National Science Week 2023: Maritime archaeology and cultural heritage benefit with Queensland Smithsonian Fellowships

Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for Multicultural Affairs The Honourable Leanne Linard
  • Dr Maddy McAllister and Dr Ruari Elkington are the latest Fellows to be appointed under the Queensland Smithsonian Fellowships program.
  • Since 2001, the Queensland Government has provided close to $1 million through the Smithsonian Fellowships to 56 Fellows.

Science Minister Leanne Linard has marked the start of National Science Week by announcing the two researchers selected to participate in the Queensland Smithsonian Fellowships program for 2023.

The latest Fellows, each receiving $15,000 in funding, are:

  • Dr Maddy McAllister, who is the Senior Curator of Maritime Archaeology at Queensland Museum Network, based at the Museum of Tropical Queensland campus in Townsville, and
  • Dr Ruari Elkington, who is a creative industries and screen industries academic and researcher working in QUT’s Faculty of Creative Industries, Education & Social Justice, School of Creative Practice.

Dr McAllister’s project will use the Smithsonian’s 3D and digital tools to bring the Museum of Tropical Queensland’s newly digitised state maritime archaeology collection to the public.

She will work with the Smithsonian 3D Digitisation Program and the National Museum of American History to develop a pilot project at the Museum of Tropical Queensland on 10 iconic artefacts from the maritime archaeology collection.

Dr Elkington’s project will engage with the recently launched Smithsonian Open Access collection in which more than 2.8 million 2D and 3D images have entered into the public domain through Creative Commons.

He will work with online video creators (from outside the Smithsonian) to use video content creation to communicate those parts of the collection that deal with cultural heritage to new audiences via digital communication, with learnings applied to Queensland’s GLAM institutions (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums), such as the Queensland Museum.

The Queensland Smithsonian Fellowships program funds Queensland researchers to benefit from working within a Smithsonian Institution, either in the United States of America or Panama, giving them an opportunity to access sought-after expertise, collections and facilities and increase their knowledge and skills in their chosen field.

Since 2001, the Queensland Government has provided close to $1 million through the Smithsonian Fellowships to 56 Fellows from universities, science agencies, museums and art galleries across Queensland.

The next round of the Smithsonian Fellowships will open later this year.

Quotes attributable to the Science Minister, Leanne Linard:

“Queensland is proud to have a longstanding Memorandum of Understanding with the Smithsonian Institution in the United States of America – the world’s largest research and museum complex – to offer its Queensland Smithsonian Fellowships.

“Queensland is the only state in Australia to have this agreement with the Smithsonian Institution.

“Administered by the Department of Environment and Science, the program enables Queensland Smithsonian Fellows to benefit from working within a Smithsonian Institution, either in the USA or Panama.

“Queensland benefits in return by the international connections and the knowledge and skills the Fellows bring to their organisations and the state.

“The Fellowships include funding for travel costs and living allowances for up to twelve weeks at their chosen destination.

“We are delighted to provide this support for Queensland researchers, ensuring they remain at the forefront of their chosen disciplines.”

Quote attributable to Dr Maddy McAllister:

“This Fellowship will allow us to move beyond our current digital approaches, apply cutting edge technology to shipwreck artefacts and share knowledge between the Queensland Museum and the Smithsonian.”

Quotes attributable to Dr Ruari Elkington:

“This Queensland Smithsonian Fellowship extends my work beyond universities to consider how GLAM sector institutions can better communicate the public value of their arts and cultural heritage collections through digitally enabled video content creation.

“The Fellowship will leverage the work of QUT’s School of Creative Practice’s XR Screen Futures Hub which brings together cutting-edge digital capabilities, technology and research for immersive digital screen and digital performance futures.”

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