Associate Professor Fiona Cameron is Principal Research Fellow, Contemporary Museologies and HDR Director at the Institute. Working at the intersection of social, ecological crises and digital transformation, Fiona researches contemporary global transformations in culture and society for positive change. Cameron is committed to building the capacity of museums to realise their full potential in societal debates and climate action, and in the context of rapid digital change.
Fiona works across two broad research fields. The first examines the agency of the museum sector in public culture in the representation of 'hot' topics of societal significance and climate change. The second area of research interest investigates digital cultural heritage in transformation through the emergence of new digital heritage forms and more-than-human curatorial figurations.
Fiona has played a pioneering role in the establishment of the field of digital cultural heritage studies, prompting reform in theory and practice to embrace digital data. She has also been instrumental in shifting museum thinking from modern concepts to materialist and ecological precepts, and in pioneering the fields of museums and the environmental and critical posthumanities.
She is internationally acclaimed for her leading research on museum roles and agencies in the engagement of controversial topics through her postdoctoral work, and from the mid-2000s activating museum engagement in climate action.
Fiona has an outstanding track record in engaged research leadership and management in interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral collaborations with museums, communities and academics. Informed by her extensive curatorial background, supported through 8 Australian Research Council grants (6, lead Chief Investigator; 2, Chief Investigator, 2), 13 international fellowships including two professorial appointments, 11 international grants with 5 European universities, 59 European, North, South American and Australasian museums, and museum peak bodies, Fiona’s work has had high sectorial impact leading to innovation in theory, policy and museum practice. Cameron’s work is widely utilized in HDR training and has enabled museum institutions to more fully engage with urgent social and environmental concerns as key institutions at the centre of civic life. Fiona is frequently called on as a keynote and plenary speaker at international conferences.
Fiona is also a museum practitioner and has worked in the sector as a museum director, a social history curator and as a curatorial consultant on major exhibition projects in New Zealand, Australia and Singapore.
In March 2011 Fiona led an Australian federal parliamentary briefing A Climate for Change on the findings of the ARC Linkage grant, 'Hot Science, Global Citizens: the Agency of the Museum Sector in Climate Change Interventions' to parliamentarians, government department employees, academics and the museum sector. Subsequently, she has led and contributed to national and international climate policy forums including the UNFCCC, influencing policy.
She has 85 publications including 6 books on these topics with leading publishers, MIT Press, Duke University Press and Routledge and in highly ranked journals. Fiona’s work has been translated into Arabic, Hungarian, Russian and Estonian.
A list of Fiona Cameron's keynote and plenary addresses can be found here.
Current research projects include the following:
2021-2023. LP200100103, Curating museum collections for climate change mitigation (CI 1, ARC $520,582, Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences $1.2m in-kind, Total: $1,720,582. Dr Fiona Cameron, Lead Chief Investigator, Institute for Culture and Society; Professor David Ellsworth, Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment (CI 2) (Western Sydney University); Professor Karen Malone, Swinburne University of Technology (CI 3); Dr Deborah Lawler-Dormer, Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (Partner Investigator); Assoc. Professor Marcus Hughes, National Library of Australia (Partner Investigator); Professor Rosi Braidotti, Utrecht University, Netherlands (Partner Investigator)
This newly funded Australian Research Council Linkage project with the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Sydney utilizes a transdisciplinary framework to investigate how museum collections many of which are entangled in the high emissions sector can be put to work for climate change mitigation.
2018–2021. The Research Council of Norway grant (FRIHUMSAM) Lifetimes: A natural history of the present. Lead Chief Investigator Professor Helge Jordheim, Professor Britta Brenna, Assoc. Professor Anne Helene Kveim Lie, Professor Espen Ytreberg, Professor Einar Wigen, Professor Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay University of Oslo; Dr Fiona Cameron, International partner (Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University is an investigator on heritage/museum studies strand run by Professor Britta Brenna ($4.2 million AUD overall project funds.
Lifetimes: A natural history of the present sets out to develop an alternative view of the temporal order of global society, in which the linear, homogenous times of modernisation is challenged by a multiplicity of rhythms, speeds, and durations, in various historical and geographical contexts, emerging from lives unfolding on and in the planet, as well as in the universe.
2017–2021. In orbit: Distributed curatorial agency when museum objects and knowledge go online. Bank of Sweden Fund grant. Lead Investigator: Assoc. Professor Bodil Axelsson, Linköping University, Professor Fiona Cameron, Co-Investigator, Linköping University and the Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University; Assoc. Professor Sheenagh Pietrobruno, Saint Paul University/University of Ottawa with the Swedish National Historical Museum ($564,908 AUD: 3,528,360 Swedish krona).
Focusing on Viking collections, this project funded by the Bank of Sweden with the Swedish History Museum explores the multiple forms of curatorial agencies and their affects that develop when museum collection digitisations, narratives and new research findings circulate online.
