Research grant to support diverse contributions to Australia’s digital cultural heritage

Congratulations to Institute researchers who are involved in Australian Research Council Special Research Initiative for Australian Society, History and Culture grants, announced today.

Western Sydney University's Associate Professor Rachel Hendery, Professor Jonathon Allen, Dr Kylie Budge and Ms Kate Richards will explore the participation of diverse groups in the creation of Australia’s digital cultural heritage. Associate Professor Hendery is a School-based member of our Young and Resilient Research Centre and Dr Budge is a School-based member of the Institute.

Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellow Dr Zelmarie Cantillon is a researcher on a Griffith University-led grant to explore the role living heritage sites play in resisting or reinforcing cultural injustices faced by colonial subjects.

Seeing yourself in Australian digital cultural heritage

Researchers: Associate Professor Rachel Hendery; Dr Jonathon Allen; Dr Kylie Budge; Ms Kate Richards
Administered by Western Sydney University
Funding: $183,144

To ensure that Australia's museums, galleries and archives reflect what is important to all of us as we move into the digital age, we need to increase accessibility, participation and ownership for all Australians. We therefore aim to discover and test best practices for engaging diverse members of the general public in the creation of digital cultural heritage. Outcomes will include engagement of new visitor groups and increased accessibility to collections. Cultural institutions will gain access to new digital practices for telling a wide range of lesser-known stories. This will bring cultural and social benefits as well as economic benefits by putting our cultural sector at the forefront of cutting edge international digital practice.

Reimagining Norfolk Island's Kingston and Arthur's Vale Historic Area

Researchers: Professor Sarah Baker, Dr Zelmarie Cantillon
Administered by Griffith University
Funding: $229,108

The proposed project aims to explore the role living heritage sites play in resisting or reinforcing cultural injustices faced by colonial subjects. Focusing on the World Heritage Listed Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area, the project's significance lies in generating new understandings about Pitcairn Settler descendants’ struggles for recognition and self-determination. Expected outcomes of the project include developing the cultural justice approach as a conceptual and methodological tool and co-creating public history outputs with the community. Benefits include raising awareness about cultural injustices against Pitcairn Settler descendants and capacity building for the community to enhance senses of ownership over their heritage.

Engaging diverse communities

Western Sydney University researchers have been awarded an Australian Research Council (ARC) Special Research Initiatives grant valued at over $180,000 to explore the participation of diverse groups in the creation of Australia’s digital cultural heritage.

Associate Professor Rachel Hendery, from the University’s School of Humanities and Communication Arts’ Digital Humanities Research Group, MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development and co-lead of the Intergener8 Living Lab as part of the Young and Resilient Research Centre at the Institute for Culture and Society, will lead the project titled: Seeing yourself in Australian digital cultural heritage.

“In modern Australia, it’s essential our museums, galleries and archives reflect what is important to all of us as we move into the digital age,” said Associate Professor Hendery.

“The project aims to support accessibility, participation and engagement with cultural heritage by testing best practices for engaging diverse communities. Through this research, we hope to broaden the public’s access to collections, and to support the telling of a wide range of lesser-known stories through digital technology.”

Western Sydney University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice President (Research, Enterprise and International) Professor Deborah Sweeney welcomed the grant success.

“This project epitomises research with impact. Importantly, it will strengthen the voices of diverse communities and develop digital strategies to tell our shared history in a more accessible and equitable way,” said Professor Sweeney.

Additional members of the research team include Professor Jonathon Allen, Head of the University’s high-achieving student program, The Academy; Dr Kylie Budge, School of Humanities and Communication Arts and Institute for Culture and Society; Ms Kate Richards, School of Humanities and Communication Arts and MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development; and Mr Noel Burgess, Office of Technical Support Services. The project will receive ongoing support from the University’s Office of Technical Support Services.

Under the Australian Research Council (ARC) Special Research Initiatives scheme, the Australian Government supports high-quality research into Australian society, history and culture.

Posted: 14 October 2020.