23 April 2013

As the 2014-2018 Anzac Centenary approaches, University of Queensland (UQ) researchers are exploring how Anzac museum and heritage experiences can help Australians develop a sense of national identity.

Professor Roy Ballantyne and Dr Jan Packer from UQ School of Tourism, with Professor David Uzzell from the University of Surrey in the UK, will examine the ways first-, second- and third-generation Australians engage with, assimilate or reject national collective memories of the Anzac story.

Dr Packer said it has often been claimed that the Anzac spirit and stories of Australian soldiers at war are an important part of Australia's national identity.

“With Australia's diverse multicultural society, including nearly six million migrants from more than 200 countries, we need to know how we can tell these stories in a meaningful and inclusive manner for a variety of people who want to be Australian,” Dr Packer said.

The research, funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC), will include surveys of visitors at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and the Anzac commemorative site at Gallipoli.

“The results of this study will enable Anzac heritage sites to provide powerful and effective experiences, encouraging visitors to reflect on what it means to be Australian in a multicultural society,” Dr Packer said.

During the Centenary period 2014-2018, it is expected that more than 5 million people will visit the Australian War Memorial, and up to 50,000 people will travel to Anzac Cove in Turkey in April 2015.

The research is expected to be completed in 2015.

Media: UQ School of Tourism, Claire Shuter, 07 3346 9259 or c.shuter@uq.edu.au