Yolŋu pathways to value creation in museum and archival collections: the work and journey of Joseph Gumbula
in Morphy, Howard et McKenzie, Robyn (eds), Museums, Societies and the Creation of Value, Londres: Routledge.
Dr Joseph Neparrŋa Gumbula (1954–2015) was an exceptional man. Born in the small mission settlement of Milingimbi, off the central coast of Arnhem Land, this Gupapuyŋu ceremonial leader spent the last 10 years of his life traveling to museums and archives in Australia and abroad to study, document and digitize expressions of his ancestral legacy. Widely recognized in academia for his knowledge of Arnhem Land material cultures and ceremonial performance, and for his inspiring role as a lecturer and educator, the research methodologies Joe Gumbula put in practice during his career had lasting effects on museum professionals and scholars internationally. They led to a myriad of innovative collaborations within the ‘relational museum’ paradigm and to a broader and finer appreciation of Yolngu systems of value. In this chapter, I draw on the Yolŋu concept of pathways (dhukarr, wayawu) to explore the nature of his engagement with collections and his contribution to value creation processes within and outside of the museum sphere.