Welcoming speech by Master of Ceremonies, CEO Margaret Birtley
Good evening – I am Margaret Birtley, CEO of the Collections Council of Australia, and your Master of Ceremonies for the formal proceedings this evening.
• Senator Rod Kemp, Chair of the CMC and Minister for the Arts and Sport
• Sue Nattrass, Chair of the Collections Council of Australia
• Directors of the Collections Council
• Distinguished guests, colleagues and friends
I’d like to begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of this land on which we stand – the Wurundjeri people – and the members of indigenous communities who are with us this evening.
I’d also like to acknowledge that many of you have travelled from interstate to be with us on this occasion.
Welcome to all.
In the seven months since commencing my work with the Collections Council, I’ve reflected a lot on the meaning and purpose of collections. It has occurred to me that we can draw an interesting parallel to the world of collections from the popular world of magic made famous in a series of recent novels...
In J.K.Rowling’s world of Hogwarts, a magic wand can borrow a person’s memory from their brain, and the marvellous “pensieve” is a dish in which that memory can be revisited, inspected, and analysed. Through the magical powers of the pensieve, historical details that were once known only to the people who were part of the remembered event can be viewed by others who were not there at the time.
In our world, there are no magic wands or pensieves. But thanks to the careful work of our archives, galleries, libraries and museums, the evidence of past events and practices continues to be preserved. In Australia’s cultural collections reside millions of things that document our past and present. The cultural collections of Australia, distributed nation-wide in diverse organisations, hold the evidence of significant memories relating to who we are,...