Introducing Nikki

Nikki is a curator at the Migration Museum.

I don’t think I ever really decided that I wanted to be a curator, but a few years ago I did decide that I wanted to work in the GLAM sector [Galleries Libraries Archives and Museums] and so completed a Graduate Diploma in Genealogical Studies through Strathclyde University, and a Graduate Certificate in Heritage and Museum Studies through Deakin University.

Image: Woman with pink hair and glasses leaning on sign

Pathway to History SA

In 2014 Nikki left Macquarie University after working in academia for about 20 years.

I moved back to Adelaide and started volunteering at the Migration Museum. After a while I began working as a casual Museum Officer, and then was lucky enough to get a curatorial position.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Day to Day

Nikki is involved in a wide range of activities including researching, developing and installing exhibitions, managing collections, answering public inquiries, organising and participating in public programs and special events, developing plans, policies, and procedures, assessing conservation needs, and working with volunteers.

Image: Group of people dressed up with coloured hair and make-up

Nikki and fellow History SA staff at the opening of Showgirl: The Costumes of an Iconic Adelaide Diva at this year’s History Festival.

Highlights

When asked what she enjoys most about her job Nikki’s response was:

I love pretty much every aspect of my job. I guess if I had to pick my favourite thing it would be research. I could happily spend my entire life buried in archives, books, or any other source of information I can get my hands on. Doing research for an exhibition can be a hugely rewarding experience: the only downside is having to stop!

Her proudest moment so far came when she stood in the newly-completed exhibition, In This Place: A History of the Migration Museum Site, and finally saw the vision that Nikki and her colleagues had worked on for eight months, come to life.

I am so proud of what we managed to achieve, in particular the fact that the exhibition contains so much information without appearing cluttered. I love the memorial to the children born at the Destitute Asylum Lying-in Home between 1880-1909 and the fact that it encourages visitors to share stories with us about ancestors who either gave birth or were born here.

Image: museum gallery with projected images, hanging tags and markings on floor

The new exhibition In This Place officially opened at the Migration Museum in June 2016.

Getting to know Nikki

Asked about her life outside work Nikki told us:

I once played drums in an all-girl band.

Nikki loves travelling, and in particular, visiting social history museums and archives.

A couple of years ago I spent a wonderful few weeks in a UK archive researching the lives of women who spent time in Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum in the 1860s and 1870s. I’m hoping to write a book based on my research when I can find a spare moment!

2 Comments

  • Therese Quinn says:

    Dear Nikki: Hi. I’m writing to ask if you’d be willing to serve as an external reviewer for a paper for SQS, the Finnish Queer Studies Journal (due June 15). Here’s the abstract: Abstract Queer as a Queer Guided Tour

    In this article I analyze three different queer guided tours offered by the Finnish National Art Gallery in its museums in 2019. I analyse the notes I took during the tours to reconstruct the ways in which queer is defined and put in practice by the respective tour guides. On the one hand I pay attention to how guides’ take on queer informed the content of the tour, yet on the other hand I am also curious to see whether and how queer was translated into the guiding practices themselves. I suggest that the guides used for their tour narratives approaches, which could be called with Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick both paranoid and reparative readings. Yet I suggest that also a third approach, a tentative reading, was used to queer the guided tour. With my analysis, I hope to illuminate the different ways in which queer, as both a theoretical and political concept, can be applied in mainstream museum contexts, and to highlight their ramifications.

    Thank you for considering this request! The special theme of the issue, which I am co-editing with Tuula Juvonen, is queer history month and includes a review of your recent book with Middleton!
    Sincerely, Therese Quinn (University of Illinois at Chicago)

  • nikki says:

    Hi Tulva
    I’m am so sorry that I have not replied to your message. I don’t check this portal and the person who does, missed it. Ive only just seen it and obviously its now way too late to accept your request to review a paper – which I would have loved to have done. I’m really excited to hear that Craig and I’s book is being reviewed too. I’d love to chat more and to hear about the work that you are doing and also about the special issue. My email address is [email protected]
    cheers
    Nikki

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