The Living Archive of Aboriginal Collections

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Project team

Indigenous researchers

  • Molly Walker, Research and Collections, First Peoples
  • Daphne Daniels, Ngukurr News Editor
  • Maree Clarke, Independent artist

Museums Victoria

  • Shannon Faulkhead, Acting Head, First Nations
  • Melanie Raberts, Collections Manager, Indigenous
  • Nancy Ladas, Head, Arts

University of Melbourne

  • Dr Fran Edmond
  • Dr Richard Chenhall
  • Professor Rachel Fensham, Assistant Dean, Digital Studio

Project advisors

  • Associate Professor Kate Senior, University of Newcastle
  • Dr Greg Wadley, School of Computing and Information Systems, University of Melbourne

Project description

The Living Archive of Indigenous Collections provided a context and framework to test a digital Community Access Portal (CAP) linked with Museums Victoria’s collections. A collaboration between the University of Melbourne and Museums Victoria, the project employed a collaborative community-based approach engaging with the Ngukurr Community in southeast Arnhem Land.

The notion of a ‘living archive’ is a move towards acknowledging the networked, interconnected nature of Indigenous knowledge in archival and collection systems, traditionally static sites of preservation. Alongside work on the return of cultural heritage and data sovereignty, the ‘living archive’ is a valuable lens through which museum collection data structures and systems can be reformed and re-envisioned. By linking and enriching established catalogue information with contemporary representations of lived culture, a ‘living archive’ supports Indigenous communities to control their data and direct the narratives that surround this material.