Jason’s role in the Australian National University’s ARC Linkage project Deepening Histories of Place: Exploring Indigenous Landscapes of National and International Significance is a distinctive and recent example of harnessing research activity through digital technology. As Technical Officer, he played a pivotal developer and advisory role for research partners in designing and implementing the project’s digital history delivery strategies. Jason was directly responsible for developing and reporting on this work to the project’s stakeholders at Management Group meetings. Backed by a consortium of Industry partners, this Linkage project rendered some of the deeper layers of Australia’s history more accessible to the public. Stakeholders included the National Film and Sound Archive, the Northern Territory Government, the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, National Parks, the Office of Environment and Heritage, and the University of Sydney. The project’s pilot studies were in the Sydney-Blue Mountains, Central Australia and the Top End of the Northern Territory. As a member of this unique interdisciplinary and industry team, Jason was working with leading historians in Australian Indigenous History and major collections institutions in order to produce richer interpretations of internationally significant Australian landscapes and to develop innovative models for multi-vocal Indigenous and landscape-focused histories.
Deepening Histories of Place was the largest digital cultural project for Aboriginal knowledge management attempted in Australia that deals with the most complex and ethically sensitive issues facing digital humanities around access control and cultural heritage. This project has especially broken new ground in the legal area of Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property (ICIP) rights management through the use of digital methods.
The Attorney-General of Australia launched five outcomes resulting from this work in April 2013: a project home website which hosts a set of Ethical Protocols and five clearance forms developed by Terri Janke and Company for fostering and maintaining ethical research relationships with Indigenous people and communities; a digital history research environment for cultural knowledge management, which consists of administrative tasks and decisions surrounding the ingestion, annotation, cataloguing, storage, retrieval and distribution of digital photographs, audio and video (which are in turn processed within the context of Dublin Core metadata for resource descriptions and an Ethical Protocols controlled vocabulary for managing ICIP status and access); and three scholarly research publications in digital form.
These three digital research outputs are: ‘A Feeling For Place: Reflections on Arnhem Land History with Emeritus Professor John Mulvaney‘, which combines over 800 photographs taken since the late 1960s with recorded commentaries; ‘The Dreaming History from the Pelican‘, which tells us about the creation of stone knives and their movement along the ancient Aboriginal trade routes that cross Australia’s Top End; and ‘Our Music, Performing Place, Listening to Sydney‘, which collects together performances from a day-long event held at Sydney’s iconic Conservatorium of Music, providing an opportunity for both established and emerging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander musicians who call Sydney home, to come together to perform and discuss their personal, family and community history, their connection to place, and their musical practice. Education Services Australia (ESA), the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), and the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) have subsequently added the four public websites as educational resources. Further information about these outcomes can be viewed in this site’s ‘Design & Development‘ section.