McCalman became Director in mid-1995, continuing the Centre’s long tradition of focus on history and culture, including Australia’s Indigenous history, and reaffirming Clarke’s commitment ‘not only to take European studies out to Australians but also to take Australia and the Pacific out to Europeans.’ He also continued its tradition of innovation, initiating a bid for a special research centre which would become the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research (CCR), introducing the annual Freilich Foundation lectures on Bigotry and Tolerance, and supporting the relocation of the HRC and the CCR from the A.D. Hope Building to Old Canberra House on the Acton Peninsula, forming a research precinct with the National Museum of Australia and the planned National Europe Centre.
Graeme Clarke retired in 1999 ater 18 years as Deputy Director, Director, Associate Director and Acting Director. Former Deputy Director of the Queensland Art Gallery Dr Caroline Turner became Deputy Director of the HRC in January 2000, bringing special expertise in contemporary art which would assist greatly to broaden the Centre’s research interests in Asia.
Graeme Clarke’s five-year term as Director came to an end in mid-1995 and Iain McCalman took over as Director. Clarke remained as Associate Director and continued to have a very significant intellectual input into the HRC. In a characteristically gracious ‘Welcome to the Director’ penned by Clarke to McCalman and published in the Centre’s June 1995 Bulletin Clarke wished Iain well and thanked him for serving as Acting Director for seven months during the very stressful period of the HRC Review ‘when Iain demonstrated how well the Centre is going to fare under his Directorship. All who use the Centre now and in the future are in his debt’. One might add that they were also in considerable debt to Graeme Clarke for his extraordinary contributions over such a lengthy period of service.
The Report of the Review Committee had been enormously supportive of the Centre and admirable in its vision of future strategy. There was however still the problem of tactics. The Steering Committee ‘noted the excellence of the HRC Review had now been acknowledged by the University, but apart from being separated from the Review of the Institute [of Advanced Studies], no further action had been taken by senior University administration in regard to the future funding of the HRC’. In fact this was what everything else depended on: it could not be expected that the HRC could attempt to do more than it was doing already without more staff and more funding. Director of the RSSS Professor Geoffrey Brennan had ‘expressed his concern that the work of the Centre at times placed unrealistic pressure on the Directors, when one was on leave, due to the lack of academic support staff’.
Indeed for a time while Clarke was on leave the HRC had consisted for practical purposes of McCalman and Leena Messina. The fundamental problem was still that the Centre ‘had to finance any additional academic staff directly from its own budget’, which meant that more staff meant less money and therefore less capacity to host the activities which the increased staff would be responsible for managing. It was still the classic catch-22 situation. And what was worse was that the University had made it clear, despite the accolades received by the Centre during the Review process, that money for sustained or new research programmes had to be sought outside, such as through competition for ARC grants. Thus new and innovative ways of attracting such funding would have to be found if the Centre were to move forward. The next five years would see McCalman undertake an energetic and indeed visionary series of initiatives to achieve some spectacular results for the Centre, ANU and the humanities.
The HRC had continued its outreach profile and conference programme through all the turmoil and distractions of the Review. Visitors included Dr George Abungu from the National Museum of Kenya, Professor Dipesh Chakrabarty from the University of Chicago, Dr Julian Cobbing from Rhodes University, Dr Saul Dubow from the University of Sussex, Professor Toyin Falola from the University of Texas at Austin, and Ms Alinah Segobye from the University of Botswana. And the accolades kept on coming: Professor Julian Cobbing declared that the ‘facilities and atmosphere at the HRC were everything promised by the Director, Professor Graeme Clarke … It has been my first visit to Australia, and it has been a captivating experience’. ‘Can the humanities humanise?’ Professor Toyin Falola asked.
My answer was always negative until I came here. Now I can at least say yes and illustrate with the HRC, ANU. The HRC has changed my mind by showing that scholarship can be pursued in a congenial and peaceful atmosphere. The staff is friendly and dedicated. The Director and the Associate Director are true leaders … Centres like this one are rare. If I were to rate it internationally, I would rank it as the best for its facilities, quality of staff, quality of fellows and conferences, and its accessibility to learning resources.
Such an accolade might have seemed sufficient on its own. But there is no such thing as too much appreciation, and there were many testimonials just as impressive in terms of what was being said and who was saying it. Dr John Lonsdale of Trinity College, Cambridge, could not ‘remember a more productive and collegially enjoyable time … My abiding impression is the friendly efficiency of the place, with your superb staff always ready to help … So many thanks to Graeme and you – especially for attending and contributing to sessions way outside your fields’. Professor Bruce J. Berman of Queen’s University, Ontario, was
happy to report that the HRC has provided me with the most stimulating and congenial intellectual community of my academic career … I think that you and Graeme have set a most admirable standard of intellectual discourse and hospitality at the Centre … The HRC is a unique institution. Long may it flourish!
Dr Joanna Casey of the Department of Anthropology, University of South Carolina, did not know ‘where to begin to praise the staff at the HRC. I have never received such warm, and professional treatment as I have at HRC … I cannot imagine two more excellent Directors than you and Graeme …’
Clarke and Schreuder had agreed in 1993 that ‘Africa’ should be the theme for 1995. It was all the more appropriate now that the HRC had an African-born Director. The theme also allowed the HRC to continue its strongly established policy of examining critical issues of contemporary societies. Events commenced with an important workshop on HIV in Africa organised by Director of the United Nations HIV Program Elizabeth Reid. Large numbers of experts, especially from Africa, attended to discuss the terrible human crisis on the Continent.
The three major conferences planned earlier also went ahead. Professor of Archaeology and Palaeoanthropology at the University of New England Graham Connah convened one on the seminal aspect of Africa: Precolonial Achievement which aimed to draw attention to the growing data on social, economic and technological attainments of Africa prior to European colonisation. Dr David Dorward from the Department of History at La Trobe convened a second on Out of Africa: Texts for Understanding the African Past, (focussing on the uses of ‘texts’, written and oral and material culture as evidence of the past) with both international experts and ANU Africa specialists including Professor Anthony Low giving papers. This was held in conjunction with an exhibition at the Drill Hall Gallery, ‘Objects of Adornment: Personal Art in Africa’ (an exhibition of Sub-Saharan jewellery, snuff boxes and other items from the Christensen Collection and that of David Dorward); and Schreuder and Professor Peter Alexander convened a third on What is Happening in Africa Today. Iain McCalman later recalled:
The Africa year exercised a profound impact on me and all those who participated, an impact that went well beyond the intellectual, important though that was. We did not attract huge crowds but the collective enterprise did so much good. Black African scholars in so many countries were utterly starved of resources that our humblest students would take utterly for granted – things like photocopying, computers, telephones. Many of them … were being hounded by authoritarian governments. Their classes were closed down and their pay withheld unless they toed some dictatorial line. The opportunity to travel overseas, to meet scholars from both their own continent and the rest of world was unique. Most of them knew and acted as if this was the one chance of a lifetime. They threw themselves into the year with an enthusiasm, exuberance and intensity that was quite breathtaking. Many of them also later reported that the prestige of coming to the HRC had transformed the attitudes of those who ruled their universities. They were promoted and given better resources. Equally, African studies was finding itself increasingly beleaguered here in Australia as we turned more and more inward culturally and focussed on more and more utilitarian kinds of teaching and research. The HRC gave the field a stimulus that has probably been the chief reason it has survived in Australia to this day.
