Indigenous Digital Knowledge

  • Peter Read (Panel Convenor, Australian National University / University of Western Sydney)
  • Susan Beetson (Queensland University of Technology)
  • Peter Radoll (University of Newcastle)
  • Julia Torpey (Australian National University).
  • Participating Chair: Hart Cohen (University of Western Sydney)


Peter Read (Convenor)

Peter is an Adjunct Professor in the Australian Centre for Aboriginal History, ANU.  He has recently completed, with a team of Indigenous and non-indigenous Australians, the five year project History of Aboriginal Sydney. Like most other such web-sites, it’s designed to be encyclopaedic, providing a little information on every subject that the researcher might need. The most common on-line queries seek help in confirming identity or tracing ancestors. Read is also a social historian who has spent his career working in oral history, especially focussing on the individual-in-place. In this talk he asks – what might the website have looked like if he had designed the content to follow his own deep instincts rather than the encyclopaedic model?  Would that have improved the website?  What would be lost? In what ways would it be different?

Susan Beetson

One laptop per child sounds like a great idea, but ensuring the diffusion model is culturally sensitive is vital. Susan explores her research and the importance of considering context when rolling out technology solutions.

Peter Radoll

In this ever-changing technological world, Indigenous peoples are increasingly at risk of being left behind. Professor Radoll shares his insights on how Indigenous knowledges are becoming increasingly important in the digital domain to address the Digital Divide that separates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from the rest of Australia.

Julia Torpey

Julia is a PhD scholar and member of the Australian Research Council Linkage Project Deepening Histories of Place: Exploring Indigenous Landscapes of National and International Significance. Working with Aboriginal Elders, Aboriginal artists and community members who call Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains home, she has created an enhanced ebook called ‘At the Heart of It: Place Stories Across Darug and Gundungurra Lands’. The films in the ebook are illustrative of the diversity of storytelling, history, identity and connection to landscape that she has encountered with individual Indigenous people while being on Country. Long after the camera is shut off and the final file has been uploaded to create this work, the stories told will continue to be told and will continue to evolve. Following the often quoted idea ‘the story owns us’, Julia seeks to question the transactional value of the story itself, the process of digitisation and what happens next?

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