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Year 12 History Extension students get the whole picture

Year 12 History Extension students were extremely honoured to Zoomeet art historian Alice Procter recently.

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As part of History Extension, students need to ask, 'What is History' and 'Who is a Historian'? Ms Procter’s book 'The Whole Picture' (2020) has been praised for enabling readers to go beyond the architecture of cultural institutions and see the colonial and imperialist histories they present.

Ms Procter explained how the display of artifacts has an impact on the historical narrative and thus how History is presented (and consumed). She spoke about restitution and the debates around repatriation, using examples such as Easter Island statues and the concept of a 'missing soul'.

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She is also vocal about violence and its role in history, speaking with passion about Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz’s 'The Invisible Army Should Not Exist', a reconstruction of items destroyed in the conflict in Iraq.

What did Wenona students take away from their time with Alice Procter?

Alex: Alice Proctor has been a name frequented in our history syllabus. Her role as an anthropologist and historian has given us insight into the importance of acknowledging the construction of historical narratives, as well as challenging the supposed objective truths in history. Being able to meet her was an incredible opportunity, as I have admired her work for over three years; she was extremely helpful talking us through her work and even giving us advice on our History Extension projects.

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Lauren: Listening to Alice Procter was an incredibly rewarding experience, not only for our major works, but for our understanding of historical interpretation in a 21st century society. She discussed the role museums play in the construction of history; how they display artifacts, their role in offering an historical narrative and how the labelling of artifacts should be up for negotiation to promote historical accuracy. This was a highly impactful experience for us all.