Australian Consortium of Humanities Research Centres (ACHRC)

Things are moving on the Digital Humanities front. This just came across my desk.

Begin forwarded message:
From: Stuart Cunningham
Date: 11 August 2011 2:42:39 PM AEST
To: Undisclosed recipients:;
Subject: INVITATION: Australian Consortium of Humanities Research Centres (ACHRC) membership

Dear CCI members

The Australian Consortium of Humanities Research Centres (ACHRC) is inviting membership from university-based Humanities research centres, collecting institutions (such as art galleries, libraries, and museums) and cultural organisations (such as creative industries and festivals of the arts). The ACHRC aims to foster connections between a wide range of members, and to encourage research support, community-based initiatives, internal and external fellowship programs, and the development and maintenance of research collections.

I encourage you to consider membership. For further information on ACHRC membership, please visit

Kind regards
Stuart Cunningham

Distinguished Professor Stuart Cunningham
Director ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation
Queensland University of Technology | Z1 – 515 Musk Avenue | Kelvin Grove QLD 4059
T: +617 3138 3743 | F: +617 3138 3723 | M: 0407 195 304 | Skype: SC260453
View my Profile:
View my publications:,_Stuart.html

CRICOS No: 00213J


When my worlds collide

I love it when my worlds collide.

Three days a week, I work for the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability. Here in the Australian office at RMIT, we work on issues related to Australian security (broadly understood). In particular, we keep track of what Australia’s forces are doing overseas, in the belief that an informed public can have a better debate.

This involves keeping track of what Australian forces are doing in East Timor. On the weekend, my boss sent me a link to an item in the Timor Archives blog, National Archives digitised records: A better view.

It is a lovely little note about Tim Sherratt’s RecordSearch Image Tool userscript for Firefox.

Good to see that little tool making life useful for people. And great to see my disparate worlds collide.

Thoughts after 2009

Helen's yellow stickies with the issues she cares about.  Text reads "EAC", "Australian Women's Register" and "Information Infrastructure Interoperability - silos vs. networks - services and widgets"

Things I care about at ANZDEG (by Helen Morgan)

Thanks to everyone who attended ANZDEG 2009.  I had a great time and I hope everyone else did, too. Photos are available on Flickr (thanks, Helen) and tweets on Twitter (for as long as they last).

I loved that we could look at the Dictionary of Sydney online and I loved that the Australian Women’s Register is cross-linking to the People Australia entries in Trove.

I tried a couple of organizational experiments this year.  Some worked, others didn’t.  Here are my notes on what I thought did and didn’t work, in case they might be useful in the future.

Going it alone

I don’t actually have a big enough network to organize ANZDEG.  There are two parts to the organization: making it happen on the day and making it happen beforehand. Making it happen on the day is relatively straightforward, once you have a venue.  One person can do it and if you have more then you can do more. But making it happen beforehand is about talking to people, networking with them, and working out who wants to come and what they want to do when they get there.  I realized after the event that I don’t really have the network for that. Lesson learned.

No program

I took a leaf out of the Unconference book and didn’t have a program. That made the organisation much easier but it turned out to be a mistake.  If you are coming from New Zealand or Sydney any your boss is funding the trip, you really want to be able to show them a program of speakers.  Being able to say, “Oh, there will be some good dictionary and encyclopedia people there” just doesn’t cut it. Even though it is a pain to organise people beforehand, I think that it is an important courtesy to people who are coming from overseas or interstate.  I suspect that most people are probably thinking, “Well, duh…” about now, but I can be a slow learner.

Organising who said what on the day worked OK and I would do that again, but just not for the whole program.  People wrote their issues and presentations on yellow stickies and stuck them on the wall.  Then we all ticked the ones that we wanted to hear / see / discuss. It made things a bit more fluid, and allowed new topics to bubble up on the second day.  I’d do it again like that, but maybe just for a session or two.

