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AIATSIS and Manchester Museum sign formal partnership Memorandum of Understanding

23 Nov 2019

The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) and the Manchester Museum, part of The University of Manchester, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in Manchester, United Kingdom. The MOU follows a successful partnership between the two organisations to return significant cultural heritage material to Aboriginal communities in Australia.

AIATSIS CEO Craig Ritchie welcomed the formal agreement. “We are both committed to promoting greater understanding between cultures and ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture is respected, valued and celebrated”, Mr Ritchie said.

Manchester Museum is the UK’s leading university museum and has an extensive collection of objects and material from Australia. Esme Ward, Director of Manchester Museum, sees the return and the MOU as a way to further the Museum’s goal to become a more inclusive, caring and relevant institution to the communities it serves both locally and globally.

Professor Nalin Thakkar, Vice-President for Social Responsibility of The University of Manchester was delighted to sign the MOU. “At The University of Manchester we produce graduates who are skilled and knowledgeable, and can exercise important ethical, social and environmental responsibilities”, Professor Thakkar said. “Our partnership with AIATSIS will enable our students to broaden horizons, improve language skills, become more culturally aware and gain fresh perspectives to higher education”.

AIATSIS and the Manchester Museum have extensive yet complimentary collections and strategic goals to preserve and make their collections accessible. This partnership aims to create collaborations for both organisation’s to shared knowledge on best practice for the display and treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collections. The MOU will also facilitate exchanges on protocols and standards around the acquisition, management and access to collections relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities.

This latest MOU with The University of Manchester reinforces AIATSIS’ intent to build diverse and enduring relationships internationally, following on from MOU’s signed with the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in 2019, the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in 2017 and with King’s College (London) and Oxford University’s Pitt Rivers Museum in 2016.

Read more about the Return of Cultural Heritage project.

Media enquiries: Commsmedia@aiatsis.gov.au or P: 0476 843 522

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Visit the AIATSIS website to read the original media release.

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