Doing Fieldwork in Indigenous Communities

The 30 Second Archive

Annelie De Villers, eScholarship Research Centre, University of Melbourne

Archivists deal with the storage, maintenance and accessibility of unpublished information and knowledge within our societies. Those who access archives down the track are influenced by the way in which the information is represented, therefore what we do has political and cultural ramifications.

Ever heard the phrase ‘history is written by the victors’? People who own knowledge or information have power over the way in which future generations remember certain events, or even, certain groups within society. Therefore archives can empower or disempower.

I work as a research archivist at the University of Melbourne’s eScholarship Research Centre. The majority of the time I am lucky enough to I work on a project called ‘Return, reconcile, renew: understanding the history, effects and opportunities of repatriation and building an evidence base for the future’.

The Return, Reconcile, Renew project records the history…

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Bringing Archives to Life

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This photo titled ‘William Keye and Mary Jane Roberts making straw hats: Riviera Beach, Florida’ was taken by Charles Foster in 1939.
I’ve photoshopped William and Mary onto vintage wallpaper.
Archival photo persistent URL: www.floridamemory.com/items/show/166225

Volunteers in Australian Archives

hands-people-woman-workingWhy do volunteers choose to contribute thousands of unpaid hours per week to Australian archives? This paper presents the results of a nationwide web survey that provides insight into the demographics, motivations, and experiences of volunteers in Australian archives.

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Demystifying the Copyright Amendment Bill

questionsanswersWhat does the Copyright Amendment Bill actually mean for archivists and archival organisations? Jessica Coates of The Australian Libraries and Copyright Committee was generous enough to answer my questions.

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2017 Aus Women Writers Challenge

pexels-photo-287335This year I will be partaking in the Australian Women Writers Challenge which ‘was set up to help overcome gender bias in the reviewing of books by Australian women’. Throughout 2017 I will be reading and reviewing at least 6 books which are authored by female Australians and are related to the following subject matters:

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2016: The Pact that Proves the Value of New Professionals

hotairballoon.jpegBeing a new archival professional is terrifying. You are scared of stepping on toes, of being viewed as competition, of making a fool of yourself. Often this means that we hesitate to step out of our comfort zones.

Unless of course, you make a pact with a colleague…

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Debunking Archival Research Myths

bustedFor most archivists, research continues to be shrouded in mystery. Unfortunately this contributes to the growing gap between practitioners and researchers in our profession.

This blog post sets out to debunk a couple of myths that are stopping people from doing research.

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Survey for Volunteers in Australian Archives

SurveyUPDATE: THIS STUDY HAS CONCLUDED. RESULTS ARE FORTHCOMING.

You can all stop holding your breath, as we are now launching the survey which was proposed at the 2015 ASA conference! *collective intake of breath*

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Social Media and Collaboration Opportunities in the Archival Sector

Startup Stock PhotosSocial media presents us with the opportunity to collaborate with one another, in accessible language which not only increases the reach and impact of your ideas, but also fosters collaborative opportunities. Aligning our professions’ research activities with industry requirements would be to the benefit of us all.

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#FundTROVE

troveUPDATE: Following extensive campaigning, Trove received a commitment of $16.4 million in Dec 2016.

In case you missed it: The Australian federal government is significantly cutting funding to the National Library of Australia. One of the services that will be most detrimentally impacted is Trove, which will no longer be able to aggregate content from museums and universities unless fully funded to do so.

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No More Gatekeepers! Social media engagement breaks down barriers within the archival sector

socialmediaThe irrefutable strength of social media is in its ability to break down barriers. We usually talk about this quality in terms of social media’s ability to overcome issues of time and space, but in this post I want to focus on its’ ability to overcome barriers between groups; say… between researchers and practitioners in the Australian archival sector.

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Digital Life Story Work with Aboriginal Children in Out-of-Home Care

Cropped man and woman using electronic device free image

I was asked to prepare a video presentation of my research for the Masters of Education students of Australian Catholic University. A transcript of the presentation is included below with links to useful resources for those who are interested.

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ASA Conference: Volunteer Work and Entering the Profession from the Periphery

Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 6.59.41 PMThe theme of the Australian Society of Archivists‘ 2015 conference was ‘Archives on the Edge’. Speakers spoke on a variety of topics derived from this theme: archives on the edge of extinction, the edge of great innovation, the edge of redefinition.

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Respecting cultural differences vs ‘othering’

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Introspection by Giulia Marangoni

As researchers in the interpretivist paradigm we are expected to grapple and come to some sort of understanding of our participants’ worldview. This strikes me as an impossible task. When asked, my supervisors assured me that it is in fact impossible, but as long as we accept that we have tried our best and engage in reflective practice that our research will be robust. I find it difficult to come to terms with these concepts especially since my research focuses on Aboriginal culture. I feel as though it would be the height of stupidity to pretend to have even a basic understanding of their worldview. Although my professors raised the point that perhaps I am actually doing the Aboriginal community a disservice by assuming that we have vastly different worldviews. How do I navigate the line between ‘othering’ the Indigenous community and respecting the fact that cultural differences exist?