Associate Professor Graeme Were

Associate Professor

School of Social Science
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
+61 7 336 52167


Graeme Were is Associate Professor in Anthropology and Museum Studies and is Head of Anthropology in the School of Social Science at the University of Queensland. He has held positions at University College London, the British Museum, and Goldsmiths College London, and joined UQ in 2011. His research interests include museum anthropology, digital heritage and material culture studies and he has a regional specialism in Papua New Guinea and Vietnam. His recent work includes Lines that connect: rethinking pattern and mind in the Pacific (University of Hawai’i Press, 2010) and (co-edited with J.C.H. King) Extreme collecting (Berghahn, 2012). He presented the prestigious 2011 Curl Lecture at the British Museum awarded by the Royal Anthropological Institute, and in 2012, he received a UQ Foundation Research Excellence Award for his work on digital heritage and knowledge networks in Melanesia. He serves on the Australian government's National Cultural Heritage Committee and in 2016, he received a Gold Medal from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam for his contribution to museums in the country.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University College London


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  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision


Featured Publications


Book Chapter

  • Were, Graeme (2016). Reviving Kapiak: exploring the material identity of barkcloth in a Melanesian society. In Janis Jefferies, Diana Wood Conroy and Hazel Clark (Ed.), The handbook of textile culture (pp. 417-428) London, United Kingdom: Bloomsbury.

  • Were, Graeme (2016). The changing face of museums? History, memory and representation in Vietnam. In Pham Quang Minh, Nguyen Van Suu, Ien Ang and Gay Hawkins (Ed.), Globalization, modernity and urban change in Asian cities (pp. 233-244) Hanoi, Vietnam: Knowledge Publishing House.

  • Were, Graeme (2015). Coming together: kastom, religiosity and scale-making in New Ireland, Papua New Guinea. In Edvard Hviding and Geoffrey White (Ed.), Pacific Alternatives: cultural politics in contemporary Oceania (pp. 200-217) Wantage, United Kingdom: Sean Kingston Publishing.

  • Were, Graeme (2015). What's in a plant leaf? a case study of materials innovation in New Zealand. In Adam Drazin and Susanne Kuchler (Ed.), The social life of materials (pp. 31-47) London, United Kingdom: Bloomsbury Academic.

  • Were, Graeme and Besley, Jo (2014). Remembering the Queensland floods: community collecting in the wake of natural disaster. In Ian Convery, Gerard Corsane and Peter Davis (Ed.), Displaced heritage: responses to disaster, trauma, and loss (pp. 41-49) Woodbridge, Suffolk, United Kingdom: Boydell Press.

  • Were, Graeme (2013). Of skin, blood and bone: The kapkap of New Ireland. In Lissant Bolton, Nicholas Thomas, Elizabeth Bonshek, Julie Adams and Ben Burt (Ed.), Melanesia art and encounter (pp. 135-140) London, United Kingdom: British Museum Press.

  • Robson, Stuart, MacDonald, Sally, Were, Graeme and Hess, Mona (2012). 3D recording and museums. In Claire Warwick, Melissa Terras and Julianne Nyhan (Ed.), Digital humanities in practice (pp. 91-116) London, United Kingdom: Facet.

  • Were, Graeme (2012). Extreme collecting: dealing with difficult objects. In Graeme Were and J. C. H. King (Ed.), Extreme collecting: challenging practices for 21st century museums (pp. 1-15) New York, NY, United States: Berghahn Books.

  • Were, Graeme (2012). From the known to the unknown: pattern, mathematics and learning in Papua New Guinea. In Helen Forgasz and Ferdinand Rivera (Ed.), Towards equity in mathematics education: gender, culture, and diversity (pp. 415-428) Berlin, Germany: Springer.

  • Were, Graeme (2011). Contemporary textiles and the social fabric of life. In Ruth Mcdougall and Graeme Were (Ed.), Threads: Contemporary textiles and the social fabric (pp. 21-27) Brisbane, Qld., Australia: Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art.

  • Were, Graeme and Kuechler, Susanne (2010). Snapshot: Pacific patterns. In Eicher, Joanne B. (Ed.), Berg Encyclopedia of world dress and fashion/ vol. 10, Global perspectives (pp. 116-118) Oxford, U.K.: Berg.

  • Were, Graeme and Kuechler, Susanne (2010). The social world of cloth. In Margaret Maynard (Ed.), Berg encyclopaedia of world dress and fashion (pp. 381-385) Oxford, U.K.: Berg Publishers.

  • Were, Graeme (2008). Out of touch? Digital technologies, ethnographic objects and sensory orders. In Helen J. Chatterjee (Ed.), Touch in museums: policy and practice in object handling (pp. 121-134) Oxford, United Kingdom: Berg Publishers.

  • Were, Graeme and Kuecher, Susanne (2006). Malagan woven sculpture: Vavara. In Michael Gunn and Philippe Peltier (Ed.), New Ireland : Art of the South Pacific (pp. 190-191) Paris: Five Continents Publications.

  • Were, Graeme (2006). Symbols of power and leadership. In Michael Gunn and Philippe Peltier (Ed.), New Ireland: Art of the South Pacific (pp. 56-57) Paris: Five Continents Publications.

  • Kuchler, Susanne and Were, Graeme (2005). Introduction. In Susanne Küchler and Graeme Were (Ed.), The art of clothing: A Pacific experience (pp. xi-xxx) London, United Kingdom: UCL Press.

  • Were, Graeme (2005). Pattern, efficacy and enterprise : On fabricating connections in Melanesia. In Susanne Küchler and Daniel Miller (Ed.), Clothing as material culture (pp. 159-174) Oxford (U.K.): Berg Publishers.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Master Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor