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Storytelling photographs, animating anangu: how Ara Irititja - an Indigenous digital archive in central Australia - facilitates cultural reproduction

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... for "preserving, organising and repatriating digital or digitized media and cultural knowledge" in accordance with cultural protocols. This platform was then licensed to a number of external organizations, including the Northern Territory Library, the State Library of Western Australia, and the CLC (Gibson, 2009;Hughes and Dallwitz, 2007;Thorner, 2010;Thorner and Dallwitz, 2015). The Northern Territory Libraries Community Stories project, in collaboration with Local Government Shires, has provided a number of communities with computers preloaded with the KMS for the purpose of uploading and managing their own cultural materials. ...
Article
This article considers how Indigenous peoples in Central Australia share and keep digital records of events and cultural knowledge in a period of rapid technological change. To date, research has focused upon the development of digital archives and platforms that reflect Indigenous epistemologies and incorporation of protocols governing access to information. Yet there is scant research on how individuals with little access to such media share and hold—or not, as the case may be—digital cultural information. After surveying current enabling infrastructures in Central Australia, we examine how materials are held and shared when people do not have easy access to databases and the Internet. We analyze examples of practices of sharing materials to draw out issues that arise in managing storage and circulation of cultural records via Universal Serial Bus (USB) flash drives, mobile phones, and other devices. We consider how the affordances of various platforms support, extend, and/or challenge Indigenous socialities and ontologies.
Research
This report arises from research conducted for the ARC LP (130100733), Aboriginal young people in Victoria and Digital Storytelling. It responds to the increasing use of digital technologies to provide access to all kinds of information that reside in collecting institutions, which relates specifically to Indigenous people, their culture and heritage. While individual collecting institutions have their own policies, procedures and protocols concerning access and distribution of digitised material, there remain many new avenues for consideration regarding the production and control of digital content. This is particularly the case with respect to the explosion of digital-born material (such as the digital stories made by Aboriginal young people for the ARC LP) and how it is collected and managed now and into the future. Here, we discuss the management and use of digital collections in relation to the experiences of curators, collections managers, archivists, production managers and librarians, including members of the Aboriginal community in southeast Australia, who currently work in collecting institutions or with digital collections. We highlight their concerns and ambitions as we seek to understand how the current suite of collection policies and protocols contributes to new and progressive approaches to the care of these collections.
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