This is where we are exhibiting documents that focus on IKRMNA work. Most of these papers have been written and published by IKRMNA researchers, but we also include papers commenting on IKRMNA work that have been written by others.
Jointly authored papers
Digital Technologies and Aboriginal Knowledge Practices
Paper by Helen and Michael delivered at the European Association for the Studies of Science and Technology conference in Lausanne, August 2006 for a panel on “ICTs, Development and Indigenous Knowledges”. It tells the story of a particular Aboriginal performance/construction of places, and follows its journey into the digital world. The idea of place as performed in knowledge production is developed through a close look at the notion of development and its historically original primary term, envelopment. Envelopment can be seen as the most fundamental work of Yolngu place making, always prior to, and significantly circumscribing and enabling development on Yolngu terms.
• Helen Verran and Michael Christie, "Using/Designing Digital technologies of Representation in Aboriginal Australian Knowledge practices", Human Technology Vol 3 (2), May 2007, 214-227. http://www.humantechnology.jyu.fi/current/
Abstract: Indigenous Australians are often keen to use digital technologies to develop sustainable livelihoods on their own lands. This paper tell of gradually coming to recognise how an Aboriginal Australian elder struggled against the grain of digital technologies designed to represent, in using them in Aboriginal Australian knowledge practices where knowledge is always actively performative rather than representational. The performance of Aboriginal place must express the remaking of an ancestral reality. At the same time, this man exploited possibilities the technologies offered for representation in achieving political ends in dealing with representatives of mainstream Australia.
Keywords: indigenous Australian knowledge; Yolngu Aboriginal concepts; use and design of digital technologies of representation.
Helen Verran, Michael Christie , Bryce Anbins-King, Trevor van Weeren, Wulumdhuna Yunupingu, "Designing Digital Knowledge Management Tools with Aboriginal Australians" Digital Creativity, 2007, Vol 18, No 3, pp129-142.
Abstract: The paper describes an approach to digital design grounded in processes of Indigenous collective memory making. We claim the research should be understood as performative knowledge making, and accounting it should also be performative. Accordingly we present four texts generated in the course of our research as an exhibit. They attest design processes for a file management system TAMI. We briefly theorise our approach as exemplifying Suchman's 'located accountability'.
Keywords: Indigenous knowledge management, collaborative software design, located accountability in design
Author Posting. (c) Taylor & Francis, 2007.
This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Taylor & Francis for personal use, not for redistribution.
The definitive version was published in Digital Creativity, Volume 18 Issue 3, September 2007.
• Helen Verran and Michael Christie, "Indigenous
Knowledge and Resource
Management in Northern
as a Virtue".
Paper presented to
Interests in Technologies,
Workshop hosted by Centre for Research in the Arts, Social
Sciences, and Humanities, University of Cambridge. 24-26 April,
This paper is a story of an Australian Research Council funded project involving Aboriginal knowledge communities, resource management, and digital technologies. We argue that in this work promoting non-coherence, both epistemic and ontic, is a virtue. In our presentation we will use our project website http://www.cdu.edu.au/centres/ik/ to show how non-coherence can work in promoting Aboriginal methodologies while also interrupting and resisting the (Western) epistemological and ontological values native to computers and other digital technologies.
Michael Christie's papers
Boundaries and accountabilities in computer-assisted ethnobotany pdf 240K
Draft of paper Digital Tools and the Management of Australian Desert Aboriginal Knowledge pdf 232K
submitted to Global Indigenous Media: Cultures, Practices and Politics Edited by Pamela Wilson and Michelle Stewart
draft of paper
Knowledge Traditions in Digital Environments pdf
draft of paper
Words, Ontologies and Aboriginal databases
draft of paper
Fracturing the Skeleton of Principle: Australian Law,
Aboriginal Law, and Digital Technology
draft of paper
Aboriginal Knowledge on the Internet
ultimately published in: Ngoondjook June 2001, #19,
draft of paper
Computer Databases and Aboriginal Knowledge
ultimately published in: International Journal of Learning
in Social Contexts Number 1, pp 4-12
Helen Verran's papers
Helen Verran, "Software for Educating Aboriginal Children about Place", Education and Technology: Critical Perspectives and Possible Futures. David W. Kritt & Lucien T. Winegar, (eds). Lexington Books, Lanham, MD, 2007, pp. 101-124.
