Arts Victoria is supporting an Initial Scoping Study being conducted by Dr Helen Light which will provide an overall indication of the number and scale of multicultural collections in Victoria in order to develop a methodology for assessing and scoping the collection material, stories, condition, access and ownership. It is hoped to eventually find a way to help communities preserve their material for posterity.
Many of Victoria’s ethnic groups still hold collections of materials which immigrants valued enough to bring with them. The material reflects their particular experience in the settlement process and the adaptation of their original culture to their new home. These collections reflect their sense of history and are part of their identity. As such they become part of the identity of a culturally diverse Australia.
It is recognized that it is important for the communities to tell their own story, to own their own story and their own collections. The documents, photographs, archives and objects that they hold, best tell their own story when interpreted by them, appreciating their contextual meanings, their nuances, and their particular cultural references.
Currently much of this significant material which is being carefully preserved by ageing first generation· migrants. So it is becoming increasingly urgent to identify and document the material and record the stories of this material before it is lost. Professional skills and support is required by these communities in order to maintain their material cultural heritage.
Anyone with any information regarding the existence and whereabouts of Victorian migration and settlement objects, or about communities that hold their own history, should contact Dr Helen Light on phone number: 0416 096 160 or by email to [email protected].
Dr Helen Light AM, BA(Hons), PhD was made a Member in the Order of Australia in 2005 for service to the community as director of the Jewish Museum of Australia, particularly through support for significant cultural exhibitions and community-based programs. She served as director of the Jewish Museum between 1983 and 2010.