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Arts Digital Lab Seminar: Digital Humanities approaches to digitising, repatriating and exploring an historical Australian colonial archive

Seminar cancelled

Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond our control, Professor Hendery’s seminar has had to be cancelled.

Arts Digital Lab Seminar

Digital Humanities approaches to digitising, repatriating and exploring an historical Australian colonial archive

Associate Professor Rachel Hendery, University of Western Sydney

Over 100 years ago First Peoples in Australia worked with colonial magistrate A. W. Howitt and Methodist missionary Lorimer Fison, as well as a network of settler colonists, to document kinship, culture and language from around Australia. In a three year project a large team of academics, librarians, archivists, museum specialists, and community members have transcribed letters, notebooks and other documents gathered by these early anthropologists and subsequently deposited in the State Library of Victoria, Museums Victoria and St Marks National Memorial Library, Canberra. Working with descendants of the people mentioned in the materials, it has been possible to identify significant documents, and to protect those that are sensitive and should not be shared. In this talk I will talk about the digital humanities aspects of the project: collaboration with communities via crowdsourcing and other participatory approaches and some simple approaches to text analysis and data visualisation using Python notebooks. I will also talk about the lessons we learned about doing joint research projects with museums, archives and community organisations.

I am a linguist who works on language contact and change, particularly in the Pacific and Australia, and how new digital tools and techniques allow us to research these in new ways. My research interests span historical and contact linguistics, typology, and digital humanities areas, especially relating to mapping, simulation, language, virtual reality, and data visualisation. I am currently lead CI on the Australian Research Council-funded projects “Waves of Words: Mapping and Modelling Australia’s Pacific Past” and “Seeing yourself in Australian Digital Cultural Heritage”, and a co-CI on several further ARC-funded and international projects.

I co-lead the Intergener8 Living Lab at Western Sydney University, where we work across generations, forms of expertise and places in co-research, design and testing of digital initiatives to foster the resilience of people and communities to live well and participate fully in social life. I am also a member of the MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development, and the Centre of Excellence for Language Dynamics. I am the Treasurer for the Australasian Association of Digital Humanities and the NSW coordinator for the Australian Computational and Linguistics Olympiad.

Wednesday 26 May, 12.30 – 1.30 pm

Rehua 002