There were important out-of-theme conferences in 1995 including McCalman’s joint conference with the History Program at ANU and the Research School of Social Sciences on New Directions in British History and the first Freilich Colloquium on Tolerance Studies: an examination of Diasporic and Multicultural Approaches to South East Asian Studies convened by Professor of South Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago Dipesh Chakrabarty and Dr Kalpana Ram (Gender Studies RSPAS ANU). Thus began one of the HRC’s most important adjunct programmes made possible by a generous donation from Herbert and Valmae Freilich to allow public programmes and research into intolerance, the causes of bigotry and how such intolerance might be combated through education. Herbert Freilich, a retired doctor from Sydney, and his wife Valmae had decided in 1990 to make a significant bequest to ANU for this purpose but little had been done until Iain McCalman and the HRC took up the proposal. Herbert Freilich wrote later:
We knew of the ANU only as being the name of a University in Canberra. The reason for selecting the ANU was because we had in mind two aspects to a study of bigotry. One was an academic programme of study and the other was to use the results of such a study to advise and perhaps influence policy. The academic study did not need Canberra but the “advise and influence” part seemed more appropriate in the national capital; the Parliament, the Ministries, the national archives, the national gallery and national film centre to portray aspects and effects of bigotry, etc.
In the same year the HRC also presented a Summer School on ‘Modernist and Postmodernist Perspectives on Religion, Literature and the Arts’ held at the School of Studies in Religion at the University of Sydney and convened by Associate Professor James Tulip and Dr Raymond Younis; and a special public lecture and Named Seminar, The Making of a Public Intellectual, convened by Associate Professor Tim Bonyhady and Dr Tom Griffiths, organised by the HRC, RSSS and the Sir Robert Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, and sponsored by the Australian Academy of the Humanities, the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and the National Museum in honour of Emeritus Professor John Mulvaney, formerly Professor of Prehistory in The Faculties and recognised as Australia’s most distinguished prehistorian. Mulvaney had done much to change understanding of Australia’s past and contributed to developing policies related to heritage, archaeological and museum and conservation practice. He was in every sense a public intellectual par excellence: Secretary of Australian Academy of the Humanities, President of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies, Australian delegate to the UNESCO Committee on World Heritage, among other services to scholarship and the community. Mulvaney was also a member of the critical Piggott Committee review of Australian Museums and National Collections and a key figure in the debates surrounding the establishment of the National Museum of Australia with which the HRC was to be extensively involved in future years. Papers were given by many specialists, among them Professors Isabel McBryde, Ken Inglis and Greg Dening as well as younger scholars such as Tom Griffiths, Bain Attwood, Howard Morphy, Deborah Bird Rose and Marcia Langton, Chair of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and later Professor of Australian Indigenous Studies at the University of Melbourne. Thus the HRC continued its long tradition of focus on Indigenous history and culture in Australia as well as European and settler culture.
The HRC’s 1995 programme had been an imposing display of outreach and it had been accomplished amidst all the storm and stress of its most critical review. Meanwhile the University had resolved that the HRC should be ‘deemed a University centre, associated for administrative purposes with The Faculties and accountable to the council through the Board of The Faculties’. What this meant in practice was that the formal location and administration of the Centre was to be transferred from RSSS to The Faculties Business Office after 8 March, 1996. Professor Iain Wright of the Faculty of Arts and Chairman of the HRC’s Steering Committee thus stepped in as Acting Director while McCalman was on leave to RSSS in late 1995 and until the return of Graeme Clarke from a dig in Syria. McCalman had also been successful in obtaining a grant from Quality funds of $50 000 for equipment upgrade and a junior Academic for a three-year period to assist with administration, graduate teaching and developing the HRC’s electronic capacities. Dr Benjamin Penny, a specialist in Chinese religion, was appointed in 1996 for three years as a result as Project Officer (Academic). His role would be essentially to edit the new journal, facilitate the web site and new electronic mailing lists, organise conferences and later to manage the Freilich colloquia. He was appointed Executive Officer of the Freilich Foundation in 1999. This did not really provide support for the Visiting Fellows programme or allow assistance for research projects. However, Penny also assisted for a time with developing the Australian Studies Graduate teaching programme begun by Dr Sylvia Kleinert which McCalman was developing for the Graduate School as a focussed HRC commitment to teaching through another grant he received for this purpose. Kleinert also undertook two offshore developments including conferences and exhibitions of Aboriginal art to Yogyjakarta, Indonesia and Potsdam, Germany. The Australian Studies programme continued for three years with a board of studies that included Professor Bruce Bennett from the Australia Defence Force Academy, and from ANU, Dr Nicholas Brown from Urban Research, Professor Ann Curthoys who became Convener, Professor Francesca Merlan from Anthropology, Mr Nigel Lendon from the School of Art, Dr David Parker from English, Professor John Warhurst from Political Science, Dr Jennifer Rutherford from Australian Studies, Mr Neville Perkins from the Jabal Centre and later Professor Joan Kerr. A number of students were successful graduates through the programme and a series of colloquia were held by the HRC to stimulate Australian Studies at ANU.
Donaldson, Clarke and Schreuder had in their time proposed at least partial solutions to the besetting difficulty of lack of funds and academic staff by expanding the role of the Centre to undertake teaching responsibilities and introducing named lectures. McCalman’s answer was by contrast literally revolutionary in that it would involve changes, anticipated and unanticipated, which would alter the structure and even the physical location of the Centre. The basic concept had been foreshadowed in his letter of 28 February 1994 to the Vice-Chancellor, in which he had raised the possibility of developing a programme for Advanced Cultural Studies within the structure of an expanded HRC. It was a brilliant, even visionary, solution of the problem of how to expand the HRC’s reach and scholarly projects which McCalman was also able to inspire others to support: he discussed the idea of a bid to the Australian Research Council for a Centre of Research Excellence during 1995 with Dr Nicholas Thomas of the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, and also with Professor Ann Curthoys, now with the Department of History in The Faculties in terms of a submission to the Australian Research Council. Ann Curthoys had had a long association with the HRC, at least since 1986 as a Visiting Fellow during the ‘Feminism’ year. She had served as well as a member of the contact group encouraging collaboration between the Centre and other universities; had been a conference organiser in 1991 and a member of the committees which had appointed Deryck Schreuder and later Iain McCalman; had served on an assessment committee in 1994 for the ARC Key Centre on Media Policy at Griffith University; was now a member of the HRC Steering Committee and would later be Chair of the National Advisory Board of the new Centre. She ‘knew what such committees looked for’.
Thomas and Curthoys gave their strong support. However, the ARC had never funded such a Centre in the humanities and some extraordinary work would have to be done by McCalman to achieve what many thought was impossible. Thus the concept for what would finally be called the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research (CCR) was born. At the subsequent inauguration of the CCR several metaphors related to conception and birth were utilised. The two Centres would eventually be described as ‘sister’ institutions. But however their relationship was later described and phrased the CCR was without doubt the child of the HRC and McCalman was without doubt the father.
