Digital Directions 2016

The Digital Directions 2016 symposium on 10 November 2016 brought together scholars, policy-makers, GLAM sector professionals and creative entrepreneurs to explore the big-picture issues relating to digital cultural collections.

Speakers addressed questions such as:

  • how to successfully build a policy case for increased public access to digital cultural materials
  • business models to facilitate large-scale digitisation of diverse national collections
  • discoverability and (re)useability of cultural heritage materials and
  • how we measure the impact of increased access to cultural expressions and materials.

Delivered in partnership with the National Archives of Australia.



Session one, 9.00-11:30

Michael Loebenstein, NFSA CEO
Professor Julianne Schultz AM FAHA, Griffith University Centre for Creative Arts Research and Chair, Australian Film, Television and Radio School

Business models for digitisation
David Fricker, Director-General, National Archives of Australia
Jan Müller, CEO, Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision; Chairman, Europeana Foundation (Keynote)
Robin Phua, Director, Digital Experience and CIO, State Library of New South Wales
Nerida O’Loughlin, Deputy Secretary, Department of Communications and the Arts


Session two, 11.30-1:00

Access and innovation
Chair: Frank Howarth, Museums Australia
Tea Uglow, Creative Director, Google Creative Lab
Tim Sherratt, Associate Professor, Digital Heritage, University of Canberra
Jessica Coates, Executive Officer, Australian Digital Alliance

Lunch, 1:00-2:00


Session three, 2:00-3.30

Measuring what? Quantifying value
Chair: Michael Loebenstein, CEO, NFSA
Justin O’Connor, Professor, Communications and Cultural Economy, Monash University
Paula Le Dieu, Digital Director, Kathryn Matthews, Partner, Deloitte Access Economics

Plenary: towards a more connected national digital cultural estate, 4:00–4:45

Discussion with all speakers
Chair: Anne-Marie Schwirtlich, Director-General, National Library of Australia



Prof. Julianne Schultz AM FAHA

'We are living through a time of epochal change. Innovation is the new national buzzword. When it is defined it is generally as apseudonym for technology. As head of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Dr Martin Parkinson said recently, "We tend to think of innovation as being done by start-ups or people in white coats, but it's much more than that. By and large our greatest gains have come from building a culture that adapts and diffuses the ideas of others.'


The dramatic transformation of society that is taking shape in the Era of FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google), is grounded in technological tools, but is dependent on culture. The companies leading this transformation rarely sell technology, they make their money from making meaning – the stuff of culture, humanities and the arts - into a product.

The humanities and creative arts have been sidelined in this process at institutional and national levels, but are essential. There is a need to reassert the unique contribution of the cultural sector to making innovation real and meaningful, to find new language to describe it. We also need to learn new ways of stepping forward.

Every other period of such change has been enduringly defined by the arts and humanities - that is what really lasts after the equipment passes its use by date, and the economic systems change. At this moment there is an urgent need to step in and help define the era. There is a need to reconsider how this might be done, the consequences of failure and the potential rewards of success.'

Professor Julianne Schultz AM FAHA is the founding editor of Griffith Review, a member of the Griffith Centre for Creative Arts Research and chairs the Australian Film, Television and Radio School. She sits on the editorial board of The Conversation and is a member of the Australia Council for the Arts’ Pool of Peers.

She is an acclaimed author of several books, including Reviving the Fourth Estate (Cambridge) and Steel City Blues (Penguin), and the librettos to the operas Black River and Going Into Shadows. She became a Member of the Order of Australia for services to journalism and the community in 2009 and an honorary fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities the following year.

She is a thought leader on media and culture and an accomplished public speaker and facilitator. She has served on the board of directors of the ABC and Grattan Institute, and chaired and been a member of many advisory boards with a particular focus on education, journalism and creativity, including the Centre for Advancing Journalism, A Companion to the Australian Media, the National Cultural Policy reference group and the Queensland Design Council.


