Accepted Paper:

Lord Moyne's anthropological expeditions in south Papua  


Nick Stanley (The British Museum)
Susanne Hammacher (Übersee-Museum Bremen)

Paper short abstract:

This paper traces the visual record of Lord Moyne’s 1936 Walkabout visit to West Papua (his third such visit) and the ways in which it involved the British Museum and the Royal Anthropological Institute in its inception, execution and legacy.

Paper long abstract:

The presentation will explore four sources of visual material:

(1) The 1936 album of photographs belonging to Lord Moyne's nephew, Lord Arthur Alveden who was a member of the party

(2) The 1936 photographs of Lady Vera Broughton taken on this trip and deposited at the British Museum, the Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography and the Pitt Rivers Museum

(3) The 16mm film clips made by Lady Broughton deposited at the RAI and recently restored

(4) The 16 mm films of Lord Elveden shown at the RAI benefit exhibition in London in 1936 recently restored

The intention is to make all of this material digitally available for the newly rebuilt Asmat Museum of Culture and Progress in Agats, Asmat, West Papua where it will provide further documentation of the Asmat people from the central and coastal regions to be added to the local museum database now under construction.

This archival material also offers an opportunity to rethink the ontological status of this corpus of visual material. For example, there is in Moyne's research programme a lively interest in documenting the undocumented which inevitably meant meeting and negotiating with those they met. In turn this involved Moyne and his party discovering the protocols and ethical concerns involved in the Maussian discourse of barter and trade (Mauss The Gift 1990, Robbins 'Rethinking gifts and commodities 2009). Documenting this exchange was a major focus of the photographic record as well as the book Walkabout which offered an account of the expedition

Panel P05
Reviving the archives as pictorial histories