McCalman and Thomas’s resulting submission to the ARC forecast a Centre focussing on long-term fellowships and research projects to complement the HRC’s focus on short-term fellowships and conferences and joint research projects. There would be three integrated individual work streams, comprising Studies of Australia in the Asia-Pacific region in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, which would be McCalman’s field; Anthropology, Archaeology and Art History, which would be Nicholas Thomas’s; and Ethnographic Film and CD-ROM Anthologies, to be handled by Dr David MacDougall.
Later Professor Joan Kerr of the University of NSW joined to work on visual culture. Bringing two such distinguished scholars in their respective fields as the latter to ANU and into the CCR was an enormous boost. The proposed new Centre for Advanced Cultural Studies would be complementary to the HRC, as one third of the future projects of the HRC would fit into the subjects nominated. The new Centre would of course require a full-time Director, and McCalman proposed Nicholas Thomas for that role. It was however the intention that the Director of the new Centre would be supervised by the Director of the HRC. This relationship between the two Directors was thus fundamental to the whole strategy: the new institution was to be a centre within a centre which would generate new sources of funding to provide for the expansion of the HRC and thus allow the HRC to take on long-term research projects by the appointment of funded postdoctoral scholars to work on such projects. It soon became apparent that this concept was not going to be acceptable to the ARC, so it seemed that the new Centre would have to operate as an independent unit, which would obviously pose potential administrative problems. However, it was intended to get around this by having Iain McCalman play a leading role in both Centres.
The HRC Steering Committee recorded on 30 July 1996 that the submission for the new centre, to be called the Centre for Cross-Cultural Studies
had developed to a site visit on 8 August [by the ARC]. The relationship of the Centre with the HRC was discussed and it was noted that several activities would be carried out jointly, ie, conferences, summer school, sharing visiting fellowships. The Director of the HRC would also devote 1/3 of his time to research in the new Centre’.
This produced a significant temporary financial benefit to the HRC, in that a third of McCalman’s salary for a period of time was to be paid out of the ARC funding for the CCR.
Future prospects seemed extraordinarily exciting: optimism at the HRC had been buoyed by another wide-ranging conference series in 1996 under the theme year of ‘Culture and Science’. Re-Imagining the Pacific: A Conference on Art History and Anthropology in Honour of Bernard Smith was a joint venture between the HRC and the National Library and attracted more participants than any other save the ‘Feminism’ and ‘Sexuality’ blockbusters, Bernard Smith’s opening public lecture being attended by around 450 people. The Conference resulted in a major publication edited by Nicholas Thomas from ANU and Dr Diane Losche from the College of Fine Arts, University of NSW and was also sponsored by Qantas, the Canberra School of Art at ANU, the Faculty of Arts at ANU, the Power Institute of Fine Arts, University of Sydney, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, and the Australian Foundation for Culture and Humanities. Its intention was to review Bernard Smith’s fundamental contributions to understanding colonial art and settler colonialism as well as the representation of non-European peoples in the Pacific. It examined new ways of understanding how representations of the Pacific were constructed by Europeans and Indigenous peoples and then looked at settler and Indigenous traditions in Australian art. Key speakers included Professor Anne Salmond from New Zealand, Dr Bronwen Douglas, then at La Trobe University, Dr Jocelyn Hackforth-Jones from Richmond College London, Professor Jonathan Lamb from Princeton, Margo Neale, then Curator of Indigenous art at the Queensland Art Gallery, Professor Fred Myers, New York University, Dr Howard Morphy then at the Pitt Rivers Museum, Dr Michael Rosenthal from the University of Warwick, Professors Terry Smith, University of Sydney and Joan Kerr, University of NSW, and Dr Sylvia Kleinert, Professor Margaret Jolly, Nigel Lendon, and Professor Nicholas Thomas from ANU, with artists Judy Watson from Australia and John Pule from New Zealand participating as keynote speakers.
The themed HRC conference on Science and Other Knowledge Traditions held at James Cook University in Cairns, and convened by Dr Henrietta Fourmile of Bukal Consulting Queensland, Dr David Turnbull from Deakin University and Associate Professor (later Professor) Paul Turnbull from James Cook University, drew a remarkable 100 or so people a day, including secondary school teachers from North Queensland. A highly significant feature was the attendance of Indigenous scholars, Elders and Knowledge Custodians from North Queensland Murri and Islander communities. Mick Dodson, now a Professor at ANU and then Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, opened the conference. Other speakers singled out as truly memorable by participants were Hori Parata of the Ngati Wai Trust and his colleagues and Aurukun Elder Mrs Gladys Tybingoompa. Important papers from this Conference were published in a special issue of the HRC’s journal Humanities Research in 2000. The tenth David Nichol Smith seminar Margins and Metropolis: Literature, Culture and Science, 1660-1830 convened by Dr Ian Higgins and Dr Gillian Russell, both of the Department of English, Faculty of Arts, ANU, provided an important impetus for eighteenth century scholarship in Australia and New Zealand. This conference marked the return of the DNS seminar to Canberra after a thirteen-year absence and was jointly sponsored by the HRC, the National Library, the Australasian and Pacific Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (APSECS), Qantas and the British Council.
Another HRC major themed conference in 1996 was The Natural Sciences and the Social Sciences convened by Dr Dorothy Porter from Birkbeck College, University of London with a number of overseas speakers, and a Colloquium on Enlightenment, Religion and Science in the Long Eighteenth Century in conjunction with the Research School of Social Sciences at ANU and convened by McCalman with again a number of overseas specialists. There were over 60 visitors to the HRC in 1996 and a number of shared seminars and lectures including a poetry reading by Les Murray (shared with RSSS), lectures by Professors Clive Emsley and Peter Gay (with the Department of History) and Professor Evelyn Fox Keller (with Women’s Studies and the John Curtin School of Medical Research). Visiting Fellows in 1996 included Professor David Okpako from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, Dr Michael Rosenthal from Warwick (who began his important book later published by Yale University Press in 1999 on the art of Thomas Gainsborough while an HRC Visiting Fellow in 1996), Dr Nick Haslam from the New School of Social Research, Dr Martin Fitzpatrick from the University of Wales, Professor Claude Rawson from Yale and Professor Marilyn Butler, Rector of Exeter College, Oxford, who declared in her report: ‘The conferences have been superb’.
There were also non-themed HRC conferences: Mad Cows and Modernity: the Crisis of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, at that time massively increasing the distaste of continental Europe for things British, convened by McCalman and artist and author Robin Wallace-Crabbe to consider an epidemiological crisis in contexts including historical contexts. This conference originated as the first intellectual collaboration of the new National Academics Forum which combined all four Learned Academies. The topic had originated with Professors Paul Bourke and Sir Gustav Nossal. It was appropriate, interesting and a testimony to the HRC’s formidable reputation that it was the Centre that was asked to run this science/social sciences/humanities conference at very short notice.
It was undoubtedly an outstanding success – so much so that there was great demand for a book. Speakers included medical experts like Dr Charles Guest from the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, ANU. The resulting monograph edited by McCalman with Benjamin Penny and Misty Cook (who had joined the HRC as Publications Officer) is still one of the Centre’s most popular sellers. Other non-themed conferences were Questions of Time and History, convened by Dipesh Chakrabarty and Penny; and The Discovery of European Sources in Australian Libraries, convened by the University Library in conjunction with the Gladys Krieble Foundation. Dr Alastair MacLachlan and Professor Ross Poole organised a summer school on Nationalism and National Identity, which brought together participants from History, Philosophy, Cultural Studies, Literary Studies, Women’s Studies, Aboriginal Studies, Legal Theory and Comparative Religion, among other forms of intellectual exercise. Margo Neale convened an Indigenous Curatorial Workshop with 30 participants in August 1996, followed by Transcultural Exchanges: the Asia-Australia Art Connection, a colloquium convened by McCalman and Professor Anthony Milner of Asian Studies. Speakers included Drs Nicholas Thomas, John Clark and Geremie Barmé from the ANU and one of the present authors, Dr Caroline Turner, then Deputy Director of the Queensland Art Gallery. This seminar considered the dramatic changes taking place as Australia sought in the 1990s to become more Asia-focussed and Asia-literate.
The HRC was preparing the way for the new Centre by exploring intellectual areas of great relevance to the proposed new Centre. These were, of course, also areas which had, particularly in recent years, been central to the HRC’s programmes. It was intended the two Centres would operate in such areas in intellectual partnership while taking on different roles. McCalman was also extending the horizons of the HRC’s philosophy and the geographical focus of activities. ‘In truth’, he told the Delmas Colloquium on The Future of European Studies in November 1996, ‘we are not Europeans in other than the broadest outline … As antipodeans it is not only our feet that point the wrong way, but our minds as well … I have tried’, he continued, ‘to recontextualize European studies within the HRC’s annual thematic program … Somewhat to my surprise I discovered that my perspective on the subject was close to that of the original founding charter of the HRC … As enunciated by Professor Dick Johnson in 1973, the Centre proposed to focus particularly
on aspects of European thought and culture … which have had a substantial impact on the thought and life of … Australia, New Zealand, Oceania and Asia. By stressing that this must entail a two-way process of cultural exchanges and adaptations, we arrive at a contemporary vision of how European studies can be revitalised within humanities research. Accordingly the HRC has over the last three years sought: i. To break down the separation between Asia-Pacific and European scholarly theories, methods and approaches … ii. To reconfigure traditional Western analyses of European cultural traditions so as to include Antipodean, Pacific and Asian perspectives and experiences … We aim not only to take European studies out to Australians but also to take Australia and the Pacific out to Europeans.
This was, of course, continuing the strategy that Donaldson and Clarke had initiated in 1981 and that Clarke’s work on the Middle East in particular had further extended, but in the context of the Keating push into Asia in the 1990s and Australia’s long overdue recognition that it was not only geographically but potentially in many other ways a part of the Asia-Pacific, McCalman had taken it further. And McCalman acknowledged that it was more than a focus on Asia and the Pacific and entailed ‘working on a pretty broad front’, as Donaldson had put it, doing what only the Centre could do, moving beyond the Eurocentric horizons of the original mandate of the Centre to encompass a global perspective, which naturally included an Australian one. It was a strategy which McCalman proposed that the new Centre for Cross-Cultural Research, now at last a reality as a result of a great deal of hard work, should be able to augment.
McCalman’s last message to the readers of the HRC Bulletin in 1996 hailed the New Year as
an historic moment for the HRC; from January 1997 we will be working in close co-operation – symbiosis might be a better way to describe it – with a new sister research centre in the humanities … The new Centre for Cross-Cultural Research is the first SRC [Special Research Centre] … to be awarded in the field of the humanities. The Director will be Professor Nicholas Thomas, of Archaeology and Anthropology, The Faculties. I will work part of the time in the Centre as Deputy Director … While the HRC will continue to foster and expand our broad mission to serve as a national catalyst for the humanities, the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research will concentrate on exploring the “formation of cultural identities and cross-cultural relations in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region”.
At the inauguration of the CCR in January 1997 the then ANU Vice-Chancellor Deane Terrell pointed to the enhanced opportunities for international collaboration provided by the new Centre and Hilary McPhee, Chair of the Australia Council, spoke of the potential for the new Centre in policy and publishing while launching the HRC’s latest three publications: The Articulate Surface: Dialogues on paintings between conservators, curators and art historians edited by Dr Sue-Anne Wallace, Jacqueline Macnaughtan and Jodi Parvey; National Biographies and National Identity edited by Iain McCalman, Jodi Parvey and Misty Cook and Africa Today edited by Peter F. Alexander, Ruth Hutchison and Deryck Schreuder. But the success of the bid to the ARC meant more than research outcomes and intellectual possibilities. The bottom line in crass terms was that McCalman’s efforts would result in over $10 million coming into ANU for the CCR alone from the ARC over a period of nine years and there would be other significant financial successes to follow in other grants and external funding for both Centres.
The HRC was further strengthened in the late nineties and early years of the new century by individual ARC research grants won by Clarke and McCalman and by a strategy of McCalman’s to attract Australian Research Council Fellows for periods up to five years as well as Visiting Scholars and adjunct academics who stayed longer than the by now typical period for Visiting Fellows of three months. Their contributions helped augment the HRC’s long-term research profile. Senior art scholar Dr Helen Topliss, who as a Visiting Fellow had also made many contributions to the programmes of the Centre, was an ARC Research Fellow from 1994–96. Dr John Docker was an ARC Research Fellow for five years to 1998 and then an Adjunct Senior Fellow and made a considerable impact on the HRC’s activities in English and philosophy and on its intellectual life, convening several major conferences as well as maintaining an extraordinary publications output. Leading historian Professor Bill Gammage joined the HRC in July 1998 as an ARC Senior Research Fellow to work on the critical history of Aboriginal land management and also made a most significant contribution. As he noted, the HRC provided a unique environment for a scholar such as himself working in an interdisciplinary way across fields as disparate as history, anthropology and botany.
His book The Sky Travellers: Journeys in New Guinea 1938–1939 (Melbourne University Press) published in 1998 won the 1999 Queensland Premier's Literary Award for Best Non-Fiction. Dr Brian Massumi was an ARC Queen Elizabeth II Research Fellow in the nineties working on ways of theorising vision, a project ‘aiming to inject alternate philosophical perspectives into current debates in cultural studies, the status of the body and cultures of vision’ and was an inspiration to many young scholars in philosophy, art, science and cultural studies. Dr Libby Robin completed an ARC Post Doctoral Fellowship in 1998 after publishing her important and much praised book Defending the Little Desert: The rise of ecological consciousness in Australia, (Melbourne University Press). Her second book also begun at the HRC, The Flight of the Emu, later won the 2003 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Science. Dr Paul Duro joined the HRC as a Visiting Scholar in 1998 working on French nineteenth century painting and was a stimulating presence at the Centre. Renowned historian of subaltern studies, Professor Dipesh Chakrabarty of the University of Chicago was appropriately an HRC Australian Studies Graduate Programme Eminent Teaching Fellow in 1997.