Jan Müller

'Only organisations that are able to continually reinvent themselves can retain their relevance in this technology-dominated and networked area. What they have in common is the ability to involve users in the development of their products and services to fully integrate both offline and online channels. Being the national media archive, the national media museum and knowledge institution in one, the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision has focused on reaching users in both the physical and virtual worlds. The key challenge here is to optimally help the users to realise their goals within this media mix.'

Jan Müller is the CEO at the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision (Nederlands Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid), the national audiovisual archive and media museum of the Netherlands. He started there in 2009, after 20 years of working in the advertising industry. He previously worked in senior positions at a number of network ad agencies and was a partner at JWT Amsterdam and member of the board at TBWA Amsterdam. The last six years before he moved to Sound and Vision, he was the CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi in the Netherlands and member of the board of Saatchi & Saatchi Europe.

He is president of FIAT/IFTA (International Federation of Television Archives) and Presto Centre (a competence centre for the digital domain), chairman of the Dutch Media Literacy program and member of the board of the Dutch Press Museum. He is also chairman of the Dutch National Coalition for Digital Preservation and Sustainability and member of the Council of the Polish National Audio visual Institute, NInA. He has published several articles in the trade press about advertising, creativity and media.

Tea Uglow


As 'digital' becomes as everyday as 'electrical'. Uglow's talk looks at the prospects for interaction beyond mobile phones - both through her practice with Google's Creative Lab and in terms of visible trends in the tech industry.

TL Uglow is a contemporary writer and speaker on innovation and digital futures.

Tea leads part of Google’s Creative Lab specialising in work with cultural organisations, artists, writers, and producers on experiments using digital technology at the boundaries of traditional cultural practice - across theatre, literature, history, cinema, music, science and the circus.

Justin O’Connor

'I want to talk about questions of value in the twin context of the radical reduction in distribution costs for digital products and services, and the equally radical hollowing out of any viable sense of the value of art and culture in public policy discourse. These two are linked but the first does not cause the second (as in pervasive notions of 'disruption') but point to a radical reframing of cultural value outside that of the economic-instrumental. It would be a new role in which public institutions of digital culture would be absolutely central.'

Justin O’Connor was Director of the Manchester Institute for Popular Culture 1996-2006. He helped establish Manchester’s Creative Industries Development Service and the national policy and research network, Forum on Creative Industries (FOCI). He has advised cities and governments in the UK, Italy, Finland, Sweden, Mauritius, Samoa, Russia, Korea and China, though whether they have taken his advice is a moot point.

Currently he is Professor of Communications and Cultural Economy in the School of Media, Film and Journalism, Monash University where he heads a new research unit Culture Media Economy, and the Master of Cultural Economy program. He is also visiting chair at Shanghai Jiaotong University, where he runs a Shanghai City Lab every year. He has just co-edited The Routledge Companion to the Cultural Industries and co-authored Cultural Economy in the New Shanghai (Routledge), out next year. Next year will also see another co-authored book Global Cultural Economy (Routledge). He is a UNESCO expert for the 2005 Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and convenes the Global Cultural Economy Network.

Michael Loebenstein

Michael Loebenstein was appointed CEO of the NFSA in 2011. He arrived from Vienna (Austria) where he held the positions of
Curator for Special Programmes at the Austrian Film Museum and Project Manager and Researcher at the Ludwig BoltzmannSociety’s historical research cluster.

Former positions include advisor to the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture, and freelance film and exhibition curator and journalist, with a focus on documentary film history, Visual History and Holocaust Studies.

Michael has published on documentary filmmakers Dziga Vertov, Alexander Hammid, James Benning and others. Michael is a member of the Advisory Board of the Centre for Media History at Macquarie University (Sydney) and the Wantok Music Foundation (Melbourne). He's also a director on The Arts Centre Gold Coast Board (TACGC). He is currently serving his second term as Secretary General of FIAF – The International Federation of Film Archives.

Frank Howarth


Frank Howarth has a Geology Degree from Macquarie University, anda Master of Science and Society from the University of NSW. He is passionate about arts, culture, science and the natural world. In 1996 he became Director and Chief Executive of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, before taking up the role of Director of the Australian Museum in 2004. After 10 years in the role he stepped down as Director in April 2014.

