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Annual History Lecture


In Conversation: Laura McBride and Dr Mariko Smith

Unsettled Curators in Conversation

In 2021, the History Council of NSW is proud to present the Annual History Lecture (AHL) in a different format.  Instead of a formal lecture, this year’s AHL will feature an “in conversation” discussion between the Australian Museum’s Laura McBride (Director, First Nations) and Dr Mariko Smith (First Nations Curator) who will discuss their curatorial and historiographical approaches to developing and delivering the ground-breaking Unsettled exhibition, on display at the Australian Museum, Sydney until January 2022. 

Ms McBride and Dr Smith are pleased to participate in this important event, where they will reveal the exciting process of presenting a First Nations-led exhibition about the legacy of colonisation, constructions of Australian history and the importance of truth-telling to realise change.

The Annual History Lecture is an event usually produced & presented by the History Council of New South Wales every year in History Week, a state-wide celebration of History, which aims to engage and educate the community about the vitality, diversity and meaning of history and its practice.

Laura McBride


Laura McBride is a Wailwan and Kooma woman and Director, First Nations at the Australian Museum. Laura aims to prioritise and amplify First Nations voices so that Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, and Pasifika communities represent themselves and their cultures within the Museum. Laura previously held the First Nations Curator, Creative Producer, and Aboriginal Educator roles at the Australian Museum.

Her projects have included the Garrigarrang: Sea Country, GADI, and Unsettled exhibitions, and conducting ground-breaking First Nations community consultation through The 2020 Project. Laura’s academic qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts (Double Major in Psychology and Australian Indigenous Studies) from the University of Sydney, and a Master of Aboriginal Education from the University of Technology, Sydney.

Photo Credit: Anna Kučera.



Dr Mariko Smith


Dr Mariko Smith is a Yuin woman with Japanese heritage. Mariko is the First Nations Curator at the Australian Museum, and also an Honorary Associate in the School of Literature, Art & Media at the University of Sydney.

She undertakes an interdisciplinary practice that encompasses museology, contemporary art, visual sociology, research methodology, epistemology, and history. Mariko has worked in the museum and tertiary sectors in Sydney, specialising in Aboriginal cultural heritage, community-based cultural resurgence projects, and incorporating Indigenous ways of knowing into museum and artistic practices.

She initially trained and practised in law, and later completed a Master of Museum Studies and PhD from the University of Sydney. Her doctoral thesis was about Aboriginal tied-bark canoe making practice through cultural resurgence, which was inspired by work done in museums.

Photo Credit: Anna Kučera.

Further questions about History Week 2021?

More information is available through our frequently asked questions to the right, or contact us at

Past History Weeks

Further information about past History Weeks as well as our overall aims can be found here.

Do I have to be a History Council member to participate?

History Week events are open to the public. However, all organisations or individuals wishing to host a History Week event or take part in the History Week Speaker Connect program must be current members of the History Council of NSW. The History Council relies on the financial support of its members to deliver its annual programs. Apply to become a member here.

What makes a successful History Week event?

Successful History Week events:

  • relate to or incorporate the History Week theme
  • select a running time most appropriate for the target audience (for example, many students, full-time workers and young people are unable to attend events scheduled during the day. We advise hosts to consider running an event outside of regular office hours to attract wider audiences)
  • select a format most appropriate for the target audience (for example a lecture, exhibition, interactive experience etc)
  • are well and consistently promoted at least one month in advance and across a variety of channels, in addition to the History Council of NSW’s online channels
  • have a clear, concise and engaging event description, along with an eye-catching and relevant feature image, which entices audiences to attend
  • include clear instructions on how attendees can book or register for the event, whether this be through an online booking system, or via a contact email or phone number.
What is the History Week event registration process?
  1. All History Week event registrations must be made through our online registration form (registrations are not yet open)
  2. Registrations will be processed as they are received. You will be sent a confirmation email with your registration details. The contact person listed on the registration form will be the primary liaison with our staff
  3. Changes to any of these details must be sent immediately to our staff at
  4. After registrations close at 5pm on 13 July 2020, our staff will begin to post events on the HCNSW History Week website, starting with Speaker Connect events. A downloadable PDF program will be made available, as will a further digital interactive program.
  5. Events will be circulated and advertised throughout the months of July and August. Event hosts are strongly encouraged to advertise their selected event through a variety of their own channels in addition to our channels
  6. After History Week, event hosts will be approached to provide feedback on their experience of the event and its organisation and promotion. Detailed and specific feedback is greatly appreciated
  7. We will release a History Week report for download on our website.
Do you have a media pack and guide?

We have made a media pack available for our host organisations to assist in publicity. Download our logo, publicity guide and media release template below.

HCNSW logo (jpeg 62kb)
Publicity guide (pdf 172kb)

Please contact us at for assistance.

NSW Government logo thumbnailHistory Week is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW

History Week partners

We are grateful to our partners listed below for all of their assistance and support.


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