Archives are those records [documents and objects] selected for permanent preservation…by their very nature [they] have value and currency far beyond the lifetime of their custodians, creators and donors.
Annie-Marie Schwirtlich and Gunnel Bellviken, in Pederson, A. Ed., Keeping Archives Australian Society of Archives Inc.,1987
After a person finished, that family takes their things, or we sign a paper (will) to family or keeping place…. the traditional owners go to the museum to take things back home.
Amy Friday, ANKAAA Regional General Meeting, Waralungku Arts, Borroloola, NT, 2010
This short Digital Archiving and Keeping Place Support Handbook is an Association of Northern Kimberley and Arnhem Aboriginal Artists (ANKAAA) initiative to address some of the issues that surround conserving, preserving and archiving cultural materials in Indigenous community settings in the 21st century.
It is a practical introductory guide to assist Art Centres to make a start in organising their community collections. The project is part of ANKAAA’s Digital Archiving and Keeping Place Support Program. This new initiative has received important seed funding through the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board of the Australia Council for the Arts extending from 2010 to 2015, and will offer a range of different sources of much needed information and support to communities in caring for and sharing their cultural records and stories.
This booklet was developed following discussion about the role of digital archiving and keeping places which occurred with Aboriginal artists and Art Centre staff from a range of Top End communities at ANKAAA’s 2010 regional general meetings.
These discussions revealed a growing awareness of the urgent need to conserve, preserve and archive objects, historical records and information. Whilst community members enthusiastically expressed many different ideas about the role of digital archiving and keeping places within their communities, there was a strong common thread that archiving, whether it be of digital material or of cultural objects and artworks, is a necessary and much needed method of ensuring the longevity of Indigenous cultural material for current and future generations.
ANKAAA thanks Tracey Grigg who compiled the information for this handbook and extends sincere thanks and appreciation to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board of the Australia Council for their support of this project and for their outstanding leadership in advocating for greater recognition and respect for the essential role of Indigenous community elders in keeping culture strong.
This publication is part of 2012 celebrations proudly marking ANKAAA’s 25 years of strong Indigenous arts
leadership and support for Aboriginal artists and community Art Centres.