He was Chair of ICOM Australia from 2010 to 2013, and was a director of Museums and Galleries NSW from 2005 to 2013. He was also a member of the Council of Australasian Museum Directors from 2004 to 2014. He became President of Museums Australia in 2013. He is co-chair of the national peak body alliance of galleries, libraries, archives, and museums, GLAM Peak, established in 2015.

David Fricker

David Fricker joined the National Archives as Director-General on 1 January 2012. As Director- General of the National Archives of Australia, David’s strategic focus has been on the whole-of-government transition to ‘digital continuity’ in records and information management; expansion of preservation capability for paper, audio-visual and digital records; acceleration of the declassification of sensitive archival documents; and the exploitation of emerging technology to enhance the public’s access to archival resources.

David has been an active member of International Council on Archives (ICA) since 2012, hosting the ICA Congress in Brisbane. In 2013 he was elected President Forum of National Archivists (FAN), and was appointed President of the ICA in October 2014. In 2015 he was appointed by the Director-General UNESCO to the position of Vice-President of the UNESCO Memory of the World International Advisory Committee.

He is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Professional Member of the Australian Society of Archivists. In 2015 he was made Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters (Chevalier dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres) by the Republic of France.

Tim Sherratt

Tim Sherratt is a historian and hacker who researches the possibilities and politics of digital cultural collections. Tim has worked across the cultural heritage sector and has been developing online resources relating to libraries, archives, museums and history since 1993.

His creations include useful things like QueryPic, strange things like the Vintage Face Depot, and important things like The Real Face of White Australia. He's currently Associate Professor of Digital Heritage at the University of Canberra.

You can find him at or as @wragge on Twitter.

Jessica Coates

Jessica Coates is a copyright and communications policy expert with 15 years of experience working in Australia and overseas. She previously worked as the Global Network Manager of Creative Commons. In this role she worked out of its San Francisco HQ to support the activities of its international community and represent CC in discussions globally.

Prior to joining CC, Jessica spent time as the Project Manager of Creative Commons Australia and the Creative Commons Clinic, a research program at the Queensland University of Technology. She has also had stints working as a copyright and broadcasting policy adviser for the Australian government and Australia’s commercial television broadcasters, as well as an academic, lecturer and educator. She has a Master of Laws from the University of Melbourne and both a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts (English Hons) from the Australian National University.

Robin Phua

Robin joined the Library in January 2013 to implement the Digital Excellence Program that is providing unprecedented digital access to the collections through digitisation as well as a major ICT infrastructure and systems renewal for staff and clients. He is now Director, Digital Experience and CIO and is responsible for a diverse digital and ICT transformation portfolio including digital strategy, innovation, infrastructure, corporate and library systems, digital channels and heritage collection digitisation.

Prior to the Library, Robin has delivered major online, broadband and mobile projects, and developed award-winning digital economy sector growth programs, both in Singapore and Australia, fostering collaboration between government, start-up, multinationals, and academia.

Kathryn Matthews


Kathryn works with both government and private sector clients with a focus on economic analysis and public policy reform across a range of industries and issues.

Kathryn has extensive experience gained from working across the private sector, academia and government including the Reserve Bank of Australia, Ernst & Young, Jones Lang LaSalle and the NSW Government.

Anne-Marie Schwirtlich

On 9 February 2011, Ms Anne-Marie Schwirtlich AM was appointed, for a period of five years, as Director- General of the National Library of Australia. In December 2015 she was reappointed until March 2017.

Between February 2003 and February 2011 she was Chief Executive Officer and State Librarian at the State Library of Victoria. In 2006 she was seconded for six months to act as the Director of Arts Victoria – the Victorian department of the arts.


From 2000 to 2003, Anne-Marie was the Acting Director- General of the National Archives of Australia having previously held senior positions at that institution, the National Library and the Australian War Memorial. She has also taught at the University of Canberra and at the University of NSW where she completed her post-graduate work in archives management.

Anne-Marie was appointed to the Board of the Australia-China Council on 4 May 2016 for a term of three years.

She has been active in professional associations in Australia and internationally and has published widely.