i-Tjuma: The journey of a collection – from documentation to delivery

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2019-10
Authors
Elizabeth Marrkilyi Ellis
Jennifer Green
Inge Kral
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University of Hawai'i Press
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Abstract
In 2018, a collection of some 60 edited and subtitled films, resulting from a documentation project (2012–2018) in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands on verbal arts of the Western Desert, was ready to be returned to the Ngaanyatjarra community. In this case study, we describe the journey of this return and the cultural, ethical, and technological issues that we negotiated in the process. From the archived collection lodged with PARADISEC (Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures), we developed a workflow that harvested selected media and their associated metadata and transferred them to LibraryBox, a portable digital file distribution tool designed to enable local delivery of media via the LibraryBox Wi-Fi hotspot. We detail here the return of the curated collection in a series of community film festivals in the Ngaanyatjarra communities and via the delivery of media from LibraryBox to individual mobile phones. We also discuss the return of a digital collection of historical photographs of Ngaanyatjarra people and strategies to re-inscribe such old records for new purposes. These endeavours are motivated by the imperative to ‘mobilise’ our collection of Western Desert Verbal Arts by making the recordings available to the Ngaanyatjarra community. We anticipate that the lessons we learnt in the process will contribute to better design for local solutions in the iterative cycle of documentation, archiving, and return.
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archiving, verbal arts, Ngaanyatjarra language, endangered languages, archival access, Indigenous Australia
Citation
Ellis, Elizabeth Marrkilyi, Jennifer Green, and Inge Kral. "i-Tjuma: The journey of a collection – from documentation to delivery." In Archival returns: Central Australia and beyond, edited by Linda Barwick, Jennifer Green, and Petronella Vaarzon-Morel, 303–323. LD&C Special Publication 18. Honolulu & Sydney: University of Hawai’i Press & Sydney University Press, 2019. http://hdl.handle.net/10125/24889/.
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