Andrew Simpson

Andrew Simpson
Macquarie University

Bachelor of Arts, PhD, Postgraduate Cerificate in Higher Education
Silurian conodonts, Broken River

About

233
Publications
84,030
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923
Citations
Citations since 2016
67 Research Items
473 Citations
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Introduction
I introduced and developed Australia's first undergraduate degree program in Museum Studies followed by a suite of postgraduate programs, both delivered from a Science Faculty. I have research interests in the history, role and functions of museums in society, in particular, university museums, museum education, natural history and the public understanding of science. I also retain research interests stemming from my PhD studies in Paleozoic geology and conodont biostratigraphy and taxonomy.
Additional affiliations
June 2022 - present
The University of Sydney
Position
  • Postdoctoral Research Affiliate Chau Chak Wing Museum
May 2018 - June 2021
Macquarie University
Position
  • Casual staff
April 2014 - April 2018
Macquarie University
Position
  • Fellow

Publications

Publications (233)
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This paper charts a small collaborative research project involving managers of university museums and collections based in one higher education institution. Data around museum and collection processes were gathered over a one-year period in an attempt to develop and quantify a series of value propositions. These are explored with the framework of v...
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This case study describes a project designed by university museum curators, managers and educators working in collaboration with curriculum designers to elicit new uses for university museum collection objects in the delivery of tertiary, secondary and primary education programs. It involves an object-based learning community of practice experiment...
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This paper documents a novel combination of art therapy and reminiscence therapy for people living with dementia and their carers. The Art and Object Engagement program was a collaborative community engagement project between two campus museums involving art and social history collections for a group of people with limited opportunities for cultura...
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Editorial for the UMAC Journal 13 (1), being the abstracts volume for the UMAC Universeum 2021 conference
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The Ireviken Event was the first Middle Paleozoic event consisting of synchronised faunal, isotopic and facies change to be recognised. An analysis of the conodont faunas throughout the Boree Creek/Borenore Limestone succession in the central western region of the Tasman fold belt of New South Wales (Australia) revealing all five conodont zones tha...
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This paper presents data about the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on university museums and collections through the stories and reflection of individual university staff from Europe, North and South America, Africa and Asia. It is shown that one common impact was the requirement for university museums and collections to transfer much of their prog...
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This paper argues that creative use of material collections in higher education has the potential to significantly counteract the marginalisation (or residualisation) of the humanities in many national university sectors. Material collections have been at the core of knowledge-based organisations since antiquity but their cross-disciplinary utility...
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At the heart of this 'object-based learning' 2018 L&T funded project was the aim to develop a model to comprehensively map collection objects with units across campus and out into schools. The purpose was to remove barriers between the learning and teaching community and the Macquarie University collections. Due to timing and resource restraints th...
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In 2017 the annual conference of UMAC, the international committee of ICOM for university museums and collections, was held in Finland at two primary locations, the University of Helsinki and the University of Jyväskylä. This was the seventeenth annual meeting of the group who came together to consider the range of global issues that impact univers...
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The process of applying a collection level significance assessment to the entire geological collection at the University of Canberra reveals an interesting and unique collection that reflects past academic endeavours at the former pre-university institution focused on the production of industry ready graduates to feed historic economic booms in Aus...
Conference Paper
Neil Frazer is an Australian artist who has exhibited extensively in Australia and New Zealand since the mid-1980s and is recognised for his large scale canvases, encompassing abstraction and figuration. A common theme in his works is coastal landscapes. A donation of several works to the Macquarie University Art Gallery provided an opportunity to...
Conference Paper
Objects have always been associated with knowledge. Their contradictory nature of immutability through observation and measurement, and variability through a capacity for recontextualisation, gives them power and poignancy as tools in education. Their central role in teaching and learning is a higher education tradition that extends back to the Ren...
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Representing over a century of leading college and university museums, the presenters will reflect upon the fundamental ideals of academic museums and their essential importance in providing perspective, understanding, values and wisdom to students, faculty and a general public buffeted by the competing concerns of an increasingly fragmented and co...
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This paper focuses on the initial stages of a pilot project, seeking to support and develop object-based learning within the university curriculum across Macquarie University – and to showcase the value of collections as research infrastructure. It is the first multi-site museum project to receive funding at this university – because of expected va...
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From the early 1980s to the early 2000s, MUCEP (Macquarie University Centre for Ecostratigraphy and Palaeobiology) undertook field work in remote far north Queensland. The focus was developing a biostratigraphic understanding of middle Palaeozoic strata through the study of microfossils, extracted from limestone by acid leaching and macrofossils. T...
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This paper considers the application of five specific, related frameworks, usually associated with large, well-funded institutions and discusses how they can be applied to a small campus museum. We discuss programs developed by the Australian History Museum at Macquarie University in Sydney and show how these support either individual or multiple f...
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Late Silurian and Early Devonian conodonts are documented from outcropping limestones at nine Cobar Supergroup localities: the Booth Limestone, the Mountain Dam Limestone, the Beloura Tank Limestone Member of the Baledmund Formation, the “Lerida Limestone Member” of the Amphitheatre Group, and limestones in Stoney Creek in the Gundabooka National P...
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Science tells us that humans are a primate species with a strongly enhanced cerebral cortex. It provides a space for a complex neural network with billions of connections. It is the hardware that gives us a template for the development of science, culture and the arts and all the many places where they intersect. Human imagination and curiosity, un...
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Expansion of sporting facilities provided an opportunity to develop a new museum, the Macquarie University Sporting Hall of Fame Museum. This came from a decision to build linkages with sporting alumni to develop a distinct sense of institutional identity and instil a sense of pride and endowment in the Macquarie University community. Museum studie...
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Objects have underpinned pedagogic strategies in the arts and sciences. While recent online units of study enable isolated students to experience higher education, they are usually unable to examine collections. A 3D laser scanning project at Macquarie University creating a ‘virtual museum’ will enable distance students to experiment with curatoria...
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Australia has a relatively young higher education sector modelled on European traditions including the development of material collections in support of teaching, research and community engagement. Increased competition within the sector provides an impetus for constructing distinctive organisational identities. Historic milestones can be a trigger...
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A recent national policy initiative in Australia has the potential to affect the nature of exhibition work in university exhibition spaces. The "Australia in the Asian Century" document encourages cross-cultural discourse particularly in higher education. It is this sentiment that informed the final show at the Macquarie University Art Gallery for...
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Engagement with objects, either directly or through digital media, has long been recognized as a viable, constructivist pedagogy, capable of mediating significant meaning and context. The increasing uptake of digital technologies in university learning and teaching programs provides a timely opportunity for integrating museum and collection data an...
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University museums and collections – and the cultural, educational and research potential that they represent to a campus landscape – can appear at times insufficiently recognized by their host institutions as relevant and having the potential to add value to them. This paper investigates the setting in which museums and collections and Macquarie U...
Conference Paper
The Council of Australian University Museums and Collections (CAUMAC) recently undertook a sector wide data gathering exercise to connect with key stakeholders and inform future advocacy efforts. A total of 400 university museums and collections in Australia were identified in comparison with 268 in the first Cinderella Report in 1996. The higher...
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University museums and collections – and the cultural, educational and research potential that they represent to a campus landscape – can appear at times insufficiently recognized by their host institutions as relevant and having the potential to add value to them. This paper investigates the setting in which museums and collections and Macquarie U...
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Conodont data from a section through the Boree Creek Formation in New South Wales, the best sequence in Australia extending through the Llandovery–Wenlock boundary, represent strata of the Ireviken Event. A significant number of conodont datum planes within the sequence indicating step-wise extinctions can be recognised and correlated with the sequ...
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In recent decades there has been a rapid expansion in tertiary education programs that purport to prepare students to become workers in the museums and collections sector. These programs are highly variable in terms of focus, content and pedagogy. Those seeking employment in a diverse sector such as ours need to be aware of the range of opportuniti...

