Talking About Stones was part of an Australian Research Council Linkage Project called The Relational Museum and Its Objects: Engaging Indigenous Australian Communities with their Distributed Collections, 2016–2020 (LP150100423). The Australian National University partnered on this project with the British Museum, the National Museum of Australia and the Museum of the Riverina.
The project began with a brief to investigate the Aboriginal material culture existing in the collections of small local museums in the Riverina district of N.S.W. A survey of some thirty museums revealed that they all had collections of stone artefacts donated by local farmers who had found them while working on their properties.
It was clear there were more of these collections distributed within the community—anecdotally, every farming family having a shoebox or milk crate of artefacts like this in their shed. The project developed shape from this point, seeking to probe the little-explored patterns of engagement between settlers and Indigenous people represented by these collections.