Musical Landscapes of Lihir

Exploring Performance and Place in a Museum Exhibition


  • Kirsty Gillespie University of Queensland



ethnomusicology, Papua New Guinea, New Ireland, exhibitions


The exhibition, ‘Musical Landscapes of Lihir’, curated in collaboration with the Lihir Cultural Heritage Association, presented artefacts of performance culture from the Lihir Islands in New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea. An example of ecomusicological research, the exhibition ran from March 1 through to August 4, 2013 at The University of Queensland Anthropology Museum, Brisbane, Australia. The exhibition brought together contemporary Lihir items related to performance (many of which were made especially for the exhibition), an international loan of Lihir artefacts from The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, USA, and multimedia items including film and sound recordings that set the audio and visual scene. The aims of the exhibition were multiple: to showcase Lihir culture to the outside world, to illustrate the range of performance practices in Lihir, and to interrogate the relationship of these practices to the Lihir landscape. This chapter gives the curatorial perspective on how this nexus between performance and the Lihir environment was addressed, and examines some of the curatorial decisions, relationships built, and challenges surrounding the display of Lihir performance culture in the museum context.

Author Biography

Kirsty Gillespie, University of Queensland

Kirsty Gillespie is an Honorary Fellow at the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining, Sustainable Minerals Institute, University of Queensland. She also teaches World Music at Queensland University of Technology.


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How to Cite

Gillespie, K. (2016). Musical Landscapes of Lihir: Exploring Performance and Place in a Museum Exhibition. Perfect Beat, 17(1), 9–24.




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