Dr Fiona Cameron

Dr Fiona Cameron with trees in the background.Dr Fiona Cameron is a senior research fellow at the Institute for Culture and Society. Fiona’s research and writing focuses on the idea of the museum and interrelationships between institutions and contemporary societies in an increasingly complex and globalising world. Fiona works across two broad fields. The first examines the agency of the museum sector in public culture in the representation of 'hot' topics of societal significance, most recently climate change. The second area of research interest investigates digital technologies and heritage collections. 

Fiona is frequently called on as a keynote and plenary speaker at international conferences. She also regularly conducts research with partners in the United States, Canada, the UK, Germany and Vanuatu. Dr Cameron was also a museum practitioner and has worked in the sector as a museum director, a social history curator and as a curatorial consultant on major exhibition projects in New Zealand, Australia, Singapore and Vanuatu.

In March 2011 Fiona led an Australian federal parliamentary briefing A Climate for Change (opens in a new window) on the findings of the ARC Linkage grant, 'Hot Science, Global Citizens: the Agency of the Museum Sector in Climate Change Interventions' to parliamentarians, government department employees, academics and the museum sector.


Ph.D. 2002, Social Anthropology and Museum Studies, Massey University, New Zealand.

BA Honours, 1985, Archaeology and Classics, University of Otago.

Honours and Awards

September 2013: Visiting Fellowship, Research Centre for Innovation in Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museum (iGLAM), City University, Hong Kong. 

July-August 2012 and June-August 2013: Visiting Fellowship, Deutsches Museum Research Institute, Munich.

August 2011 - April 2012: Carson Fellow, Rachel Carson Center, environmental humanities research institute  (a joint initiative of the LMU Munich (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München and the Deutsches Museum).

2001 - 2004: Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship, three year position at the University of Sydney.

2002: Getty Scholarship for research on digital media and museums.

1990: British Council Fellowship to undertake research at the British Museum, Museum of Mankind  and the Natural History Museum, London. 

1990: Goethe Institute Fellowship to undertake research at the Deutsches Museum, Munich.

1988-1990: Post-graduate scholarship, James Cook University, Material Culture Unit, James Cook University.

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Selected Grants  

2011-2013: Australian Research Council Discovery: 'Museum, field, metropolis, colony: museums and social governance', Professor Tony Bennett; Dr Fiona Cameron; Dr Ira Jacknis (Phoebe A. Heard Museum, University of California, Berkeley); Assoc. Professor Nelia Dias (University of Lisbon) and Assoc. Professor Conal McCarthy (Victoria University, New Zealand). 

2008-2010: Australian Research Council Linkage: 'Hot science, global citizens: the agency of the museum sector in climate change interventions with the Australian Museum', Powerhouse Museum; Museum Victoria; Questacon; Liberty Science Center, New York; University of Leicester, Museum Studies; University of Melbourne, Earth Sciences.  

2005-2007: Australian Research Council Linkage: 'Reconceptualising heritage collections', multidisciplinary models for museum collections and documentation with the Powerhouse Museum and University of Technology (CI 1).

2001–2004: Australian Research Council: 'SPIRT exhibitions as contested sites – the role of museums in contemporary society' with the Australian Museum and the Australian War Memorial (CI 1 and ARC Postdoctoral Fellowship).

2000–2002: Australian Research Council: 'SPIRT themescaping virtual collections' with Vernon systems and the Powerhouse Museum (C1 2).

2003: University of Sydney ARC Sesqui Grant, National Museums and Globalisation (CI 1).

2003: Canadian Museums Association Research Grant, Contested Sites Canada project (CI 2).

2002: University of Sydney ARC Sesqui Grant, Knowledge Objects (CI 1).

2005, 2004, 2003, 2002: Canadian Government, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Youth Professional International Program grant administered by the Canadian Museums Association (CI 1).

1996: Creative New Zealand grant for research into museums and models for community access spaces in Australian museums.

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Selected Publications


Cameron, F & Kenderdine, S (forthcoming), Compositions, materialities, embodiments, dynamics: theorizing digital cultural heritage for a complex, turbulent and entangled world, MIT Press.  

Cameron, F & Neilson, B (eds) (forthcoming), Climate change, museum futures. Routledge, New York. 

Cameron, F & Kelly, L (eds) 2010, Hot topics, public culture, museums, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Cameron, F & Kenderdine, S (eds) 2007, Theorizing digital cultural heritage: a critical discourse, MIT Press, Cambridge.

Book Chapters

Cameron, F & Mengler, S 2013, 'Authorising the unauthorised - liquidity, complexity and the heritage-tourist in the age of social media', in R Bushell, R Staiff & S Watson (eds), Heritage and tourism: place, encounter, engagement, Routledge, London, pp. 45-64.

Cameron, F 2012, 'Museum collections, documentation, and shifting knowledge paradigms', in G Anderson (eds), Re-inventing the museum: the evolving conversations on the paradigm shift, AltaMira Press, Lanham, pp. 223-38.

Cameron, F & Mengler, S 2010, 'Activating the networked object for a complex world', in G Styliaras, D Koukopoulos & F Lazarinis (eds), Handbook of research on technologies and cultural heritage: applications and environments, Information Science Reference, Hershey, pp. 166-87.

Cameron, F 2010, ‘Liquid governmentalities, liquid museums and the climate crisis’, in F Cameron & L Kelly (eds), Hot topics, public culture, museums, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne, pp. 112-28.

