Meredith Blake holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honours in history from the University of Melbourne with majors in anthropology and archaeology.
Meredith’s career began at the industry’s professional association, Museums Australia (Victoria) where she worked while undertaking the Master of Cultural Heritage degree at Deakin University. She was later employed as the Assistant Curator at the City of Port Phillip before becoming an Australian Youth Ambassador for Development in the Pacific. As Secretary General for the Pacific Islands Museums Association, she was based firstly in Suva at the Fiji Museum and then in Port Vila at the Vanuatu Cultural Centre. In this position she developed advocacy skills, greater cross-cultural awareness and how to manage an organisation in a resource-poor environment by working collaboratively to find innovative solutions. She had the opportunity to travel extensively in the Pacific region and Asia in her mission to promote the achievements and challenges of Pacific museums.
On her return to Australia, Meredith honed her skills in the research and interpretation of urban, cultural and industrial history with Melbourne’s Living Museum of the West and the Australian Museum of Chinese Australian History.
Meredith’s interest in Pacific cultural heritage continued while she was a member of the Smart Services Cooperative Research Centre at RMIT University. Her research team focussed on museums trialling new ways to maximise access to cultural collections. In partnership with the Australian Museum in Sydney, her team researched the digitisation of a collection of 60,000 Pacific objects. Their findings showed that members of the Australian Pacific diaspora and curators of Pacific collections wanted culturally respectful and appropriate approaches to digitisation, which took into account indigenous intellectual property and traditional knowledge considerations. The team also researched the use of the collections as an intervention with Pacific young offenders with the aim of grounding them in their cultures and ultimately, hopefully moving them away from crime.
For two summers, Meredith helped teach at the Deakin University Introduction to Museum Studies course for the Army Heritage Network.
Back at Museums Australia (Victoria) Meredith was able to combine her interest in digitising collections with her skills in the delivery of adult education as Manager of the Victorian Collections Project. During this time she travelled Victoria extensively, conducting workshops for community museums on digitisation and collection management.
Meredith’s work and research in cultural heritage over the past 14 years has brought her into contact with inspiring people all over the Asia-Pacific region and Australia – all working to preserve the cultural heritage of their communities and environment. Meredith is excited about working with organisations and volunteers to develop their skills and processes of collection management and by improving the accessibility of collections, sharing the treasures they keep with the world.
Above right: Meredith discovers a stone item from the town of Meredith at the Winchelsea and District Historical Society, 2014.
Bottom: Meredith inspects an antique doll for evidence of fading due to ultraviolet light exposure at the Victorian Collections Workshop, 2013.