© Andrew Denzin

Decolonising Maritime Archaeology, Heritage and Museums in Australasia

The 2022 AIMA Conference is being held in Adelaide, South Australia.

The conference will address inclusiveness in our field and the decolonising of our discipline. It will provide an opportunity to engage into dialogue around the meaning, approaches and lessons for ‘decolonising’ maritime archaeology, maritime museums, and underwater cultural heritage. This Conference will bring together attendees from all over the world to enable voices and perspectives that are not usually heard. In particular, it will consider the ways that colonial privilege and access affected how we approach our discipline and how we can move forward. It will also be a platform for the exchange and dissemination of information about maritime archaeological projects from the greater Australasian region.

This year is also an opportunity to celebrate and reflect on the growth of our discipline. 2022 marks 40 years of AIMA as an organisation and contributor to Australasian maritime archaeology. In addition, 2022 is the 20-year anniversary of the Maritime Archaeology Program at Flinders University. Both of these institutions have trained, supported and engaged with members and alumni from countries all over the world. They have also helped our discipline to learn and adapt with improved ethical standards, technical advancements and innovative approaches.

The 2022 AIMA Conference is intended to bring together scholars, researchers and working archaeologists to publicise and discuss maritime archaeology topics and research that affect the broad region of Australasia, Oceania, Southeast Asia, and the Indian Ocean. In particular, it sees the study of maritime archaeology, including submerged and nautical archaeologies, as key to understanding the big anthropological questions from human dispersals to economic, social and political transformations in communities throughout the world.

 AIMA has made significant progress in recent years by supporting scholars from regional, non-Western countries to attend the conference and share their research and perspectives. Still, research from non-Western countries or marginal or Indigenous communities has usually been underrepresented at this event. Attendees from these areas are often excluded by expense, inconvenience or cultural barriers. The Conference Committee believe that it is particularly important to bring together specialists in a single gathering focusing on regional studies and to break down the barriers to attendance and participation. The Conference is expected to become a platform for increasing the visibility of regional maritime research to the larger international community of specialists by enabling voices and perspectives that are not usually heard. 

The principal objectives of the Conference are:

  • to provide a forum for the discussion and exchange of research on maritime archaeology in Australasia, Oceania, Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean
  • to allow scholars, researchers, professional archaeologists, and others an opportunity to meet, discuss and establish personal networks in an attempt to widen the discourse about maritime cultural heritage
  • to raise the profile of maritime studies from Australasia, Oceania, Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean as a significant part of the region’s cultural heritage and explanator of human behaviour.

Together, these approaches aspire towards a decolonised discourse on maritime archaeology of the region.

 The 2022 Conference focusses on decolonising approaches to maritime archaeology and plans to encourage participation encompassing archaeological theory, methodology and interpretation, and to consider in particular the ways that colonial privilege and access has affected the approaches of the discipline. The sea has been a universal constant for the peoples of the broad region of Australasia, Oceania, Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean, even as its levels and boundaries change, and the AIMA Conference plans to consider how we approach maritime archaeology to understand our shared human past, and why.

Conference Events

  • Welcome Drinks TBC
  • Conference 21 -23 September 2022
  • Fieldtrips TBC
  • AGM TBC
  • Conference Dinner Jolly's Boathouse Friday 23 September 2022

Key Dates

Deadline for session abstracts   28 May 2022
Early Bird Registration opens     5 June 2022

Conference Contact

Conference Organising Committee
conference@aima-underwater.org.au