Cameron, F 2010, ‘Risk society, controversial topics and museum interventions: (re)reading controversy and the museum through a risk optic’, in F Cameron & L Kelly (eds), Hot topics, public culture, museums, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne, pp. 53-75.

Cameron, F 2010, ‘Introduction’, in F Cameron & L Kelly (eds), Hot topics, public culture, museums, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne, pp. 1-16.

Cameron, F 2009, ‘Museum collections, documentation and shifting knowledge paradigms’, in R Parry (ed.), Museums in a digital age, Routledge, Oxon & New York, pp. 80-95.

Cameron, F 2008, ‘Safe places for unsafe ideas? History and science museums, hot topics and moral predicaments’, in M Terwey (ed.), Social history in museums, Social History Curators Group, pp. 5-16.

Cameron, F 2007, ‘Introduction’, in F Cameron & S Kenderdine (eds), Theorizing digital cultural heritage: a critical discourse, MIT Press, Cambridge, pp. 1-18.

Cameron, F 2007, ‘Beyond the cult of the replicant – museums and historical digital objects: traditional concerns, new discourses’, in F Cameron & S Kenderdine (eds), Theorizing digital cultural heritage: a critical discourse, MIT Press, Cambridge, pp. 49-76.

Cameron, F & Robinson, H 2007, ‘Digital knowledgescapes: cultural, theoretical, practical, and usage issues facing museum collection databases in a digital epoch’, in F Cameron & S Kenderdine (eds), Theorizing digital cultural heritage: a critical discourse, MIT Press, Cambridge, pp. 165-191.

Cameron, F 2007, ‘The politics of heritage authorship: the case of digital heritage collections’, in Y Kalay, T Kvan & J Affleck (eds), New heritage, new media and cultural heritage, Routledge, London & New York, pp. 170-84.

Cameron, F 2007, ‘Moral lessons and reforming agendas: history museums, science museums, contentious topics and contemporary societies’, in S Knell, S Watson & S Macleod (eds), Museum revolutions: how museums change and are changed, Routledge, London & New York, pp. 330-42. 

Journal Articles

Cameron, F 2014. 'From “dead things” to immutable, combinable mobiles: H.D. Skinner, the Otago Museum and University and the governance of Maori populations', History and Anthropology, vol. 25, no. 2, pp, 208-226. 

Cameron, F, Hodge, B & Salazar, JF 2013, 'Representing climate change in museum spaces and places'Wires, Climate Change, Interdisciplinary Reviews, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 9-21.  

Cameron, F 2012, 'Climate change, agencies and the museum and science centre sector'Museum Management and Curatorship, vol. 27, no. 4, pp. 317-39

Cameron, F & Mengler, S 2012, 'Cosmopolitics, heritage collections and border crossings', International Journal of Heritage Studies, vol. 18, no. 6, pp. 637-53.

Cameron, F 2011, ‘Saving the "disappearing islands": climate change governance, small island states in the Pacific and cosmopolitan dispositions’Continuum, vol. 25, no. 6, pp. 873-86. 

Cameron, F 2011, ‘Climate change as a complex phenomenon and the problem of cultural governance’Museum and Society, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 84-89. 

Cameron, F 2011, ‘From mitigation to creativity: the agency of museums and science centres and the means to govern climate change’Museum and Society, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 90-106. 

Cameron, F & Deslandes, A 2011, ‘Museums and science centres as sites for deliberative democracy on climate change’Museum and Society, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 136-53. 

Cameron, F & Mengler, S 2009, Complexity, trans-disciplinarity and museum collections documentation: emergent metaphors for a complex worldJournal of Material Culture, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 189-218.

Cameron, F 2008, ‘Object-oriented democracies: conceptualising museum collections in networks’Museum Management and Curatorship, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 229-43.

Cameron, F 2006, ‘Beyond surface representations: museums, edgy topics, civic responsibilities and modes of engagement’Open Museum Journal, no. 8, <http://hosting.collectionsaustralia.net/omj/vol8/cameron.html >.

Cameron, F 2006, 'Criticality and contention: museums, contemporary societies, civic roles and responsiblities in the 21st century', Open Museum Journal , no. 8, <http://hosting.collectionsaustralia.net/omj/vol8/editorial.html >.

Cameron, F 2005, 'Contentiousness and shifting knowledge paradigms: the roles of history and science museums in contemporary societies', Museum Management and Curatorship, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 213-33.

Cameron, F 2005, ‘Digital futures II: museum collections, documentation and shifting knowledge paradigms’Collections - A Journal for Museum and Archive Professionals, vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 243-59. 

Cameron, F 2003, ‘Transcending fear – engaging emotions and opinions - a case for museums in the 21st century’Open Museum Journal, no. 6, <http://hosting.collectionsaustralia.net/omj/vol6/index.html>.

Cameron, F 2003, ‘Digital futures I: museum collections, users, information needs and the cultural construction of knowledge’Curator, vol. 46, no. 3, pp. 325-40.

Cameron, F 2003, ‘The next generation – "knowledge environments" and digital collections’Museums and the Web 2003, <http://www.archimuse.com/mw2003/papers/cameron/cameron.html>.

Cameron, F 2001, ‘Wired collections – the next generation’, International Journal of Museum Management and Curatorship, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 309-15. 

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Refereed Special Issues 

2011: Guest editor, 'Special issue: Hot science, global citizens: the agency of the museum sector in climate change interventions', Museum and Society, vol. 9, no. 2.

2006: Co-editor, 'Contest and contemporary society: redefining museums in the 21st century', symposium proceedings with Andrea Witcomb, Open Museum, vol. 8.

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