By working with photographs from the collections of museums and libraries, Michael Aird is testing whether historical photographs can become substantial evidence of Australian Aboriginal connections with land and place. He is studying images and combines archival research to contextualize how photographs can serve as more than illustrations, but they can also demonstrate historical continuities and change as well as connections to country over time. Who are the people featured in early photographs and what were the complex personal relationships between these individuals. Photographs can be used to ask research questions that may previously not been considered in native title claim research. This research methodology will question the value of photographs as historical documents, as well as how they are valued, and used by contemporary Aboriginal people as an important part of history and identity.


About the presenter

Mr Michael Aird is a Research Fellow in the School of Social Science at the University of Queensland, and Director of the UQ Anthropology Museum. He is currently undertaking work under an ARC Discovery Indigenous Grant, entitled ‘From illustration to evidence: the potential of photographs for Indigenous native title claims in Australia’.

About Archaeology Working Papers

The Working Papers in Archaeology seminar series provides a forum for dissemination of archaeological research and ideas amongst UQ archaeology students and staff. All students are invited to attend the series and postgraduate students, from honours upwards, are invited to present their research. The aim is to provide opportunities for students, staff and those from outside UQ, to present and discuss their work in an informal environment. It is hoped that anyone interested in current archaeological directions, both within and outside the School and University, will be able to attend and contribute to the series.