Find & Connect: What even is it?

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The Lab Digital Studio Level 2, West Wing Arts West Building 148


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Nicola Laurent

Note: New start time of 1:30pm

The Find & Connect web resource, produced by the eScholarship Research Centre at the University of Melbourne, has been described as 'almost certainly the largest nonmilitary public history project in Australia to date' (Swain, 2014). Yet, misconceptions abound about what Find & Connect is: a digital history project? an archives project? a records repository? a dating site?

In this interactive session, speakers will provide an overview of the Find & Connect web resource, funded by the Australian Government in response to the National Apology to Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants in 2009. The project has seen engagement and collaboration between the University and the public, particularly with Care Leaver advocates, past providers and record-holders. Find & Connect operates in a dynamic landscape of emerging narratives and counternarratives about the history of vulnerable children and families in Australia, particularly in light of recent national and state inquiries into institutional abuse of children.

Find & Connect brings together historical and archival resources of this traumatic and contested history, traces of which are found everywhere and are still being brought to light. This session takes place in the week of International Archives Day, and will highlight the pivotal role of archives and records in resurfacing and revealing the history of institutional ‘care’ in Australia, and draw out some of the archival issues inherent in this complex, distributed space.


Kirsten Wright is the Program Manager, Find & Connect Web Resource, eScholarship Research Centre, University of Melbourne. She has previously worked at Victoria University, where she had responsibility for records management, University Archives and Freedom of Information, and at the Public Record Office Victoria. Kirsten holds a BA in history and politics and a Master of Information Management and Systems, both from Monash University.

Dr Cate O'Neill is a historian with a love of archives. She is the National Editor and Research Coordinator of the Find & Connect web resource.

Nicola Laurent is the Project Archivist on the Find & Connect web resource. Nicola’s research interest is in advocating for sustainable access to online material through digital preservation of links and promoting the issue of content drift.