Technology vs. content

There is always a tension between talking about the content and talking about the technology. I had at least two people who were not keen to come because they thought that there would be too much technology. So, on the first day, I said that we needed to be mindful of not straying too far in either direction.  When the acronyms started to get to thick, I issued a ‘tech’ warning. It seemed to work.

No money worries

One of the best things that I did was make the event free.  I don’t think that it made much difference to the participants, but it made the organization much much easier. I didn’t have to deal with RMIT finance department, I didn’t have to issue reciepts or refunds and I didn’t have to try to reconcile anything at the end. Much easier.

Of course, this only works if you have access to a free venue and have somewhere handy where people can get good coffee in the morning, lunch at lunchtime and a drink at the end of the day.

Welcome, Dictionary of Sydney

I’ve just been wandering through the Dictionary of Sydney, having a wonderful time.  I particularly liked Shirley Fitzgerald’s take on the Garden Palace.  I recommend you start there and wander to your heart’s content.

Policies for on-line cultural collections (part-time job, Melbourne)

The people that I work with at RMIT Business have a part time position going at the moment. I’m hoping that you, or someone in your network, might be interested in taking it up. It would be good for someone who with research skills who cares about knowledge and knows a bit about the Web.

It is a part time position for 4 days per week from 1 February – 31 October 2010. It pays $31.98 per hour.

The project is looking at the policies behind digitizing objects and putting them on line. Up until now, a lot of museums have worked with material that was out of copyright, the creator was dead and gone, and there are no ongoing relationships to worry about. In that situation, the policies are pretty clear.

When you are a museum or gallery that wants to do the right thing, preserve and develop your relationships with the creator community and build something that will last, it gets tricker. Objects from the recent past are part of a living culture. They deserve respect. That means that you need to get the policy right first.

So we are looking for someone who can:
+ work with the Pacific communities in Melbourne.
+ build a clear picture of their approaches to traditional knowledge and intellectual property.
+ work with us to codify that picture.

We need someone with:
+ an understanding of ethnographic research.
+ the ability to listen really, really well.
+ at least a Bachelor with Honours degree, at least.
+ the ability to communicate and write well.
+ Australian citizenship or permanent resident status.

The range of disciplines that might be relevant is quite wide. Anthropology or Sociology would be ideal, but I can also see space for Pacific Studies, Media Studies, Museum Studies, Art History, Art Conservation, Curatorship, Creative Media, Multimedia Studies, Animation or Interactive Design, depending on your background and experience.

If you have done previous inter-disciplinary team research, that would be great. If you have publications in related fields, that would be great, too.

You would be working with a good group. Our recent projects have looked at a range of things: online banking and remittances, off-shore privacy agreements, why people buy stuff online (or don’t), new intermediaries, Web accessibility in Australia, and mortgage fraud. A bunch of stuff, united by two themes: where is the user and what is the law? Answering these questions often helps us understand what is actually going on in an online situation.

If you are interested, please send an letter expressing your interest and a CV to Professor Supriya Singh by 16th November 2009. Please e-mail:

Here is the official information:
Expression of Interest: Digital Cultural Collections: Copyright and Traditional Knowledge

The Smart Services Cooperative Research Centre at RMIT University is seeking Expressions of Interest for a Researcher to work four days (28.8hours) a week. This research project involves developing medium and long-term relationships with the Pacific communities in Melbourne to understand their approaches to traditional knowledge and intellectual property as cultural collections go digital. Ethnographic research methods will include participation observation. Interested persons should at least have a Bachelor with Honours in Anthropology, Sociology, Pacific Studies or Media Studies. We would highly value previous inter-disciplinary team research and publications in related fields. The researcher would be able to write well and undertake literature reviews and other research related activities.

The project will run from 1st February 2010 to 31st October 2010. This research role is a casual position at $31.98 per hour. The researcher will be located at the School of Accounting and Law.

Expressions of interest and CVs should be sent to Professor Supriya Singh by 16th November 2009. Please e-mail: