Materialities, mobilities and multiple modernities: Exploring new approaches to Australia’s ‘heritage of the air’.

Tracy Ireland, Ashley Harrison, Sally Brockwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Australia boasts more than 70 public and private aviation-related museums and collections nationwide, alongside numerous heritage-listed places, special interest groups and historical societies. While scholarly accounts of aviation as a key context of modernity are growing internationally, few attempts have been made to connect these critical perspectives to the material culture of aviation as it is collected and cared for by collecting institutions and community groups. The Heritage of the Air project aims to move beyond established narratives of aviation as a technologically determined project of national development to produce interpretations that connect more diverse communities to the ‘vibrant matter’ of aviation heritage. In this article we review recent research on aviation heritage and introduce some of the ways that this new project is working with artefacts, places, images, archives and collections, and with digital humanities approaches, to produce more inclusive accounts of aviation cultures. These approaches are contextualised within the themes covered in papers from the 2019 Heritage of the Air Conference held in Canberra, which form the basis of this aviation heritage-themed Special Issue of Historic Environment.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)14-31
Number of pages18
JournalHistoric Environment
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventHeritage of the Air: Modernism, machines, migration, memories - ANU, Canberra, Australia
Duration: 14 Nov 201917 Nov 2019


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