The HRC was delighted to have distinguished scholar in American history Dr Donna Merwick, who had recently retired from Melbourne University, and former Director of the National Gallery of Australia Mrs Betty Churcher, who became adjuncts shared between the HRC and CCR in 1997/1998. Dr Paul Pickering began a five-year ARC Queen Elizabeth II Research Fellowship in 2000 and was immediately an energetic and invaluable presence at the HRC.
Dr (later Professor) Tim Bonyhady became a shared CCR, CRES and HRC Fellow and published his prizewinning book The Colonial Earth at that time; and Dr Roger Benjamin later Power Professor of Fine Arts at the University of Sydney was an HRC/CCR shared Visiting Researcher in 2002 completing his major book on Orientalism. Dr Alastair Maclachlan continued a long-term association with the HRC contributing to seminars, summer schools and conferences when he moved to Canberra in 2002 and was attached to the HRC as a long-term Fellow, as were Professor Amareswar Galla, shared with RSPAS, and Dr David Pear, shared with the School of Music, who both joined in 2002. They greatly enhanced the HRC’s focus on heritage and sustainable development and creative arts respectively. The focus on heritage was enhanced when Professor Stephen Foster joined the HRC as a shared appointment with the National Museum of Australia and the Faculty of Arts at ANU in 2002/2003 to work on developing Museum Studies, and Emeritus Professor Ken Taylor became a Visiting Fellow in 2002. A number of specialist researchers also came in order to work with Iain McCalman on eighteenth century projects including Dr Clara Tuite (Associate Editor with Dr Jon Mee and Dr Gillian Russell of McCalman’s An Oxford Companion to the Romantic Age), Kate Fullagar (Assistant Editor), and Dr Christa Knellwolf, who came on a Swiss Government grant and co-convened the 2001 David Nichol Smith colloquium and edited subsequent important publications with McCalman. Eminent literary scholar Professor Bruce Bennett became an Adjunct Professor of the HRC in 2003.
Many of these appointments were still to come in 1997/98. In the meantime the CCR appointments were beginning to be made and to offer opportunities for enriching exchanges.
Symbiosis between the two Centres was the keyword. But the prospects for continuing symbiosis were rendered more difficult from the outset by the refusal of the ARC to endorse the concept of ‘a centre within a centre’, fundamental to McCalman’s vision. A new position of Executive and Liaison Officer was created in January 1997 with a view to facilitating consolidation of the links between the two Centres. It was filled by Julie Gorrell, who had been at the Research Office and was highly experienced with ARC grants and had been extensively involved in assisting McCalman throughout the process with the successful bid to the ARC for the CCR. An early initiative of the two Centres was the introduction in 1997 of a joint refereed journal Humanities Research, replacing the HRC Bulletin and edited until 1999 by Dr Benjamin Penny assisted by Misty Cook. The first issue of the journal contained essays by Nicholas Thomas, Greg Dening, Dipesh Chakrabarty and Sasha Grishin. It was remarkable to say the least that the HRC should have expanded its own conference programme during this time of setting up the new Centre. The HRC theme for 1997 was ‘Identities’, peculiarly appropriate at a time when the Centre was undergoing a significant transformation of its own identity. Activities included a seminar in honour of the work in urban research of Patrick Troy convened by Dr Tim Bonyhady and Dr Mark Peel. Dr Margot Lyon of the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology and Dr Jack Barbalet of the Department of Sociology at ANU convened the conference Emotion in Social Life and Social Theory, which attracted 100 participants. Another 200 attended a conference on Indigenous Rights, Political Theory and the Reshaping of Institutions convened by Dr Will Sanders of ANU and Dr Paul Patton of the University of Sydney and supported by RSSS and the Australian Foundation for Culture and the Humanities, which brought together Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal activists and political theorists. A seminar on Identities in the Eastern Mediterranean in Antiquity to honour the work of Fergus Millar, Camden Professor of Ancient History at Oxford, drew 57 people. The HRC’s particular strength had always been a broad spread and these events demonstrated continuity with classical traditions and history combined with a focus on critical contemporary issues.
An exhibition at the Drill Hall Gallery, New Australian Images through British Eyes, featuring the work of British-born artists David Blackburn, Mary Husted and John Wolseley, curated by Dr Sasha Grishin and supported by the British Council, IDP Education Australia, ANU, the Hart Gallery London and Goanna Print, was visited by around 1800 people over a month and enhanced already excellent relations with the Director of the Drill Hall Gallery, Mrs Nancy Sever. The main non-thematic conference, presented by ANU and AIATSIS on the ever-relevant topic Is ‘Racism’ Un-Australian? attracted 130 participants and offered 12 papers which were published by Monash University as The Resurgence of Racism: Howard, Hanson and the Race Debate. Dipesh Chakrabarty of the University of Chicago and, at the time, an HRC Australian Studies Graduate Programme Eminent Teaching Fellow convened a workshop on The New Australian Racism, co-sponsored by the HRC and the Research Centre in Intercommunal Studies of the University of Western Sydney, attended by 60 people and addressed by Professor Ien Ang of that University and by Dr Ghassan Hage of Sydney University, with Professor Ann Curthoys and Dr Meaghan Morris as discussants. In all, three conferences, a workshop, a seminar and an exhibition.
One would not have thought that the staff of the HRC could have had much else to keep them busy. Meantime other changes were occurring. Two long-serving members of the HRC left to pursue other career directions. Jodi Parvey, as McCalman noted, had ‘worked at the Centre for fourteen years as office administrator and, most recently, publications officer as well … and Stephanie Stockdill, who was with us for four crucial years’. Ann Palmer joined Lia Szokalski in the front office. Later Judy Buchanan replaced Lia as Administrative Assistant. Leena Messina took on Visiting Fellows as well as Conferences. There was considerable planning of possible future activities to include the CCR.
Initiatives for strategic planning at the HRC and CCR in 1997 were complicated by the fact that McCalman himself was effectively away from the HRC for several months in the role of Acting Director of the CCR in the temporary absence of Nicholas Thomas, and then away entirely on Special Leave at the University of London and All Souls, Oxford, until February 1998, to complete the editing of his massive 500 000 word multi-contributor, illustrated reference work, An Oxford Companion to the Romantic Age: British Culture 1776–1832, for which he was General Editor working, as noted, with Dr Jon Mee, Dr Gillian Russell, and Dr Clara Tuite as Associate Editors, Kate Fullagar and Patsy Hardy as Assistant Editors and an eminent academic advisory board. It was a volume which, when completed in 1999, would add much to the HRC’s formidable reputation in the field of European studies and it was the first time that Oxford UK had commissioned a Companion on a British subject outside the British Isles – another feather in the HRC’s cap. While in the UK and USA McCalman delivered The Cambridge University Press lecture at the British Association for Romantic Studies conference and The Webb lecture at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, as well as papers at Oxford, at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, Edinburgh and at St Andrews University.
