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Stream began June 17, 2021 8:30 PM UTC
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The 2020/21 Menzies Screening continues with an important documentary by current Menzies Australia Institute co-directors Martin Thomas and Béatrice Bijon, who will join us after the film for a live Q&A, along with former Curator of Living Cultures at the Manchester Museum, Stephen Welsh, who was instrumental in the recent, unconditional repatriation of Indigenous objects.


Etched in Bone tells an extraordinary story of theft and repatriation. When the Smithsonian Institution agrees to repatriate stolen human bones from northern Australia, an Aboriginal elder creates a ceremony that restores his ancestors’ spirits to their homeland. Linking into contemporary debates about decolonizing museum collections and repatriating cultural artefacts and human remains, the post-screening discussion will consider recent efforts in the US and the UK.


This online screening is free and open to all (including audiences outside the UK), and will take place live and online via Eventive. It will be followed by a live Q&A with the filmmakers, Martin Thomas and Béatrice Bijon, alongside museum curator Stephen Welsh, and will be chaired by Menzies Screenings curator, Stephen Morgan. If you miss the live session, there will also be an opportunity to watch the film and recorded Q&A for a limited period after the event.

This screening is presented in partnership with

Border Crossings Origins Festival of First Nations.





Dr Béatrice Bijon is a scholar of English literature and women’s history, based in Canberra at the Australian National University. She is presently Co-Director of the Menzies Australia Institute. In her native France she was Senior Lecturer in English literature and history at the University of Saint-Etienne, Lyon (2002-2012). Her present projects include work on the memorialisation of women’s activism and the life-work partnership of the photographer Axel Poignant and visual anthropologist Roslyn Poignant.


Professor Martin Thomas is multi-award-winning cultural historian and documentary maker, usually based at the Australian National University in Canberra where he is Professor of History. Until the end of 2021, he is working at the Menzies Australia Institute as Co-Director. His work spans landscape and environmental history, exploration and expeditions, history of anthropology, and narratives of cross-cultural encounter. He arrived at King’s after a year in Ireland where he was the visiting Keith Cameron Professor of Australian History at University College Dublin.


Stephen Welsh is an independent curator, consultant and creative producer, with extensive curatorial and project management experience. Until 2020, he was the Curator of Living Cultures at Manchester Museum, where he led the unconditional repatriation of 43 secret, sacred and ceremonial objects to several Indigenous groups in partnership with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS).


Stephen Morgan is a film programmer and academic whose research focuses on the cultural history of British and Australian cinema and the broader intersections of Empire and nation within settler and Indigenous cinemas. As well as serving as the Screenings Coordinator for the Menzies Australia Institute, he is also the Co-Programmer of the London Australian Film Society & Festival.