Questions

Questions (5)
Question
Knowledge can be produced in many places; business, government, broadcasting, entertainment and many self-organised citizen groups. Universities and museums, however, are often referred to as organisational types whose primary purpose is knowledge. In considering how knowledge functions to benefit society, there are two separate but linked processes namely, the generation of knowledge and the transmission of knowledge. The Humboldt model links the two together as interdependent in the academy where research, as the generation of knowledge, informs teaching which can be considered a specialised form of knowledge transmission.
Museums on the other hand transmit knowledge mostly through exhibition work and informal education programs rather than the structured curriculum of universities. Larger museums will also undertake the generation of knowledge where possible. But most small museums have no, or little, capacity to undertake research. Even larger museums in western nations with neoliberal government agendas are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain a capacity for research. With decreasing government financial support many larger museums have to rely on generating revenue through knowledge transmission activities.
In functional terms should museums be essentially considered as knowledge transmitters rather than knowledge generators? In other words is their most important role is interpreting and communicating knowledge that has been developed elsewhere, such as in universities?
I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this question and any links to pertinent literature.
Question
The Council of Australian University Museums and Collections is currently calling for proposals for our symposium to be held at the Australian National University on April 6, 2018.
While the symposium is primarily a way for us to gauge the Australian experience of this issue, we also welcome international perspectives. Even if you are not able to attend the symposium, we'd love to hear responses to this question from your part of the world.
A number of associated questions follow from this:-
How have universities dealt with the issue of legacy collections?
What are the advantages and pitfalls of valuing legacy collections based on their potential for new research?
How do you manage a collection to be ready for research that might currently be unforeseeable?
What does this mean for collections whose research potential is unknown?
The thoughts of university curators, researchers, professional staff, administrative staff, university leaders and students who would like to help shape our thinking on this issue are welcome. Also interested in examples from your area of expertise.
And of course, if you are in our part of the world at the time, please come to the symposium!

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