson Museum

Presented by Associate Professor Kathryn Welch, University of Sydney.

Stories from the storeroom: Amarna’s frescoes reconstructed

21 February 2018, Nicholson Museum

Presented by Dr James Fraser, Dr Conni Lord, Dr Wendy Reade and Candace Richards.

Art and performance: two decades of archaeology at the ancient theatre of Paphos, Cyprus

30 January 2018, Nicholson Museum

Presented by Dr Craig Barker, Director of the Paphos Theatre Archaeological Project.


A life in archaeology: in conversation with Judy Birmingham

27 May 2017, Nicholson Museum

Associate Professor Judy Birmingham interviewed by Dr Craig Barker in this special 'in conversation' event.

Arts and Aboriginal Australia: decolonisation or reconciliation?

31 May 2017, Macleay Museum

In 2017, National Reconcilation Week commemorated two signficant milestones in Australian history: 50 years since the 1967 referendum and 25 years since the Murray Island Land Case 'Mabo' Decision.

This panel is chaired by Matt Poll, Curator Indigenous Heritage and Repatriation Project, Macleay Collections and he is joined by:

  • Sharni Jones, Manager of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collections at the Australian Museum
  • Stephen Gilchrist, Associate Lecturer Department of Art History, University of Sydney
  • Rodney Kelly, Gweagal activist for the repatriation of ancestral collections to Aboriginal ownership
  • Amanda Reynolds, Stella Stories artist, curator, cultural consultant and editor.

Featured image (top of the page): Kato’alu (ceremonial basket), mid-19th century, Tonga