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Social inclusion - Community and Indigenous Archiving and Knowledge Management

Community and Indigenous Archiving and Knowledge Management

Archival sources of Indigenous knowledge are vital to the healing of communities, sustaining Indigenous living culture, national reconciliation and Australian identity. This sub-theme explores, develop and implements frameworks and systems for the capture, integration, preservation and accessibility of all archival sources of Indigenous knowledge, in whatever form and media, wherever they are located - in communities, Indigenous and non-Indigenous organisations and archives, libraries and cultural institutions, in oral traditions, and in physical and virtual collections.

It also encompasses Visualisation projects which connect Indigenous children, young adults, and community members to their cultural heritage through digital technologies. Visualisation, 3D animation, interactive multimedia games, virtual collaborative spaces and simulations support cross-generational transfer of knowledge, the development of educational materials for Indigenous communities and the wider Australian community, heritage and endangered language preservation, self-esteem and identity amongst Indigenous youth.

Trust and Technology: Building archival systems for Indigenous oral memory

Researchers: Prof Lynette Russell, Prof Sue McKemmish, A/Prof Graeme Johanson
Partners: Public Record Office Victoria, Koorie Heritage Trust Inc., Koorie Records Taskforce, Australian Society of Archivists Special Interest Group
Centre: COSI and Centre for Australian Indigenous Studies (Arts)
Funding: ARC Linkage 2003-2006
Project website:
Project outline: The Trust & Technology (T&T) Project is an ARC Linkage project, with a partnership between Caulfield School of Information Technology, Monash University, Centre for Australian Indigenous Studies, Monash University, the Public Record Office of Victoria, the Koorie Heritage Trust Inc., the Victorian Koorie Records Taskforce, and the Australian Society of Archivists Indigenous Issues Special Interest Group. more...
The focus of the project is on enabling Koorie communities to archive oral memory, and to engage with existing government and institutional archives on their terms.

Related Education and Community Engagement Programs
Monash Indigenous Archives Scholarship Scheme, sponsored by FIT, National Archives of Australia, Public Record Office of Victoria and Australian Society of Archivists. less...
Related theme: Cultural Heritage - Community and Indigenous Archiving and Knowledge Management
Key outcomes:  

Holding Gunditjmara Knowledge: Community and records working together

Researchers: Shannon Faulkhead, Prof Lynette Russell, Prof Sue McKemmish
Partners: Gunditjmara community, National Archives of Australia, Koorie Heritage Trust Inc
Centre: COSI and Centre for Australian Indigenous Studies (Arts)
Funding: ARC Discovery Indigenous Researcher Development 2009-2010
Project outline: The integration, preservation and accessibility of all archival sources, forms and media of Koorie knowledge are vital to processes of recovery for those affected by past government policies and to national reconciliation. more...
Working in partnership with the Gunditjmara community of the Victorian Western District and the Koorie Heritage Trust, the Project will assist Koorie and other Indigenous communities to access and control information about them and their culture, and to build sustainable community archives. This will help in establishing identity, reconnecting families, pursuing land claims, intergenerational healing, preserving culture, and redress. The Project will place Australia at the forefront of Indigenous archiving research.

Related Education and Community Engagement Programs
Community-based learning and community work experience programs for undergraduate and postgraduate FIT students are proposed. less...
Related theme/s: Cultural Heritage - Community and Indigenous Archiving and Knowledge Management 
Social Inclusion - ICT for Development
Key outcomes:  

Visualisation of Aboriginal Songlines

Researchers: Dr. J. Bradley, Tom Chandler, Dr Amanda Kearney, UNSW
Centre: COSI and Centre for Australian Indigenous Studies
Funding: Sidney Myer Foundation (2008), Monash Educational Strategic Initiative Grant (2008-2009)
Project outline: In conjunction with anthropologist Dr. Amanda Kearney of the University of New South Wales and IT professionals Tom Chandler, Brent McKee and Chandara Ung of the Faculty of IT Berwick Campus, research has begun to see if animation can hold a key that will allow for cross cultural communication between the older Yanyuwa people and their children, grandchildren and great children. more...
At the core of this research is an investigation as to whether digital technology can assist in the education, identity and self esteem of youth. Presently there are five Yanyuwa dreaming stories completed and one partial song line. Work continues on both animation of a complete ceremonial song line and research with the community has begun in regards to the effectiveness of digital technology as a conveyer of Yanyuwa Law and identity. More information.
Related theme/s: Cultural Heritage - Community and Indigenous Archiving and Knowledge Management 
Social Inclusion - ICT for development
Key outcomes:  

Rethinking Archival and Legal Frameworks for Records of Indigenous Australian Communities of Memory: a participatory model of rights and responsibilities

Researchers: Dr Livia Iacovino ( and Prof Eric Ketelaar (
Centre: COSI
Funding: Jean Whyte Fund 2009
Project website:
Project outline: Archival systems perpetuate the conventional understanding of the relationship between the record subject as a third party and the record creators as the principal parties to the record transaction which limit the rights of those captured in and by the record. more...
The significance of this research is that it seeks to clarify Indigenous rights in records, in particular held in archival institutions but also relevant to prospective recordkeeping, by adopting a Participant Relationship model within an archival paradigm that recognises Indigenous co-creation as a form of parallel provenance which has significant effects on archival systems and consequently legal implications. less...
Key outcomes: Application of a Participant Relationship model of rights and responsibilities to records of Indigenous Australians (developed from emerging legal and archival concepts of the record subject as a record co-creator) more...
Archival, policy and legal strategies that implement a Participant Relationship model for records of Indigenous Australians

Human rights principles in international and Australian human rights instruments which support Indigenous rights (collective and individual) in records mapped to archival requirements. less...

Future initiatives

Human rights, Indigenous communities in Australia and the archives

Researchers: COSI researchers in collaboration with the Centre for Australian Indigenous Studies and the CASTAN Centre for Human Rights
Centre: COSI
Project outline: Archives play a critical role in the recovery of Indigenous knowledge and language, and providing evidence for establishing identity, family link-ups, community regeneration, land claims and redress of human rights abuse. more...
Policies and practice in archival institutions in Australia are currently not in line with international conventions. The implications for archival law, policy and practice of the new Victorian Charter for Human Rights and the mooted federal charter need to be researched and clarified. less...
Key outcomes: