Wilful ignorance & Pacific collections

1 February 2022
Jude Philp presents the 2022 Iain McCalman Lecture
The Sydney Environment Institute is thrilled to announce Dr Jude Philp as our keynote speaker for this year’s Iain McCalman Lecture.

Dr Jude Philp is a museum-based anthropologist and senior-curator of the Macleay Collections at the Chau Chak Wing Museum. Over the past twenty years her exhibition and research work has been directed towards understanding the cultural and social circumstances under which animals and peoples’ objects were collected for museums in the nineteenth century.

Jude’s talk, entitled Wilful Ignorance: Pacific Collections, Connections and Equitable Futures, will examine the role of museums in helping to shape an ignorance of Pacific people’s lives in Australia, exposing the ideas of otherness inherent in their systems.

Museums were built to display and explain the world through partitioning knowledge into ever-refining categories of specificity. While they are full of objects that speak to the centrality of respect museums remain largely positioned to display the categories of western knowledge.

The Iain McCalman Lecture, celebrates SEI co-founder and former co-director Iain McCalman’s dedication to fostering and pioneering multidisciplinary environmental research. The event aim to highlight the work of early to mid-career researchers and practitioners working across disciplinary boundaries to impact both scholarship and public discourse.

This year, Iain McCalman has also worked with Jude Philp and SEI’s Michelle St Anne to sponsor a new Honours Award in partnership with the Chau Chak Wing Museum. The Award provides a chance for a student to explore the Macleay Collections and use the objects and specimens as a provocation for considering global and/or local environmental change. To find out more about this opportunity, open to all Honours students at the University of Sydney, click here.

The 2022 Iain McCalman lecture will be held on Thursday 24 March 2021 at The University of Sydney. 

Header image: clothing; Tapa dress; circa 1890, courtesy of the Chau Chak Wing Museum.