Abstract. In this paper I imagine how a piece of software (TAMI) that is yet to be built might contribute to learning of being in-place by Aboriginal Australian children. I take up an analytic toolkit that has been emerging in science and technology studies since the 1980s, of which perhaps the best known expression is actor-network theory (ANT). This entails struggling with new ways to understand what knowledge is. I argue that a significant aspect of TAMI's contribution lies in the non-coherence it promotes. In explaining how this might possibly be beneficial in children's learning about place, I make analogy to the benefits bilingual children derive from conceptual non-coherence.
Helen Verran, "Indigenous Knowledge and Digital Media (2003-6), and HMS Investigator (1800-1803): Generalising Expertises and Knowledge Practice Cultures". Paper presented to Assembling Cultures Workshop, 10-11 December, 2007. School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne.
This paper develops an unlikely analogy between the cultural work of the 19th century British scientific expedition of HMS Investigator and a 21st century project working digital technologies with indigenous knowledge (IKRMNA). Both can be understood as making collective memory but that seems to be all they have in common. They differ in media of collection, and they involve alternative knowledge traditions. While one enterprise was located at the centre and characterised by the hubris of empire, the other is situated at the margins, motivated by a desire to resist and reclaim. I argue that despite, or perhaps because of, these significant differences, these two enterprises can be usefully juxtaposed in analysing them as assemblage. Close examination shows them both as clusters of heterogeneous clusters of projects which work alternative moments of assemblagediffering workings of the formal relation unity/plurality. Within both enterprises some projects effect assemblage as the relation one/many; while others work the whole/parts version. Of most interest, we see that both clusters contain projects that work both versions simultaneously.
Traditions of Aboriginal Australians:
Questions and Answers arising in a Databasing Project
Draft of a paper to be published in Encyclopaedia of the History of Science and Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures, H Selin (ed), Kluwer Academic Publications, 2005.
Abstract: In answering some questions about the place
and role of
databasing in Aboriginal Australian Knowledge Traditions,
the paper gives some interesting insights into the nature
and workings of Aboriginal Knowledge Traditions.
Indigenous Knowledge Resource Management Northern Australia
Project: Garma 2004 pdf 392K
Christian Clark submitted this paper for a directed study unit he carried out under the supervision of Helen Verran. This was his final paper in completing an undergraduate major in HPS. He is currently an honours student in HPS.
Abstract: The paper tells of an ethnographic study of the production of digital objects and their incorporation in the Garma database at the 2004 Garma Festival (Link to Garma website page). It compares and contrasts the complexity of the process by which Yolngu researchers generated some Indigenous digital objects and the seeming ease with which students recording the Garma academic forum produced data items.
Knowledge Database Audit
Papers by other researchers commenting on IKRMNA work
Maja van der Velden,
Research Fellow, Institute for Information and Media Studies,
University of Bergen, Norway.
Maja van der Velden is a Norwegian researcher working on a 3 year project financed by the Norwegian Research Council, "Local knowledges in global communications"
In an email sent 28 Nov 2005, Maja wrote: "I am looking at the diversity of knowledge, different ways of knowing, in global knowledge sharing systems: What are the connections between conceptualisations of knowledge and the design of knowledge sharing systems.... About the IKRMNA website I can say that as a researcher I appreciate very much that you publish your project documents, papers, workshop reports and reflections on publicly accessible web pages. But in general I think this type of transparency and openness is important for everyone, not just researchers. It is not only easy to locate information on the web site, the web pages are written in a very accessible language. Altogether the website gives a good presentation of all the work that goes in the IKRMNA by linking all the different people and activities in the project."
Paper 1: Invisibility and the Ethics of Digitalisation. Designing So As Not To Hurt Others pdf 268K
"About the essay.. .. if you feel it can contribute in whatever way to your project, please go ahead and put it up on your web site. It will be published in a book on culture, ethics, and information technology. The book will be edited by Charles Ess (Drury University) and Soraj Soraj Hongladarom (Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok)."
Paper 2: The Ethics of Digital Inclusion. Reflections on FLOSS and Diversity pdf 244K
"This was for an international conference held here at the University of Oslo on "Open Source and Digital Inclusion" (October 2005). For my paper / presentation I decided to look at the motivations of people/ organisations for using or not using free/libre open source software (FLOSS)"