Space for the two Centres was now becoming a major issue. The initial arrangement had been for the CCR to be located on the lower floor of the A.D. Hope Building, which had been the home of the HRC for over 20 years. It had been an ideal location in almost all respects save the lack of air conditioning: it was admirably accessible, at the terminus of Ellery Crescent, which made it in effect the public entrance to ANU; there was still at least adequate parking adjacent; it was in the genuine heart of the University, a short stroll to the University Library in the J.B. Chifley Building and R.G. Menzies Building, to all the Faculty Offices, to the Union, the banks and the restaurants, and a reasonably short walk to the School of Arts, the School of Music and not too far a walk to Civic; and it had even acquired its own supernatural resident, according to a female HRC Visiting Fellow, who complained of having been disturbed by a poltergeist, which was probably only the genial shade of Professor Hope himself. What was perhaps still more compelling than all these was the close proximity to The Faculties, which had engendered the Centre and had from the outset regarded it as their very own Research School. ‘The HRC’, Ann Curthoys considered,
would never have relocated if the CCR didn’t exist – it was fine where it was in the A D Hope building, especially once the new cubicles were built and the Arts Faculty started downsizing, reducing pressure in that building generally. But the CCR was enormous, just endless people not only on the ARC grant but others on various other grants … It just could not fit into the A D Hope building.
The CCR was indeed enormous by HRC standards: there were only 3.5 academics on establishment, as Nicholas Thomas reported in the 1998 annual report, but the academic staff, including short-term appointments, had already grown to 20 and with the inclusion of administrative, research staff and students (the latter numbering 15) the total was 47 with, as well, 14 Visiting Fellows and 53 visiting scholars (graduates participating in one month courses). ARC funding in that year was over $1 million and the total budget of the Centre was close to $2 million while the HRC remained fairly static at much less than $1 million. The CCR had had an impressive start in areas of publishing and grants for research projects, including several inaugurated originally with McCalman, such as in publications McCalman’s Oxford Companion and the Travel series with Cassell, and in research, a major multimedia project with the National Library on Cook’s voyages directed by Dr Paul Turnbull.
The space problem had become urgent by the time McCalman returned. A logical solution might have seemed for the Centres to relocate to an existing building and possible space at the Coombs Building was becoming available, just 300 metres or so away, at the other end of Ellery Crescent. But McCalman had a more ambitious solution in mind. The first year of cooperation between the sister institutions, he recognised in 1998, had ‘combined some exhilarating new developments with some difficult new challenges. For both Centres the paramount challenge was to cope with existing and future pressures on space’. His aspiration had
always been to achieve administrative and intellectual synergies, efficiencies and collaborations between the two Centres, while retaining our distinct missions and identities … The possibility that a new or refurbished building on the Acton Peninsula might be made available was exciting both because it promised to resolve our space difficulties and to open up potential new collaborations with the National Museum of Australia and the Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research, both of which were relocating to new buildings in that precinct. The possibility of this move aroused some anxieties among friends and co-tenants in the A. D. Hope building, who were anxious to retain long-time intellectual and collegial relations, but these concerns were, we hope, allayed by our strong and genuine reassurances that our relations would be retained and even enhanced in various ways.
The concerns of some members of The Faculties would not be so easily allayed. The new facilities would, however, allow the HRC to have more long-term Research Fellows including Faculty staff on sabbatical leave. There were indeed suggestions that pressure for relocation was driven less by academic considerations related to ANU than by considerations involving the two Centres’ roles as national centres.
However, others could and did see the outreach possibilities of the new proposal. It was impelled further in any event by the decision of the Commonwealth Government to construct a new National Museum of Australia and an Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies on a sublime position at the end of the Acton Peninsula. The most conspicuous University presence on the base of the Peninsula was Old Canberra House, which might well be described as a perfect setting for an Agatha Christie or John Dickson Carr murder mystery, and had functioned first as the residence of the inaugural Administrator of the ACT, then as the residence of the British High Commissioner, then as an annex to the Commonwealth Club and latterly as a staff club and watering hole for ANU staff and students.
What McCalman and Thomas were now proposing was that a purpose-built Humanities Research Building be constructed on the Peninsula beyond Old Canberra House to contain both the HRC and the CCR. ‘There is absolutely no doubt’, McCalman wrote to the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Administration) Chris Burgess,
that the HRC and CCR need to be situated contiguously. Not only are there all the advantages of intellectual synergy … but ARC advisors have also stressed that the greatest cause of difficulties with Special Research Centres in the past has been physical separation from their host or affiliate institutions. There is no disputing that both the HRC and CCR need a considerably expanded space provision to accommodate their current and future growth. The ANU has in these two centres a humanities research hub that is unrivalled in Australia and envied abroad.
Moreover, a ‘crucial intellectual nexus’ was ‘developing between our centres and the National Museum of Australia, a nexus which seems to me to clinch the logic of situating us in a purpose-built premises on the Acton Peninsula’. ‘In practice’, McCalman considered, ‘resituation on the Acton Peninsula would not greatly diminish our present contacts and relations with schools and departments located around the A.D. Hope precinct’. There was the further consideration which greatly strengthened the case that
Dr John Gage of the Economics History department, Faculty of Arts, has presented a proposal for a “European Centre,” which he hopes will be funded in part by the European Union as a gift to Australia in commemoration of Federation. He envisages that such a centre would be located in the Acton Peninsula and would house the HRC, the CCR and other humanities research units.
It was of course entirely logical that the HRC would be heavily involved in the development of such a Centre given its role over 25 years as a major centre of European studies in Australia, and McCalman served on the Advisory Board to set up the Centre. A later administrative review would describe the HRC in management terms as an ‘incubator’ to the two Centres (the CCR and the National Europe Centre), recognising McCalman’s and the HRC’s seminal role in the development of both, especially as, when the National Europe Centre did come into being, it was attached administratively to the HRC with McCalman as Chair of the Europe Centre’s Board.
McCalman’s views were endorsed by the highly influential Building and Grounds Committee of the University Council. Chair Warwick Williams told Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Robin Stanton that the Committee had
felt for several years that the University should be developing, or at least have a significant presence, on Acton Peninsula … The Committee also noted that, given the Government’s decision to locate the National Museum of Australia and other bodies on the old Canberra Hospital site, there could be several exciting opportunities for the University to provide cognate facilities to those groups in this area … Arising out of the associated publicity and discussions, the HRC and CCR expressed interest in relocating to the Peninsula … In recent months there have been discussions about a possible “Europe Centre”…
All this positive thinking was however challenged by a storm of anguished protest from staff of The Faculties at being deprived of the presence of what they had reasonably viewed for 26 years as an integral part of their own establishment. The storm culminated in a petition to Burgess signed by no fewer than 52 members of The Faculties, including members of Nicholas Thomas’s own old Department of Anthropology and Archaeology. They protested that relocating the HRC and CCR away from the Arts Faculty ‘at a remote location on Acton Peninsula represents a significant diminution of the productive intellectual and collegial activity that we have enjoyed with those Centres’ and ‘make it impossible for us to have close and fruitful association with their staff and visiting fellows’. It would ‘diminish the intellectual environment of the Faculty for both staff and graduate students in a wide range of disciplines and remove one of the distinctive features of the Faculty that is an important enhancement of its image and standing across the country’. Furthermore, both the HRC and the CCR ‘have grown out of the Arts Faculty itself’. More serious still, the proposal would ‘isolate scholars brought in by the University at great expense from around the world by placing them in the least accessible location for easy formal and informal interaction with the University community’. Individual complainants objected that access to libraries would be much reduced on the Acton Peninsula, although ‘libraries were utterly essential to humanities research’; that the meeting facilities of the HRC were widely used not just by the two Centres but by many other Departments in ‘one of the most efficient uses of such space on campus’; and that the two Centres were after all humanities research centres which should be located adjacent to the existing humanities teaching and research centres in the University to the mutual benefit of all concerned.
