Be water curious this summer! In conjunction with the Perth Festival exhibition Museum of Water, we’re hosting a full day of lively and engaging talks on Sat 1o Feb. Jois us as we explore water-related topics and our connections to this lifesource.

10:15am | Morning Yarns: Story sharing from the Museum of Water Collection

Meet the custodians who look after Museum of Water and hear stories from their year travelling the state collecting water donations.

11am | Latai Taumoepeau Artist Talk

Hear performance artis Latai Taumoepeau discuss her powerful work Repatriate, showing alongside the Museum of Water as part of Perth Festival. 

12pm | Future Museums: Ways of Sharing History with Amy Sharrocks and Alec Coles

Museums tell stories about the past and present, but they also have the ability to speculate about the future. Join Museum of Water creator Amy Sharrocks and WA Museum CEO Alec Coles in a conversation about museum-ification, systems of care, democracy and alternative ways of holding onto our most treasured histories. Who is listened too and what is kept?


Alec Coles is CEO of the Western Australian Museum, with branches in Perth, Fremantle, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie and Albany. Coles has held this position since March 2010. He was previously Director of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums in North East England and a member of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Expert Panel and an executive member of both the National Museum Director’s Conference and the Museums Association. He is driving WA’s initiative to build a new State Museum in the Perth Cultural Centre, scheduled to open in 2020. He aspires to create a museum that is owned and valued by all West Australians and admired by the world. Coles was recognised for Services to Museums in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2010, being made an OBE. In March 2017 he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters from The University of Western Australia in recognition of his contribution to the Arts.

Amy Sharrocks is a live artist, sculptor and film-maker who invites people to come on journeys in which their own experience, communication and expression are a vital part. Undertaking these journeys with a sense of humour, joy and risk, Amy creates work that is rich, unpredictable and different every time. This invitation and the bravery and invention of people’s responses, produces new avenues for exploration and fantastic visions within the everyday.

1:30pm | The Pleasures and Politics of Water: Panel Conversation

What is our duty of care for preserving our most precious resource? Water law, environmental treaties, and sustainable future thinking – we gather world experts to discuss actions for protecting our oceans and rivers, and the importance of giving water a voice.

Facilitated by: Trish McDonald (WA), New Museum Project Director, WA Museum


  • Anne Poelina (WA), Managing Director Madjulla Incorporated
  • Bruce Ivers (WA), Sustainability expert
  • Latai Taumoepeau (NSW), Artist, performance maker, creative industries, provocateur
  • Erika Techera (WA), Director UWA Oceans Institute, the University of WA

Dr Anna Poelina is a Nyikina Warrwa Traditional Custodian from the Mardoowarra, Lower Fitzroy River, and Deputy Chair and Director of the Walalakoo Prescribed Body Corporate responsible for the integrated management of 27 000 sqkms of Nyikina and Mangala Native Title lands and waters. Dr Poelina champions the need to include traditional ecological knowledge and the rights of nature to the solutions for planetary health and wellbeing.  She is the Managing Director of Madjulla Incorporated, a Board and Councillor with the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), Adjunct Research Fellow with Charles Darwin University, Northern Institute and Adjunct Senior Research Fellow with Notre Dame University Broome.

Latai Taumoepeau is a Punake, body-centred performance artist. Her story is of her homelands, the Island Kingdom of Tonga and her birthplace, the Eora Nation (Sydney). Latai activates Indigenous philosophies and methodologies, cross-pollinating ancient practices of ceremony with her contemporary processes and performance work to re-interpret, re-generate and extend her practice in and from Oceania.

Bruce Ivers feels he has always had a close connection with water. He grew up on a farm near Kojonup where rainfall collected from the house roof provided domestic water. Seasonal rainfall gave life to the plants that were either eaten by the livestock or harvested as grain each summer. Today, Bruce takes Perth school children tree planting to mitigate salinity.

Professor Erika J Techera is an international and comparative environmental lawyer focusing on marine environmental governance. Her research explores marine protected areas, illegal fishing and marine pollution, as well as the conservation and management of marine species, reefs and maritime heritage. Erika has written more than 50 publications, is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law, and was the 2016 Australian Law Awards ‘Academic of the Year’.

Trish McDonald started at the WA Museum in 2009 and has worked in various positions, primarily related to the New Museum Project. Her current role as Project Director involves leading the team developing the creative content for, and planning for the operations of, the New Museum for WA. Prior to moving to WA she had a central role in completing Stage 1 of the Australian Museum’s Exhibition Refurbishment Project and facilitating the construction of its Collections and Research Building on the edge of the Sydney CBD. She has an academic background in the natural sciences and science education.

3pm | The Pull of the Ocean: Panel Conversation

What is your relationship to the ocean? From glitter paths and catchment areas to deep sea swells and unknown territories, a swimmer, a sailor and a surfer come together to share their fear and passion for the ocean, the exhilarance of exploring the wilderness and the undeniable force that keeps drawing them in.

Facilitated by: Erika Techera (WA), Director UWA Oceans Institute, the University of WA


  • Tyson McEwan (WA)
  • Damon Hurst (WA)
  • John Longley (WA)

Tyson McEwan is a proud Aboriginal man, belonging to the Bardi people located near One Arm Point. Tyson has learnt the importance of the ocean not just the resources it provides but the spiritual connection it holds with his family. In particular, the shark or known as “Joodoo” is his Family totem. This means Tyson has a cultural responsibility to look after and care for the shark. This can explains his heavy involvement in water sports as he’s a keen fisherman, water polo player and has participated in surf club events in Geraldton. Overall, Tyson respects the ocean and the creatures who live in it. If you can’t find him at home or university, you’ll find him at the beach.

Damon Hurst learned to surf reef on Rottnest Island in 1974; a moment that lead to a lifetime of enquiry and inspiration. His surf-driven travels include Australia, Indonesia, South & North Africa, UK, France, Spain, Portugal, North & South America, Hawaii and a few other islands. In 2016 Damon produced artworks for and co-curated Frontier Surfing an immersive FAC exhibition that explored elements of the human condition that drive pioneering surfers to the next level.

John Longley has been involved with sailing and the sea almost all of his life. He started sailing as a young boy in dinghies on the Swan River, graduating to ocean racing in Australia and later on in Europe and America, including the Transatlantic race. This lead to a long involvement with the America’s Cup, which saw him sailing as a crew member in five consecutive America’s Cup campaigns from 1974 to 1987. John is the Chair of the Duyfken Foundation that owns and operates the replica of the Duyfken, the ship that made the first recorded European landing on the Australian mainland in 1606. John has a keen interest in tourism and Chairs the Perth Regional Tourism Organisation.