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The Australian National University

Dr Kylie Message

PhD (UniMelb); BA (Hons) (UniMelb)
Interim Director, Research School of Humanities and the Arts
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Research interests

  1. Civil rights 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 was appointed Interim Director of the Research School of Humanities and the Arts in August 2015. She has been Head of the ANU School of Archaeology and Anthropology since 2013, and 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 publications include Museums and Social Activism: Engaged Protest (2014), Museum Theory: An Expanded Field (with Andrea Witcomb, 2015), and New Museums and the Making of Culture (2006). She is founding joint chief co-editor for the journal Museum Worlds: Advances in Research, managing editor for Museum and Society, co-editor for Humanities Research, editorial board member for the International Journal of Heritage Studies, and formerly 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.Her new book series, Routledge Museums In Focus (forthcoming from 2017) 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. Kylie established the book series in 2016, and is author of the following forthcoming titles: The Disobedient MuseumMuseums and RacismCuratorial Activism, and The Public Heritage of Invisibility. She is editor for the series, and 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 are drawn from ARIES. To add Projects or Grants please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  23 July 2017 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers