Sprigg lecture series

Dr Reg Sprigg AO sm

Dr Reg Sprigg AO                                                      

The Sprigg lecture series provides visitors with access to the latest research and thinking around scientific and cultural discoveries at a local and global level and to engage with scientific ideas that affect them and their world, now and in the future.

These free lectures commemorate the life of Dr Reg Sprigg AO, a remarkable South Australian geologist who discovered the world’s oldest fossilised animals in the Flinders Ranges in 1946, now internationally recognised as the Ediacara fossils.

Online bookings for Sprigg lectures open one month before the event is held. 


Dr Rachel Popelka-Filcoff - AINSE Senior Research Fellow in the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences at Flinders University, delivered the first Sprigg lecture for 2016, on ochre mapping. You can listen back to this lecture delivered on April 5.


Renewal and reconciliation in the modern museum

Dr John Carty

John Carty - Head of Anthropology at the South Australian Museum
Tuesday, 31 May at 6-7pm
Pacific Cultures Gallery
Free, but bookings essential

My research career has been spent bridging the gaps between different disciplines and different cultural systems of knowledge: such as between anthropology and art history, or between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal understandings of historical or ecological events. Working closely with Aboriginal people in the Western Desert, and around the country, has informed and challenged my conceptual orientation to questions of pedagogy, culture and the evolving place of the museum as a site of reconciliation in Australian society.

In this lecture I will explore some of the personal and intellectual revelations – about Australian history, about art history, about Aboriginal concepts of materiality and heritage – that have punctuated my research and which are in turn shaping my approach at the South Australian Museum.  I will explore how the last 15 years of research, and the questions that have been raised therein, will inform my approach to research, collections, exhibitions and outreach over the next decade. But these questions are not simply about the detail or provenance or emphasis of a particular museum collection, and nor are they limited to anthropology or the humanities; rather they are about interrogating and rejuvenating the role of the museum in a changing world. I will examine our role not only as custodians of material culture, as archivers or interpreters of historical processes, but of the museum as a dynamic and provocative agent in cultural processes that continue to define, enrich and challenge our understandings of ourselves as Australians.


Lessons from Neandertals: how your bacteria contribute to your health, your thoughts, and your past

Laura Weyrich

Dr Laura Weyrich - ARC Postdoctoral Research Associate, Genetics and Evolution
unit at the University of Adelaide
Tuesday, 16 August at 6-7pm
Pacific Cultures Gallery
Free, but bookings essential 

Dr Laura Weyrich from the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA will uncover what it means to be human, given that the body actually contains more bacterial cells than human ones. 

Using a mixture of ancient DNA and modern medicine, she will describe how information from ancient bacteria impacts on medical research today, and discuss how many of our daily activities are actually performed and governed by the trillions of microorganisms that live within us. 


Topic to be advised

Kris Helgen - Research Zoologist and Curator in Charge, Division of Mammals, National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution
Tuesday, 1 November at 6-7pm
Pacific Cultures Gallery
Free, but bookings essential - bookings open one month prior to the lecture

The Sprigg Lecture Series is supported by Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary and Bundaleer Wines.