These arguments had some force (the new site was approximately one kilometre from the University Library in the Chifley Building), but there was equally no answer to the counter-objections that the two Centres could not be contained within the A.D. Hope Building any longer; that McCalman and Thomas were both insistent that the Centres could not be separated physically; and that there was nowhere else to put them if they were not to be separated, except on the Acton Peninsula. Pro Vice-Chancellor Robin Stanton attempted to assure the critics that
far from being involved in any process that would banish the HRC and CCCR [sic] to a remote part of campus, my current situation is one of listening to the centres … [with] … their acute space problems and noting the considerable planning work being carried out by the Facilities and Services Division to provide options for meeting space requirements of various sections of the University.
Momentum for relocation was unstoppable in any event by now, accelerated by the fascinating prospects that the proposed Europe Centre offered. A meeting in Brussels between the Master of University House and a representative of the European Commission agreed that the Centre would be ‘a post-graduate research institute with good capacity to attract senior academics and policy people … the ANU (and its supporters) were prepared to finance the construction of a quality building on Acton Peninsula to a value of around A$6-7 million’. Pro Vice-Chancellor (Administration) Burgess advised McCalman that
the University has a tremendous site on its campus, a strong academic and practical interest in matters European and given our strong Asian connections we make for a very stable stepping stone into a currently turbulent but nevertheless exciting and important region … If all this were to come about, we would have a very handsome facility with a set of prestigious and very appropriate neighbours in the building as well as a vibrant and worthwhile ongoing activity to mark the coming of the early European settlers and the waves of immigration particularly post 1945. This is an exciting vision to us here in Canberra.
Despite all the great achievements of the past three years McCalman was still finding himself faced with the eternal problem of funding, involved essentially with the other eternal issue of the position of the HRC within the structure of ANU itself. For 25 years, McCalman explained to the then Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor David H. Green,
the HRC has truly been a ‘University Centre’, with its funding not subject to claims by either The Faculties or the IAS. Although conceived originally by researchers in The Faculties and, therefore, having strong academic links to The Faculties, the raison d’être of the HRC was to act as a bridge between the two parts of the ANU. Its funding was not channelled through the faculty with which it had strong academic links, i.e. Faculty of Arts, but was separate, although HRC funding was subjected to the same external influences brought on by Commonwealth funding policies, such as the ‘clawback’. Since inception, the University has grappled with the HRC’s status and what it meant to be a research-only centre that is not located in The Faculties or the IAS. Because it had a very small core staff, it could only survive administratively by assistance from a larger group, i.e. The Faculties (Faculties Resources Office) … or a School within the Institute, notably RSSS. Since inception, the HRC has perforce defied the binary nature of the ANU’s structure. For many reasons, but mainly administrative ones, the HRC allied itself successively with one or other of those two parts, although the terminology used to describe the alliance created further ambiguities in its status. “Affiliation” was the term devised to describe its place within the structure and its relationship variously to The Faculties or the IAS (there was simply no other language that could describe its place). This term was then appropriated in ways that led to further ambiguities and confusion, both internally and externally to the institution.
In 1998 McCalman was successful in ensuring that the HRC did acquire a new formal status as a University Centre made accountable to the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and was also, as McCalman put it in the 1998 Annual report,
given a voice in a new combined grouping of Deans, heads of Research Schools and University Centre Directors that meets regularly under the chairmanship of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor. This has given us greater autonomy and stature within the University administration, as well as a long sought forum for registering our needs and aspirations.
He went on to say that:
We have also become members of an informal but important body of University Centre Directors which meets periodically to air common concerns. These changes, alongside our growing connections and collaborations with external bodies, particularly the national cultural institutions, led us in turn to initiate a restructuring of our own internal governance. We have recommended to the Vice-Chancellor that the HRC’s governance be restructured to provide a Director’s Advisory Group and an Advisory Committee.
The year 1998 had been another demanding yet exciting intellectual year for the HRC. The chosen theme was ‘Home and Away: Journeys, Migrations, Diaspora’, the catchy main title inspired by a long-running TV soap opera. Anthony Low convened a symposium in honour of Sir Keith Hancock, in conjunction with RSSS and the Australian Academy of the Humanities, on the 100th anniversary of Hancock’s birth. Dr Barry Higman of RSSS and HRC Visiting Fellow from the University of York Professor James Walvin convened a second conference on Black Diasporas in the Western Hemisphere. Visiting Fellow from the University of Sydney Dr Deirdre Coleman convened a third on Re-Orienting Romanticism with Dr Peter Otto and Dr Clara Tuite from the University of Melbourne. Professor Wilfrid Prest of the University of Adelaide and Dr Graham Tulloch of Flinders University convened a fourth, on The Scatterlings of Empire, held at the beautiful bijou Art Gallery of South Australia in conjunction with the University of Adelaide. But the blockbuster of the year was inevitably the Tenth Irish-Australian Conference held in conjunction with La Trobe University and convened by Dr Philip Bull of that University, to mark the bicentenary of the Year of the French in 1798. That catastrophe of all catastrophes most dear to Irish hearts was memorialised with poetry readings, music recitals, art exhibitions and film screenings, together attracting some 400 people many of whom endured without complaint as true patriots the tepid food and cold showers consequent on the collapse of basic infrastructure in Victoria. The HRC collaborated with the Art Gallery of NSW in supporting a conference in association with Roger Benjamin’s important exhibition on Orientalism: ‘The Oriental Mirage: Visions of the East from Delacroix to Klee’ and followed this in 1999 by association with Queensland Art Gallery on the Third Asia-Pacific Triennial Conference which attracted nearly 700 delegates from over 30 countries to Brisbane. This conference was convened by Dr Caroline Turner as Deputy Director of the Queensland Art Gallery with Iain McCalman and Dr Russell Trood of Griffith University, supported by Queensland Art Gallery staff.
The following year delivered a rather less frenetic programme, albeit in the nature of a temporary slackening of pace. However, the intellectual depth could not be faulted. The HRC theme in 1999 was the formidably serious one of ‘Religion, Society and Values’. Professor Robert Goodin and Dr David Parker of ANU convened a Named Seminar in honour of Martha Nussbaum who as public philosopher had interests extending from classical philosophy to reflections on liberal education and human cloning – interests as laudably wide as those of the HRC. Professor Philip Pettit of ANU convened another Named Seminar and workshop in honour of Richard Rorty; Benjamin Penny convened a conference, The History of Daoism, in honour of the great scholar Emeritus Professor Liu Ts’un-yan, with support from the Italian Embassy, the French Embassy through the Alliance Française and the Goethe Institut; Professor Robert Holton of Flinders University and Dr Sandra Holton of Adelaide convened a second conference on Max Weber, Religion and Social Action, which attracted a wide range of historians, sociologists, anthropologists, social psychologists and students of religion. The inaugural Freilich Foundation lecture series in 1999 was delivered by Professor Henry Reynolds, and Iain McCalman and Professor John Frow of the University of Queensland convened an un-themed spectacular on The Humanities, Arts and Public Culture in two Hemispheres at the Queensland Art Gallery, which brought together directors of humanities centres and institutes in the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe, members of the academic and arts communities and representatives of various relevant funding agencies. This was the inauguration of another innovative strategic plan of McCalman’s to bring together humanities centres in Australia with counterparts overseas, the latter already in a formal association known as the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI), of which McCalman was an International Board member. The result of this conference was the founding of an Australian chapter with McCalman as President.
