‘Future pasts: from the future of heritage to the future as heritage’ (presented at the Alliance for Praxis Research ‘Spring Encounters’ seminar series, 3 November 2021)
In this talk, I suggested that there is not only value looking at the future of heritage, but also on how the future itself is imagined, represented, and acted upon in heritage practice: from the ‘future of heritage’ to the ‘future as heritage’. I included historical (Percy Grainger Museum, War Memorial) and contemporary (COVID-19 collecting at libraries) examples that show how heritage sites, collections, and processes reflect long-held fears, hopes, and dreams about what the future could and should be. In this way, heritage practitioners don’t just act on the past: again and again, they seek to act upon the future, inscribing how we come to reflect on the present.
‘The politics of preservation: cultural collections in dangerous times’ (curated event for the Australasia Preserves Community of Practice, 2 November 2021)
I curated an event with the Australasia Preserves Community of Practice to celebrate the week of World Digital Preservation Day. The event focused on the politics of documenting, preserving, and providing ongoing access to traces of others’ lives. I presented alongside Narungga woman and activist-poet Dr Natalie Harkin and information studies researcher and educator Dr Leisa Gibbons. A recording of the full session is available on YouTube.
‘The politics of preservation: cultural collections in dangerous times’ (presented at the Centre for Urban Research seminar series, RMIT University, 19 October 2021)
As part of the Centre for Urban Research’s seminar series, I presented on the changing face of cultural heritage and the political and ethical implications of using automation in library practice. I discussed how these methods of producing national and state library collections are changing how we come to know ‘the social’, and the benefits for social scientists of being aware of the changing logics of contemporary library collections. A recording of my presentation is available on YouTube.
‘The politics of preservation: web archiving in dangerous times’ (presented at the Australian Society of Archivists ‘Archives Amplified’ conference, 15-16 September 2021)
This presentation focused on the impact of automated systems on how web archives are curated. I detailed how automated systems impact what is selected for the archive, how it is made available, and the kind of uses to which it is put. I drew on my fieldwork at the National Library of Australia to outline how web archivists navigate the ethical tensions and political implications of web archiving in their day-to-day work, and how staff intervene in processes of automated decision-making. In this talk, I show how web archiving is not simply a technical process, but rather a deeply social process that involves educating users, negotiating competing demands, and navigating (and intervening in) the unruly politics of the web.
‘Reading as a material practice’ (presented at the AusSTS 2021 ‘Situated practice’ workshop, Naarm/Melbourne, 24 June 2021)
I presented a paper at June’s AusSTS workshop. Due to COVID restrictions, it was actually the first opportunity to engage face-to-face with other HDRs and ECRs during my PhD! My paper reflected on the material structures that shape what we read (and how we read), drawing on my experience as a library worker over the past decade. I also reflect on tools like Google Scholar, and the algorithmic logic that now guides scholarly knowledge production. It was a fun couple of days! A transcript of my 5-minute paper is available online.