In Summary

Swinburne Design Anthropology tutor, Myles Russell-Cook, has been appointed as a member of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Islander Studies (AIATSIS) by the council.

With an initial appointment for five years, Russell-Cook said he will continue to work on his PhD, which focusses on applying design anthropology to the field of museum studies.

His research project is an investigation into how existing curatorial practices can engage with and enable Indigenous Australians’ agency within the museum setting.

“My work involves using the museum setting as a practical and informal education, whereby national identity is curated and presented. By doing this I am able to understand how different curatorial practices and exhibition designs can produce applicable and constructive changes to the Australian reconciliation movement.”

Russell-Cook said his research interest had come from his family upbringing.

“I have always had a passion for social justice, but my interest in working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs really comes from my family. My parents both work with Aboriginal communities. I am someone who identifies within a discourse of hybridity, that is, I openly embrace all my cultural heritages including my Aboriginality. I am a descendant of the Wotjobaluk people.”

Russell-Cook said that his acceptance as a member of the AIATSIS was validation that the research he was undertaking was of value to the community.

“Being appointed a member of AIATSIS reaffirms that my research is making a difference. It is recognition of my involvement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations that concern themselves with issues relating to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander cultures.

Russell-Cook has recently been interviewed regularly on ABC radio about his work.

“It is very humbling that people out there recognise and respect the work I am doing.”‌

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