Then Graeme Clarke retired. His loss had serious implications for the Centre. Clarke was a renowned scholar and excellent administrator. His administrative expertise had been lauded not only by Ian Donaldson, but also by his administrative staff, who are often the people best placed to evaluate the managerial style of a boss. His meticulous (‘immaculate’ was the word of one administrative staff member) approach to every aspect of the Centre’s endeavours while Director and attention to the human relationships of the Centre had achieved a spirit where administrative staff could feel, as one of them stated, that there were opportunities for growth and change and that the HRC was a family which encompassed not only academics and visiting scholars but also those who worked administratively in the Centre. As Director, he had expanded the ‘open door’ of the Centre to include colleagues in every discipline and had also expanded the HRC Liaison Committees in other universities to make the HRC even more of a national centre for the humanities. He had broadened the geographical reach of the Centre to many more non-European endeavours and its reach in chronological time through wide-ranging programmes from classical studies to contemporary issues such as sexuality. He had extended its intellectual reach to many younger scholars and those outside the University and Academy while, at the same time, maintaining the highest intellectual and academic standards for the HRC. He had also achieved a prodigious record of scholarship classical in every sense of the word: his publications while serving with the HRC included some 32 articles and seven books, among which might be noted The Letters of St. Cyprian of Carthage (in four volumes), Rediscovering Hellenism, The Hellenic Inheritance and the English Imagination, Reading the Past in Late Antiquity and the first of four projected volumes of Jebel Khalid on the Euphrates: Report on Excavations.He had served in addition to all this as Member of the Council of The Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens; the National Committee to establish an Australian Centre in Italy; the Council of the Australian Academy of the Humanities; the Selection Committee, Harold White Library Fellowships, National Library of Australia; Visiting Fellow, the School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton and so on, and so on. But he was now 65, the customary age for retirement; he had served ANU as Professor of Classical Studies (and is credited as a major force in helping to keep Classics alive at ANU) and the HRC as Deputy Director, Director, Associate Director and Acting Director for 18 years.
His departure meant that the animate corporate memory of the HRC now reposed in Iain McCalman, Ralph Elliott and the indefatigable Leena Messina, now being praised more than ever by conference organisers and participants for her ‘massive, unfailingly resourceful, and patient assistance’. Then Nicholas Thomas resigned and left for the United Kingdom. His departure was at the very least a grievous loss to the CCR, both because of his enormous contribution as an anthropologist with a remarkable sympathy for and comprehension of the cultures of the South Pacific, and also because of the brilliant synergy achieved between himself and McCalman. This wholly unforeseen development naturally caused a major rethinking of the relationship between the two Centres. In the first place, McCalman was now faced with the physically impossible task of acting as director of two centres, without a full-time deputy in either. He would thus be trying to undertake the responsibilities of what would reasonably be four senior academics and ideally six. Moreover, Thomas’s departure also meant that the CCR would perforce be acquiring a new Director, who would have to be expected to have his or her quite independent ideas about the direction that CCR would follow.
Relief came when Dr Caroline Turner moved from the Deputy Directorship of the Queensland Art Gallery to assume responsibility as Deputy Director of the HRC in January 2000, bringing the expertise of a cultural historian and long-term art professional, whose many exhibitions had enabled her to establish excellent relations with international artists, curators and cultural institutions, thus assisting with Iain McCalman’s long-term plans to extend the HRC’s cultural collaborations. In the 1999 Annual Report McCalman wrote announcing the appointment:
the HRC was extremely fortunate in recruiting Dr Caroline Turner as our new Deputy Director. Caroline was formerly Deputy Director of the Queensland Art Gallery (QAG) and a highly respected art history scholar specializing in the fields of modern and contemporary Asian, European, and American art. While at QAG, Caroline was Project Director for the Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, one of the most significant Australian cultural achievements of the late twentieth century. She takes up her appointment at an extremely fortuitous moment for the HRC as we consolidate our expansion of collaborative interests into new relationships with national and international cultural institutions. Caroline’s interests and expertise will help us greatly in our effort to broaden our research interests into Asia.
The Asia-Pacific Triennial had included a major community outreach focus and in three exhibitions in 1993, 1996 and 1999 had attracted audiences of well over 300 000. Turner had also served on the Advisory Board of the CCR and was strongly committed to its philosophy and purpose. At the same time, Professor Howard Morphy, a renowned scholar of Indigenous Australian culture, moved from the Department of Anthropology, The Faculties, to become Director of the CCR.
These appointments relieved the pressure on McCalman, to the extent that he was now able to revert to being director of just one centre, with a deputy at the HRC. As well, Morphy’s distinguished scholarship in the field of Indigenous Australian culture, including Directorship of the Pitt Rivers Museum at Oxford University and numerous international publications, held the promise of fruitful collaborations as he had been a former HRC Visiting Fellow, and would continue to facilitate the long-held interests of the HRC in sponsoring research which included Indigenous perspectives.
His appointment ensured that the CCR would necessarily continue a strong focus on Indigenous studies as was most appropriate with the appointment of such an eminent scholar. Indeed, one of the flagship endeavours initiated by Iain McCalman for the proposed CCR and which had convinced the ARC of the viability of the CCR was the monumental Oxford Companion to Aboriginal Art and Culture then being brought to completion by General Editors Dr Sylvia Kleinert and Margo Neale with a major grant from the Getty Foundation. Professor Morphy’s interests would also encompass art and aesthetics, material culture, visual anthropology and ethnographic film, museums, and human adaptation and the evolution of culture, the history of anthropology and anthropological history.
Thus 1999/2000 brought endings but also marked new beginnings for the HRC. Meanwhile the University Council concluded that it would refurbish the 86-year-old Old Canberra House as a domicile for the Directors and administration of the two Centres, after it ceased to function as the ANU Staff Club in March 1999. As well a purpose built building adjacent to and behind Old Canberra House would be constructed for visiting scholars of both Centres. The choice of Old Canberra House had much in its favour: the building was charming, its history was imposing, the grounds were extensive enough to allow for the building of another structure to provide additional office space and the site was magnificent. Nor did it appear to be haunted, although it certainly looked as if it ought to be: the only revenants which disturbed the peace of its new occupants, initially at least, were living members of ANU, who for months afterwards would wander thirstily up to what had been their traditional watering hole, only to find that it had been transformed into the ultimate Australian tragedy of a Pub with No Beer.