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The Australian National University

Associate Professor Kylie Message

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

Research interests

  1. Protest and reform movements, social activism (predominantly African American and Native American), the US government, and the Smithsonian Institution.
  2. Indigenous sovereignty (primarily US and New Zealand) and tribal/community museum development.
  3. Multiculturalism and museums in Australia, contextualised by global practice (US, UK & Europe).
  4. Political history collections in Australia, Sweden, and United States; The role of constitution museums, presidential libraries, and museums of democracy in advocating for political change.
  5. Australian cultural policy in global context (primarily European Union).

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.


Associate Professor Kylie Message is Senior Fellow in the Humanities Research Centre. She was Interim Director of the Research School of Humanities and the Arts 2015-2016. Prior to that she was Head of the ANU School of Archaeology and Anthropology (from 2013). She was elected to the Australian Research Council College of Experts in 2014. Kylie was CASS Associate Dean (Research Training) 2010-2012, and Museums and Collections program convenor (2006-2010). Prior to being appointed to ANU in 2005 as ARC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research, Kylie was Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne (2004-2005), and lecturer in the School of English, Film and Theatre, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand (2000-2003). Kylie’s PhD was awarded by the University of Melbourne (School of Fine Arts, Classical Studies and Archaeology) in 2003. 

Previous books include The Disobedient Museum (2018), Museums and Social Activism: Engaged Protest (2014), New Museums and the Making of Culture (2006), and Museum Theory: An Expanded Field (edited; with Andrea Witcomb, 2015). She is founding joint chief co-editor for the journal Museum Worlds: Advances in Research. Former editorial roles include 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 Historical Studies.

Researcher's projects

Kylie’s research explores the role that museums play as sites of cultural and political exchange, and current projects investigate the relationship between museums, citizenship and political reform movements.

In 2017 Kylie established the Museums in Focus book series for Routledge, which seeks to challenge 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. She is Series Editor and also author of three books in the series, including forthcoming titles Museums and Racism and Curatorial Activism. She welcomes submissions from researchers for new titles. Kylie is also currently editing A Cultural History of Collecting, which is forthcoming with Bloomsbury in 2019.


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:  17 December 2017 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers