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Professor of Public Humanities, Australian National University

Kylie Message is Professor of Public Humanities. Her research interrogates the relationships between cultural organizations, citizenship, government, and political reform movements. Working with interdisciplinary methodologies drawn from History, Anthropology, Sociology and Cultural and Museum Studies, she investigates the role that museums and other forms of public culture play as sites of political exchange. She has written extensively about the ways that museums across the world have conducted contemporary collecting and been involved in and identified as sites of activism and controversy. Her focus on institutional ethnographies and organizational histories has led to new ways of addressing relationships between racism and contested histories in organizational and public/community settings, and her documentation of curatorial and social activism within multicultural policy climates since the 1970s has made significant contributions to the way various participants and stakeholders understand the political history and impact of culture.

Professor Message is Head of the ANU Humanities Research Centre and Director of the Australasian Consortium of Humanities Research Centres. She is a member of the steering committee of the international Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes' Public Humanities Network, and in 2022 was appointed to the Advisory Board of the Vietnamese Museum of Australia. Previously, she was Associate Dean Research for the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences, Deputy Chair of the University Research Committee, and Senior Fellow in the Humanities Research Centre from 2019-2022. She has also held the positions of Interim Director of the Research School of Humanities and the Arts 2015-16, and Head of the ANU School of Archaeology and Anthropology 2013-15. From 2014-16, she was an elected member of the Australian Research Council College of Experts Humanities and Creative Arts Panel. Kylie was CASS Associate Dean Research Training from 2010-12, and Museums and Collections program convenor from 2006-10. Prior to being appointed to ANU in 2005 as ARC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research, Kylie was Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Melbourne (2004-05), and lecturer in the School of English, Film and Theatre, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand (2000-03). Kylie’s PhD was awarded by the University of Melbourne (School of Fine Arts, Classical Studies and Archaeology) in 2003.


  • –present
    Professor of Public Humanities, Australian National University


  • 2003 
    University of Melbourne, PhD


  • 2019
    Collecting Activism, Archiving Occupy Wall Street , Routledge
  • 2018
    The Disobedient Museum: Writing at the Edge, Routledge
  • 2018
    Museums and Racism, Routledge
  • 2014
    Museums and Social Activism: Engaged Protest , Routledge
  • 2004
    New Museums and the Making of Culture, Berg