Professor Kylie Message

PhD (UniMelb); BA (Hons) (UniMelb)
Associate Dean Research and Humanities Research Centre Senior Fellow
College of Arts and Social Sciences

Research interests

Kylie Message is Professor of Public Humanities. Her work focuses specifically on the relationships between cultural organizations, citizenship, government, and political reform movements. Working with interdisciplinary methodologies drawn from History, Anthropology, Sociology and Cultural and Museum Studies, her research investigates the role that museums and other forms of public culture play as sites of political exchange. She has written extensively about the ways that museums across the world have conducted contemporary collecting and been involved in and identified as sites of activism and controversy. Her focus on institutional ethnographies and organizational histories has led to new ways of addressing relationships between racism and contested histories in organizational and public/community settings, and her documentation of curatorial and social activism within multicultural policy climates since the 1970s has made significant contributions to the way various participants and stakeholders understand the political history and impact of culture.


Kylie's books include Collecting Activism, Archiving Occupy Wall Street (Routledge 2019), The Disobedient Museum: Writing at the Edge (Routledge 2018), Museums and Racism (Routledge 2018), Museums and Social Activism: Engaged Protest (Routledge 2014), New Museums and the Making of Culture (Berg 2006), and Museum Theory: An Expanded Field (edited, with Andrea Witcomb, Wiley Blackwell 2015, reprinted 2020). Professor Message is founding general series editor of the Routledge book series, 'Museums in Focus', which challenges authors and readers to radically rethink the relationships between cultural and intellectual dissent and crisis and debates about museums, politics and the broader public sphere. Previously, she was founding joint chief co-editor of Museum Worlds: Advances in Research (Berghahn), Museum and Society managing editor, Humanities Research co-editor, editorial board member for the International Journal of Heritage Studies, and exhibition reviews editor for Australian Historial Studies.

Areas of expertise

  • Museum Studies
  • Cultural Studies - Multicultural, Intercultural and Cross-cultural Studies; Globalisation and Culture; Cultural Theory; Postcolonial Studies.
  • Historical Studies  - North American History; European History (excl. British, Classical Greek and Roman);  Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History).
  • Studies in Human Society - Race and Ethnic Relations; Social Change; Anthropology of Development; Citizenship; Comparative Government and Politics; International Relations; Arts and Cultural Policy.
  • Smithsonian Institution Fellowship, National Museum of the American Indian and the National Museum of American History (Division of Political History), Washington DC, USA, 2010
  • Australian Research Council Special Research Centre Fellowship at the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research, ANU, 2005-6
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellowship on Four South Pacific Museums Australian Research Council Discovery Project, Department of English with Cultural Studies, University of Melbourne, 2004-6.


Professor Message is Associate Dean Research for the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences, Deputy Chair of the University Research Committee, and Senior Fellow in the Humanities Research Centre. Previously, she was Interim Director of the Research School of Humanities and the Arts 2015-16, and Head of the ANU School of Archaeology and Anthropology 2013-15. From 2014-16, she was an elected member of the Australian Research Council College of Experts Humanities and Creative Arts Panel. Kylie was CASS Associate Dean Research Training from 2010-12, and Museums and Collections program convenor from 2006-10. Prior to being appointed to ANU in 2005 as ARC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research, Kylie was Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Melbourne (2004-05), and lecturer in the School of English, Film and Theatre, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand (2000-03). Kylie’s PhD was awarded by the University of Melbourne (School of Fine Arts, Classical Studies and Archaeology) in 2003. 


Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  19 September 2021 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers