Jane Lydon

Professor, MA PhD ANU

  • The University of Western Australia (M208), 35 Stirling Highway, Room 1.19, Arts Building, Crawley campus

    6009 Crawley


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Personal profile


My research centres upon Australia’s colonial past and its legacies in the present. I am interested in the ways that popular and especially visual culture has shaped ideas and debates about race, identity and culture that persist today. In particular, I am concerned with the history of Australia’s engagement with anti-slavery, humanitarianism, and ultimately human rights. I am exploring the social and political impact of emotions aroused by visual imagery, including their application in evoking antislavery discourse, in visualizing violence on the colonial frontier, and through magic lantern performances aiming to prompt social reform.

New and Noteworthy

Returning Photographs https://ipp.arts.uwa.edu.au/
In November 2015 the ARC-funded project 'Returning Photos: Australian Aboriginal Photographs from European Collections' (DP110100278) launched a new website to connect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities with photographs collected by four major European museums: the University of Oxford’s Pitt Rivers Museum, the Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the Musée de Quai Branly in Paris, and the Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen (National Museum of World Cultures) in Leiden, the Netherlands. The website also publishes a range of essays and blog posts linked to this project.

Teaching overview

UWA 2015-19 Coordinator:
• Looking for Australia (HIST2015)
• Thinking History (HIST2007)
• Eyewitness to the Past (HIST3016).


Cultural history of human rights, humanitarianism and empire
Australian colonial visual cultures
Cross-cultural history and its legacies
Heritage: the colonial past in the present

(Associate Partner) ‘Digital Heritage in Cultural Conflicts’, JPICultural Heritage, Digital Heritage, Led by Prof Gil Pasternak, Photographic History Research Centre, De Montfort University, UK.(€550,000, 2018-2020)

CI, ARC Learned Academies Special Project ‘'The future humanities workforce’, (Australian Academy of the Humanities, $306,500, 2017-2019)

CI ARC Discovery ‘Heritage in the Limelight: the magic lantern in Australia and the world’, (DP160102509, 2016-2018)


• Council, Australian Academy of the Humanities, (2016-2019)
• Advisory Board, Limina: A Journal of Historical and Cultural Studies. Postgraduate-run. (2016-)
• Advisory Panel, The Conversation, Arts and Culture (2016-)
• Council, National Trust of Australia (Western Australia) (2016-)
• International Reference Group, Negotiating History, major research project on Sámi photography, the University of Bergen, Norway. (2013-2017)
• Advisory Board, Anthem Press, Series in Australian History (and General Advisory Board in Australian Studies) (2015-)
• Advisory Board, Bloomsbury Publishing Handbook Series, The Handbook of Photography Studies, Gil Pasternak (ed), London: Bloomsbury Publishing. (2015-)
• Editorial Board, History of Photography (2016-2018)
• Editorial Board, Cultural Studies Review (2013-)
• Editorial Board, Australasian Historical Archaeology
• Editorial Board, Journal of the Anthropological Society of South Australia
• Western Australian Representative, Australian Women's History Network (2013-)


  • Australian History
  • Photography
  • Emotions
  • Visual Culture
  • Humanitarianism
  • Human Rights

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

photography Social Sciences
philanthropy Social Sciences
human rights Social Sciences
narrative Social Sciences
photo journalism Social Sciences
scientific scene Social Sciences
campaign Social Sciences
aesthetics Social Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2013 2019

Research Output 2007 2018

Invasion and Redemption: The Camera in Colonial Australia

Lydon, J. 1 Mar 2018 Colony: Australia 1770-1861 / Frontier Wars. Leahy, C. & Ryan, J. (eds.). National Gallery of Victoria, p. 244-253 10 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)


Remembering Myall Creek

Lydon, J. & Ryan, L. 1 May 2018 Remembering the Myall Creek Massacre. Ryan, L. & Lydon, J. (eds.). Sydney, NSW: NewSouth Publishing, p. 1-14 14 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

Colonial Administration

"Visual History at its best!": Visual Narrative and UNESCO's 1951 Human Rights Exhibition

Lydon, J. 1 Mar 2018 The Social Work of Narrative: Human Rights and the Cultural Imaginary. Griffiths, G. & Mead, P. (eds.). Stuttgart: ibidem-Verlag, Vol. 4, p. 279-299 21 p. (Studies in World Literature)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

Witnessing Myall Creek

Lydon, J. 1 May 2018 Remembering the Myall Creek Massacre. Ryan, L. & Lydon, J. (eds.). Sydney, NSW: NewSouth Publishing, p. 52-67 16 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

Colonial Administration

Aboriginal Transformations of the Photographic Archive

Lydon, J. 2017 Indigenous Archives: The Making and Unmaking of Aboriginal Art. Jorgensen, D. & McLean, I. (eds.). Crawley, WA: UWA Publishing, p. 362-382 21 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)