51 episodes

The Chau Chak Wing Museum at the University of Sydney's monthly podcast series. Host Dr Craig Barker asks guests to choose any one item to discuss from the museum’s collections of art, archaeology, natural history, science and culture.

Object Matters Chau Chak Wing Museum, University of Sydney

    • Arts

The Chau Chak Wing Museum at the University of Sydney's monthly podcast series. Host Dr Craig Barker asks guests to choose any one item to discuss from the museum’s collections of art, archaeology, natural history, science and culture.

    The statue of William Charles Wentworth and Adelaide Ironside

    The statue of William Charles Wentworth and Adelaide Ironside

    In this episode of Object Matters host Dr Craig Barker is joined by historian and author Dr Kiera Lindsey. Together they discuss her new book on colonial Sydney artist Adelaide Ironside titled Wild Love. Together they examine speculative history, writing biographies and art in  colonial New South Wales, and explore Adelaide's complex relationship with University of Sydney founders William Charles Wentworth and Sir Charles Nicholson.

    Guest: Dr Kiera Lindsey is a creative historian who works across the public and academic sectors. She works at the History Trust of SA (HTSA) as South Australia’s History Advocate.
    She has over twenty years of research and writing experience in the area of nineteenth-century, Indigenous and women's histories and have also published nationally and internationally on the topics of speculative biography and life writing. She had served as Vice President of the History Council of New South Wales as well as a member of the Sydney Living Museum's Curatorial and Public Engagement Advisory Committee. She features regularly on radio and podcasts, and was a consultant and on-camera historian for a 4-part series entitled LAWLESS: The Real Bushrangers which first aired on Foxtel's History Channel in 2017. Kiera has also designed two online public history courses on the GLAM sector. Wild Love was published through Allen & Unwin in November 2023, joining her first book The Convict's Daughter, and a volume coedited with Donna Brien on the topic of speculative biography. Wild Love was the produce of an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA) while she was at University of Technology Sydney (UTS).  Follow Kiera on X: @LindseyKiera

    Host: Dr Craig Barker, Head of Public Engagement, Chau Chak Wing Museum and Director, Paphos Theatre Archaeological Excavations. Follow @DrCraig_B on X and Instagram.

    Object details:
    Pietro Tenerani, life-size statue of William Charles Wentworth, marble, 1861.
    Purchased with funds from public subscription 1861 [UA1861.1]

    • 58 min
    Fragment of terracotta cult statue from Cyprus

    Fragment of terracotta cult statue from Cyprus

    In this episode of Object Matters host Dr Craig Barker is joined by Dr Anastasia Christophilopoulou, an archaeologist and curator at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and the 2023 Sir Charles Nicholson Lecturer. Together they discuss the Being An Islander project and associated Islanders: The Making of the Mediterranean exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum, as well as Anastasia's archaeological interests in material culture in island environments, including Crete, Sardinia and Cyprus, where they discuss an Archaic period cult sanctuary site called Salamis Toumba.

    Guest: Dr Anastasia Christophilopoulou is Curator of Greece, Rome and Cyprus at the Department of Antiquities of the Fitzwilliam Museum. She is responsible for research and exhibition projects and permanent displays in the fields of Greek, Cypriot and Roman collections of the museum. Anastasia gained her PhD in Classical Archaeology at the Faculty of Classics, University of Cambridge (2008) and was a postdoctoral researcher at the Topoi Excellence Cluster, Freie Universität Berlin (2009-2010), prior to joining the Fitzwilliam Museum. She served as leader of the 4-year research project ‘Being an Islander’: Art and Identity of the large Mediterranean Islands, (2019-2023) which aimed to critically re-examine the concept of island life through material culture.
    In 2023 she visited the University of Sydney as the Chau Chak Wing Museum's Sir Charles Nicholson Lecturer. Follow Anastasia on X: @AChristophilop1

    Host: Dr Craig Barker, Head of Public Engagement, Chau Chak Wing Museum and Director, Paphos Theatre Archaeological Excavations. Follow @DrCraig_B on X and Instagram.

    Objects details:
    Fragmentary human head, terracotta, Salamis Toumba, Cyprus, Cypro-Archaic, 750-475 BC.
    Donated by the Museum of Classical Archaeology, University of Cambridge 1947 [NM47.388]

    • 49 min
    Heba Abd el-Gawad on Rethinking Egyptian Antiquities in Museums

    Heba Abd el-Gawad on Rethinking Egyptian Antiquities in Museums

    In this special episode of Object Matters host Dr Craig Barker is joined by Egyptian archaeologist Dr Heba Abd el-Gawad. Together they discuss the unique role ancient Egypt plays in museums globally, the missing modern Egyptian voice in ancient Egyptian exhibitions, decolonising collections and her work as part of the AHRC-funded project ‘Egypt’s Dispersed Heritage: views from Egypt’, partnering with UK museums and archives to communicate the history of cultural dispersal and examining opportunities to create dialogue with modern Egyptian communities.

    Guest: Dr Heba Abd el-Gawad is an Egyptian archaeologist.
    She is the project researcher for the AHRC funded project: ‘Egypt’s Dispersed Heritage: Views from Egypt’ at the Institute of Archaeology, University College of London aimed at amplifying the voice, visibility, and validity of modern Egyptian communities in UK museums. She has previously led various curatorial roles in the UK. Heba specializes in the history of Egyptian archaeology focusing on the past and present Egyptian perceptions and representations of the collection and distribution of archaeological finds from Egypt to the world. Follow @GawadHeba on X.

    Host: Dr Craig Barker, Head of Public Engagement, Chau Chak Wing Museum and Director, Paphos Theatre Archaeological Excavations. Follow @DrCraig_B on X and Instagram.

    • 34 min
    Transport amphora with shell encrustations

    Transport amphora with shell encrustations

    For this episode of Object Matters host Dr Craig Barker is joined by Dr Natali Pearson of the University of Sydney's Sydney Southeast Asia Centre (SSEAC). Natali is a critical heritage scholar, so together they discuss her work on the maritime heritage of Southeast Asia, including her own work and her recent publication on the Belitung shipwreck in Indonesian waters, and the importance of Australians knowing our nearest neighbours better. Moving from Southeastern Asia to the Mediterranean, together they discuss the second century BC transport amphora (Greco-Italic style) covered with shell encrustations, and muse upon the sea's influence on human cultural history, trade and transportation of commodities and the importance of the encrustation as part of the object's history.


    Guest: Dr Natali Pearson is a critical heritage studies scholar at the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre, specialising in maritime heritage in Southeast Asia, and an Honorary Associate in the Discipline of Archaeology. She hosts the SSEAC Stories podcast. Her research interests and experience include the ethics, provenance and laundering of underwater cultural heritage; heritage diplomacy; and the management of shared wrecks. Her book Belitung: The Afterlives of a Shipwreck was published in 2023 by University of Hawaii Press. She is the President of the Indonesia Council and an Expert Member, International Council on Monuments and Sites-International Committee on Archaeological Heritage Management. Follow Natali on X: @sea_greeny

    Host: Dr Craig Barker, Head of Public Engagement, Chau Chak Wing Museum and Director, Paphos Theatre Archaeological Excavations. Follow @DrCraig_B on X and Instagram.

    Objects details:
    'Greco-Italic' Transport Amphora with shell encrustations, Gulf of Naples near Baiae, Italy, c. 200-130 BC.
    Donated by Sir Charles Nicholson 1860 [NMR.1031.1-7]

    • 35 min
    Researching the Dru Drury butterfly collection

    Researching the Dru Drury butterfly collection

    For this episode of Object Matters host Dr Craig Barker is joined by zoologist and 2023 Macleay Miklouho-Maclay Fellow Dr Angel Luis Viloria Petit, who has recently completed his research in Sydney, examining historic collections of butterflies. 
    The Chau Chak Wing Museum houses the natural history collection of Alexander Macleay (1767-1848) largely amassed prior to his arrival in the colony of NSW in 1826. Many of the insects were acquired by Macleay from other naturalists, including Dru Drury (1725-1804) who published three volumes on butterflies. In his three months in Sydney, Venezuelan-based Dr Viloria has examined thousands of specimens in the collection and has successfully identified more than 260 primary type specimens, many from Drury's collections dating back to the 1770-1790s, identifiable from hand-painted illustrations from within those publications.

    Together they discuss Angel's career and research, the history of insect collecting, and early European collectors and the process of identifying primary type specimens in two hundred year old collections of butterflies using historical hand-painted illustrations.

    Read more on Dr Viloria's research while in Sydney.

    Guest: Dr Angel Viloria is a zoologist and entomologist at the Ecological Centre in Caracas, Venezuela and Senior Researcher at the Centre of Ecology of the Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Investigations (IVIC), specialising in South American lepidoptera. He received a first degree in Biology from the Universidad del Zulia, Maracaibo, Venezuela, and his Doctorate of Philosophy (zoology) from a joint program of the University of London (King’s College) and the Natural History Museum, UK. He has pursued investigations on a variety of subjects related to zoology, theoretical biogeography, history and philosophy of the biological sciences. However, his main interest is on the systematics of butterflies of Tropical America, especially the Andean browns, members of the subfamily Satyrinae. In 2019-2020 he held the Simón Bolívar Visiting Chair at the University of Cambridge. He is is author and co-author of 110+ scientific papers, 210+ popular science articles and 8 books, including the standard reference, Catalogue of the hostplants of the Neotropical butterflies.

    Host: Dr Craig Barker, Head of Public Engagement, Chau Chak Wing Museum and Director, Paphos Theatre Archaeological Excavations. Follow @DrCraig_B on Twitter and Instagram.

    Objects details:
    The Dru Drury collection of butterflies and moths within the Macleay natural history collections. 

    • 45 min
    Judy Birmingham and the Archaeological Excavations at Irrawang

    Judy Birmingham and the Archaeological Excavations at Irrawang

    In this episode of Object Matters host Dr Craig Barker is joined by Chau Chak Wing Museum intern Isabella Trope. Isabella is a student at Macquarie University and has been researching a collection of ceramic sherds in the museum's education collection donated by Judy Birmingham in preparation of them being used in school education Object-Based Learning programs.

    In this conversation they discuss the influence of pioneering Australian archaeologist Judy Birmingham and her work at Irrawang pottery workshop near Raymond Terrace, where between 1833–56 James King produced commercial ceramics. In 1967 Birmingham lead an archaeological excavation conducted by the student Archaeological Society of the University of Sydney; the first ever historical archaeological excavation in Australia. They talk about museum internships and about developing educational activities with school curricula links, as well as the important role Judy played in the development of archaeology in Australia.

    Guest: Isabella Trope is a history and archaeology student at Macquarie University who has recently completed an internship at the Chau Chak Wing Museum. She works as a Volunteer Content Producer for Historic Houses Association of Australia.

    Host: Dr Craig Barker, Head of Public Engagement, Chau Chak Wing Museum and Director, Paphos Theatre Archaeological Excavations. Follow @DrCraig_B on X and Instagram.

    Object details:
    Collection of 23 sherds from the 1967 archaeological excavations at Irrawang, New South Wales, donated by Associate Professor Judy Birmingham, 2009 [IRN268679]. Also discussed is a bronze axe, Iron Age, 1000-600 BC, from Luristan, Iran [NM48.244].

    • 28 min

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