Professor Kylie Message-Jones

PhD (UniMelb); BA (Hons) (UniMelb)
Director, ANU Humanities Research Centre; Research Fellow of the National Museum of Australia (2023-25)
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Research interests

Kylie Message is Professor of Public Humanities. She researches 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 work investigates the role that museums, universities, 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 lead general editor of A Cultural History of Protest, Dissent and Activism, a six-volume project on the global history of protest, dissent and activism from Antiquity to the 21st century that will be published by Bloomsbury. She 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. She is also chief editor of Humanities Research, and is overseeing the journal's re-launch by ANU Press in 2023. Previously, she was founding joint chief co-editor of Museum Worlds: Advances in Research (Berghahn), Museum and Society managing editor, 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 Director of the ANU Humanities Research Centre and immediate past Director of the Australasian Consortium of Humanities Researchers and Centres. In 2023 she was elected to the International Advisory Board of the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes ( She is also a member of the steering committee of the CHCI Public Humanities Network. She holds the position of Research Fellow of the National Museum of Australia 2023-25, and has been external Advisor to the Vietnamese Museum of Australia from 2022.

Previously, she was 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 from 2019-2022. She was 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 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:  21 July 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers