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Australia-Indonesia Museums (AIM) Project

In 2021-2022, Southeast Asia Museum Services (SEAMS) partnered with the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia, Deakin University, and the Western Australian Museum (WAM), along with several partner museums in Indonesia, to embark on the Australia-Indonesia Museums (AIM) Project.

Departing from traditional exhibition frameworks confined within national boundaries, the AIM Project responded to contemporary challenges, emphasizing decolonization and highlighting trans-national connections and movement.

The AIM Project, a joint effort between Australian and Indonesian organizations, has been made possible through funding from the Australia-Indonesia Institute of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Ministry of Culture of Indonesia.
Support long-term partnerships between Indonesian and Australian museum professionals and their institutions.

The roots of the AIM Project trace back to 2016 when twelve Indonesian curators underwent a two-week training course in Melbourne as part of DFAT’s Australia Awards program. Facilitated by Deakin University's Cultural Heritage Asia-Pacific Group, this training laid the groundwork for future collaborations, highlighting the need for further training and collaboration using the Significance methodology.

Launched in May 2021, the AIM Project has focused on two main activities: training workshops on the significance approach and the development of an online exhibition. Despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the project successfully shifted to an online training model, engaging over 150 participants from 80 museums in 19 Indonesian provinces. An anonymous survey conducted by the Indonesian Directorate for Museums and Heritage Training showcased the relevance and impact of the Significance approach in the Indonesian museology context.

The AIM Project also contributed to the translation of the Significance approach into Indonesian, with the Indonesian version set to be published in July 2022 and shared with over 300 museums across the country.

The culmination of the AIM Project is the online exhibition titled "Tetangga: People, Places, and Objects Across Borders," officially launched at the Indonesian Consulate in Perth. Tetangga, meaning neighbors in Indonesian, brings together over 80 contributors from Indonesia and Australia, including curators, historians, academics, photographers, and designers. The exhibition explores 20 objects from various collections, emphasizing themes such as colonialism's legacies, the movement of people and objects, and the changing significance of objects.

Digitized in high resolution with 3D models, the exhibition features curatorial videos where experts share the significance of each object directly with the audience. The platform, developed by the WAM digital team, ensures accessibility in both Indonesian and English.

The AIM Project stands as a testament to collaborative efforts fostering understanding, connection, and shared narratives between Indonesia and Australia.

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