Ms Johanna Parker

PhD scholar

Master of Arts, Museum Studies (International Scholarship) (University of Leicester, UK)
Master of Arts in Public History (University of Technology Sydney, Australia)
Postgraduate Diploma of Applied Science, Cultural Heritage Management (University of Canberra, Australia)
Bachelor of Arts, Art History and Arts and Material Culture (The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia)


Topic or working title

‘Gentlemen Scientists: what can be learnt by examining the motivations and methodologies employed by British and Australian private collectors to accumulate Australian Indigenous human remains in the late 19th and early 20th centuries?’

Abstract or summary

The projected focus of Johanna's research is British and Australian collectors of Australian Indigenous human remains in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Johanna is predominantly interested in self-funded collectors not directly associated with a university or museum at the time of active targeted collecting; and individuals amassing their collections due to extensive correspondence and networks rather than directly engaging in their own fieldwork. This thesis proposal hypothesises that utilising a Foucauldian theoretical framework to analyse the methods and motivations of this subset of private collectors will contribute new knowledge; including a greater understanding of the complexity of the international trade of Indigenous human remains and the perception of human remains as social commodity. The research subject is cross disciplinary including application to Indigenous Studies, Colonial History, Archaeology, Anthropology, Museology, Australian and International Law, Psychology and Economics.

Panel members and positions

Primary Supervisor and Panel Chair:
Associate Professor Cressida Fforde, Deputy Director of NCIS.

Supervisory Panel Members:

  • Professor Tom Griffiths, William Keith Hancock Professor of History, The Australian National University.
  • Professor Daryle Rigney, Dean, Office of Indigenous Strategy & Engagement, Flinders University.
  • Professor Paul Turnbull, Professor of Digital Humanities, University of Tasmania.


Johanna holds a Master of Arts in Museum Studies (International Scholarship) from the University of Leicester, UK, and a Master of Arts in Public History from the University of Technology, Sydney. Johanna has worked as a social history curator at the National Museum of Australia, the National Archives of Australia and the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House from 1999 to 2009. In 2009, Johanna began her career in the Ministry for the Arts including managing the Museums and Repatriation Section, and served a term as the Departmental Liaison Officer at Parliament House. In 2015, Johanna was awarded the Secretary’s Award for Academic Achievement, Attorney-General’s Department, “for dedication to the creation of world leading policy advice in the areas of museum collections and repatriation of Indigenous human remains”.

Johanna’s research interests are museological legislation and ethics, interpretation, private collectors of cultural material and repatriation of Indigenous human remains.

Publications & awards

  • Max Dupain on Assignment, photography exhibition catalogue, National Archives of Australia Press, 2008.
  • Max Dupain On Assignment, The World of Antiques and Art, Issue 73, Aug 2007 – Feb 2008.
  • The Quiet Mariner, Cook’s Log, Captain Cook Society Journal, Vol. 28, no. 4, Oct 2006.
  • Six exhibition tour guides including highlights, family, military, political, National Archives of Australia Press, 2007.
  • Memory of a Nation, National Archives of Australia Press, 2007 - awarded a Highly Commended in the 2007 Mander Jones Awards – Best publication that uses, features, or interprets archives.
  • Harvest of Endurance Scroll online interactive, National Museum of Australia, 2006, nominated for a 13th Annual Australian Interactive Media Industry Association (AIMIA) Award.
  • Celebrating the National Museum’s Collection, Artbeat, Autumn/Winter 2006.
  • Oscar’s Sketchbook online interactive, National Museum of Australia, 2006. Highly commended, Museum Australia Design Awards, 2006.
  • Captivating and Curious exhibition catalogue, six essays National Museum of Australia Press, 2006.
  • Captivating and Curious, Collectables Trader, Australia, Dec 2005 - Feb 2006.
  • In search of the Birdsville Track – an artist in the outback, Noelle Sandwith, (eds) Johanna Parker and Sophie Jensen, National Museum of Australia Press, published 23 June 2005.
  • South East Film and Video Archive, A Guide to the Archive, South East Film and Video Archive, Brighton, England, 2002.

Updated:  20 January 2017/ Responsible Officer:  NCIS Project Coordinator/ Page Contact:  NCIS Administrative Officer