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SEA-Collections Project

The SEA-Collections Project, spearheaded by the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre (SSEAC) at the University of Sydney in partnership with SEAMS, marks a significant stride towards deepening the understanding and appreciation of maritime heritage that links ASEAN countries with Australia.

Funded by the Australia-ASEAN Council, this initiative draws inspiration from UNESCO’s efforts to connect maritime museums across Southeast Asia, embarking on a journey to bring to light the shared maritime histories through a series of carefully designed activities throughout 2024.

The project began in March 2024 with the launch of the project's website, setting the digital stage for our collaborative efforts. This was closely followed by the selection of participating museums from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore, each bringing unique stories and collections into the fold. May 2024 saw us hosting an inaugural project orientation, inviting museum professionals and curators to dive into the project’s vision and objectives.

The heart of the project lies in the capacity-building workshops conducted from July to August 2024, designed to enhance the museological and curatorial skills of professionals across the region. These workshops, led by experts including Dr. Natali Pearson, utilize a blend of in-person and online formats to foster a collaborative learning environment.

Following the workshops, our focus shifted to the development of an online exhibition slated for launch in December 2024. This digital platform aims to showcase the rich maritime narratives uncovered, offering a window into the interconnectedness of our maritime past.

The SEA-Collections Project is more than a series of events; it's a concerted effort to weave together the threads of our shared heritage, using the timeline of activities in 2024 as milestones in our collective journey. Through this project, SEAMS and SSEAC are not just sharing stories but fostering a deeper, cross-cultural understanding of the maritime heritage that binds the ASEAN region and Australia.

Visit SEA-Collections Project's website to follow our journey:

Hero image: Decorating a lis-alis (traditional Madurese fishing boat), Telaga Biru, Madura, 1999. Credit: Jeffrey Mellefont.

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