A full list of funded projects can be found through this link.
- Ph.D. 2002, Social Anthropology and Museum Studies, Massey University, New Zealand.
- BA Honours, 1985, Archaeology and Classics, University of Otago.
- Critical museum studies
- Digital cultural heritage
- Environmental posthumanities
- Climate change
Selected Awards and Recognition
- 2019: Research Fellow, Museum of Tomorrow, Rio de Janerio, Brazil (May 2019 –).
- 2019: Research Fellow, Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (January 2019 – ongoing). Project: Ecologizing Experimentations in the Museum.
- 2018: Professor, Cultural Heritage, Linköping (university appointment) Department of Thematic Studies, Linköping University, Sweden (January–July 2018).
- 2018: visiting Research Fellow, KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory, Stockholm (June 2018).
- 2018–2020: Appointment to the International Council of Museums international working party on Sustainability and Climate Change (April 2018 – December 2020).
- 2018: Australian Research Council Engagement and Impact (H+E) exercise. Australian Research Council Linkage: Hot Science, Global Citizens: The Agency of Museums in Climate Change Interventions. Project received a High in Impact and a High in Approaches to Impact.
- 2013: Visiting Professorial Fellowship, Research Centre for Innovation in Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums (iGLAM), City University, Hong Kong (September–October 2013 (travel, accommodation and expenses paid by the university).
- 2012–2013–2014: Visiting Fellow, Deutsches Museum Research Institute, Munich, Germany (July–August 2012; June–August 2013; September 2014; July 2017).
- 2011–2012: Carson Fellowship, Professor Dr. position, August 2011 – March 2012, Rachel Carson Center, Environmental Humanities Research Institute. A joint initiative of the LMU Munich (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München) and the Deutsches Museum. Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-uJi52zzI8.
- 2012: Best Paper Award for museum management for the article, Cameron, F.R. (2012). Climate change, agencies and the museum and science centre sector. Museum Management and Curatorship, October 2012, 27 (4), 317–339 by a jury of academics and museum practitioners.
- 2006–2009, 2009–2012: Top forty researchers by publications triennium awarded by WSU.
- 2001–2004: Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship (APDI), 3-year position at the University of Sydney (research grant and salary).
- 2002: Getty Scholarship for research on digital media and museums (research award).
- 1990: British Council Fellowship to undertake research at the British Museum, Museum of Mankind and the Natural History Museum, London (research award and stipend).
- 1990: Goethe Institute Fellowship to undertake research at the Deutsches Museum, Munich.
- 1988–1990: Post-graduate scholarship, James Cook University, Material Culture Unit, James Cook University (research grant and salary).
Cameron, F. R. (2021). The future of digital data, heritage and curation in a more-than-human world. (London: Routledge).
Bennett, T, Cameron, F, R., Diaz, N, Dibley, B, Harrison, R, Jacknis, I & McCarthy, C, (2017). Collecting, ordering, governing: anthropology and liberal government (Duke University Press, Durham NC).
Cameron, F.R. (2018). Posthuman museum practices, in R Braidotti and M Hlavajova (eds), Posthuman Glossary, London / New York: Bloomsbury Academic, pp. 379-392.
Cameron, F.R. (2015). Ecologizing experimentations: a method and manifesto for museums and science centres, in F.R. Cameron & B. Neilson (eds), Climate change, museum futures, Routledge, New York, pp.16-33
Cameron, F.R., & Mengler, S. (2015). Transvisuality, geopolitics and cultural heritage in global flows: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the death of the virtual terrorist, in H.D. m Christensen, T. Kristensen, A. Michelsen and F. Wiegand (eds.), Transvisuality: Dimensioning the visual. (pp.59-72)
Cameron, F.R. (2007). Beyond the Cult of the Replicant, Museums, Objects – new discourses – traditional concerns. In F.R. Cameron and S.B. Kenderdine (Eds) Theorizing digital cultural heritage: A critical discourse (pp.49-77). Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. ISBN 9780262514118.
Cameron, F.R. (2014). From "dead things" to immutable, combinable mobiles: H.D. Skinner, the Otago Museum and University and the governance of Maori populations. History and Anthropology, vol. 25, no. 2, pp. 208-226.
Cameron, F.R., Hodge, B. and Salazar, J.F. (2013). Representing climate change in museum spaces and places. Wires, Climate Change, Interdisciplinary Reviews (1), 9–21. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/wcc.200/abstract
Cameron, F.R. (2012). Climate change, agencies and the museum and science centre sector. Museum Management and Curatorship, October 2012, 27 (4), 317-339.
Cameron, F.R. (2008). Object-orientated democracies: Conceptualising museum collections in networks.’ Museum Management and Curatorship, 23 (3), 229-243.
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