Contributing to the University's next big milestone

13 September 2019

The University is gearing up to mark the 75th anniversary of our founding, which takes place on 1 August 2021.

A new project called ANU75 is being launched to commemorate this anniversary, collecting stories and information from across campus that relates to the University's more recent history from the 1990s to the present day.

Project Coordinator Dr Daniel Oakman, from the School of History at the ANU Research School of Social Sciences, says the focus will be around an online text, a digital platform that explores the full gamut of life at ANU through people, places and ideas.

"I'd like to make the project as collaborative and inclusive as possible. One way to do this is to invite contributions via an online portal," Dr Oakman says.

"This way we can reach people with ANU connections from here and around the world via the alumni network."

"We're still working on the details, but it will be a simple platform where people can upload images, include their reminiscences - good and bad - or make suggestions about what they might like us to focus on in the project."

Dr Oakman says he'll begin the project by sending an email to academic directors asking them to consider a few questions about their centre, school or department.

"In terms of exploring the intellectual history of ANU, the focus will be on the last 20 to 30 years," he says.

"Of course, it will necessarily dip further back into the past, but we are trying to put some boundaries on what is already a big project."

The questions will be about what the directors see as the key moments or turning points in the research and teaching that has gone on here since the 1990s, he says.

"There might be individuals or teams that are in some way representative of the direction of that school or centre. But it might also be about ongoing or experimental work that pushes the boundaries of the discipline or practice. Indeed, it might even be projects that didn't quite work out as expected."

Similarly, there are plenty of unsung heroes in the University's history, people that have been vital to individual success or the workings of the institution more broadly and Dr Oakman says he's keen to know about those stories as well.

"I'd also like this project to explore some lesser known spaces and places around campus. So, the portal might be good way for people to nominate some of these."

Having worked in museums such as the National Museum of Australia, Dr Oakman says he's also interested in the University's extraordinary collection of objects and material culture.

"I'd love for this project to be able to profile some of these amazing things. It can be a wonderful way to engage people's attention and communicate complex ideas."

Dr Oakman expects the portal will be up and running by the end of this year to begin to receive information from the community.

"When the portal opens, we'll invite the community to submit their stories, anecdotes, memories and photographs so that we can start collating the material for the University's next historic memoire," he says.

A book containing a selection of summarised contributions from the community will also be developed, and it's anticipated both will be available for release in time for the University's 75th anniversary.

For more information on the ANU75 project, contact Daniel on 6125 2722 or email Daniel.Oakman@anu.edu.au.