Digital Directions 2017

Digital Directions 2017

The third annual Digital Directions symposium brings together thought leaders, policy makers and key players in the GLAM (gallery, library, archive, museum) sector to work through the big picture issues surrounding the digitisation of cultural collections.

This year we turn our focus to the users of digital collections. Canvassing key representatives of users, we ask how collecting institutions can better facilitate access to the educators, researchers and creators served by the GLAM sector. We also showcase the institutional innovators in user-centric research and design.

Delivered in partnership with the National Archives of Australia and the National Library of Australia.


Live stream recording


When: Thursday 19 October 2017, 9.00 am to 5.00 pm

Where: National Film and Sound Archive, McCoy Circuit, Acton

Cost: Early bird $275 (finishes 15 September), Full price $320, Concession $195

Tickets include lunch and refreshments throughout the day, as well as entry to the Digital Directions networking drinks held at NFSA Acton immediately after the symposium.

Book online



8.00 Registration

Session one, 9.00-10.00

Welcome, Keynote address

Welcome to country: Jude Barlow, Ngunnawal Elder

Keynote address: Jan Müller, CEO, NFSA


Session two, 10.00-12.00

Engaging with digital collections  - what do users want?

Chair: Vicki Sowry, Director, Australian Network for Art and Technology

Shaun Angeles, Strehlow Research Centre

Fiona Fieldsend, Acting Manager, DigitalNZ

Gavin Tapp, Govhack Global Operations

Jo-anne McGowan, Stranger than Fiction Films


Lunch, 12.00-1.00


Session three, 1.00-3.00

Institutional perspectives - a user-centric future

Chair: Jan Müller, CEO, NFSA

Professor Ross Harley, Dean, UNSW Art and Design

James Kavanagh, National Technology Officer, Microsoft

Katrina Sedgwick, CEO, ACMI

Marie-Louise Ayres, Director-General, National Library of Australia


Plenary, 3.30-4.45

Discussion with all speakers

Plenary chair

David Fricker, Director-General, National Archives of Australia



Networking drinks


Jan Müller – keynote speaker

Jan Müller is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Film and Sound Archive.

Mr Müller is a highly experienced CEO and leader in the digital heritage and culture sector internationally. Since 2009, he has been the CEO of the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, which comprises one of the largest audiovisual collections in Europe and Chair of the Europeana Foundation since 2015. The Europeana Foundation is an online collection of over 50 million digitised items from museums, libraries, archives and collections.

Prior to turning to the cultural sector, Mr Müller had over 20 years working in the advertising industry including as CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi Amsterdam and as a member of the board of the agency in Europe. He was President of the International Federation of Television Archives from 2012-2016 and is the Chair of the Dutch Media Literacy program and the Dutch National Coalition for Digital Preservation and Sustainability.


In our fast-moving and increasingly digital world, the concerted effort to preserve and share our information and knowledge is more important than ever. Access and use should be a collective focus; designing an outstanding user experience is key.

​Jan Müller, NFSA CEO

David Fricker – Plenary speaker


David Fricker joined the National Archives of Australia as Director-General on 1 January 2012. As Director-General, 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, audiovisual 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.

Shaun Angeles


Shaun Angeles Penangke is an Arrernte man from Ayampe, 70 kilometres north of Mparntwe (Alice Springs). He is also a Kungarakany and Gurindji man through his father’s ancestry.

Shaun works at the Strehlow Research Centre, Mparntwe, as the Artwe-kenhe (Men’s) Collections Researcher as part of the Indigenous Repatriation Program.


He is passionate about the maintenance, preservation, and revitalisation of Arrernte culture and is heavily engaged in work with senior Arrernte elders in Central Australia to transmit important knowledge to their younger generations. Shaun is an advocate for the elevation of Arrernte knowledge systems to sit in equality and importance with Western knowledge and practice.  

Marie-Louise Ayres


Dr Marie-Louise Ayres, Director General of the National Library of Australia, has worked in research libraries for more than 20 years, and in senior management roles at the National Library since 2002.

Her career has spanned development and management of very large archival collections, and development of innovative digital services which provide access to Australia’s rich documentary heritage, including AustLit and Music Australia. 


More recently, Dr Ayres has worked to increase the prominence of the National Library’s collection – and the collections of hundreds of other cultural institutions – by leading Trove, the Library’s flagship digital service. 

She has been a leader and participant in numerous National and State Libraries Australasia projects and working groups, and was a founding member of the GLAMpeak coalition. She is actively involved in discussions around national research infrastructure, the role of libraries in that infrastructure and opportunities to leverage investments across public and research infrastructure. She is a frequent presenter at national and international conferences, and has published extensively.

Dr Ayres holds a PhD in Australian Literature from the Australian National University. Reading remains a passion. 

Fiona Fieldsend

Fiona Fieldsend is the Acting Manager of the Digital New Zealand. She is responsible for the talented teams who manage National Library of New Zealand’s digital discovery services. This includes which Fiona co-founded back in 2008. DigitalNZ aims to make New Zealand’s digital content easier to find, share and use and it connects the digital collections from libraries, museums, galleries, government departments, the media, community groups and others. 


You can now explore over 30 million digital items from more than 200 content partners and, importantly, all of that collection data is available as an open API so anyone can build new discovery experiences across amazing Kiwi content. 

Professor Ross Harley

Dean of UNSW Art & Design, Professor Harley is an award-winning artist, writer and educator whose career crosses the bounds of traditional and creative arts research. His video and sound work has been presented at the Pompidou Centre in Paris, New York MoMA, Ars Electronica in Austria, the Biennale of Sydney and at the Sydney Opera House.

He is a former editor of the journal Art + Text, and has written regular columns on design and popular culture for Rolling Stone and for The Australian national newspaper.

He has edited a number of anthologies, including New Media Technologies (1993), Artists in Cyberculture (1993), Before and After Cinema (1999) and Parallel Histories in the Intermedia Age (2000). In 1992 he was the director of the influential International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA) and returned as Co-Chair of ISEA 2013.

He is also well-known for directing the audio/vision for the Cardoso Flea Circus videos and live performances with Colombian-born artist Maria Fernanda Cardoso. Collaborative work includes: Aviopolis (with Gillian Fuller), a multimedia project and book about airports, Black Dog Publications, London; Busface, a photo-media installation with the Ejecutivo Colectivo exhibited at ArtBasel, Miami; and the DVD installation Cloudscope in collaboration with Durbach | Block architects at Elizabeth Bay House, Sydney; and the Museum of Copulatory Organs with Maria Fernanda Cardoso at the 18th Biennale of Sydney.

Current research projects include the ARC-funded Reconsidering Australian Media Art Histories in an International Context and Scanlines: Video Art in Australia Since the 1960s, an ARC linkage project investigating the history of video art in Sydney, partnering with dLux Media Arts and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia; Airportals, a multichannel video of personal airflights and itineraries (with Leo Martyn animator); and Loomorama,  a collaborative installation project with Elvis Richardson based on personal archives of VHS tapes and VJ presentation tools. He is also Lead Chief Investigator on the ARC LIEF project Design and Art of Australia Online together with DAAO Research Director and long-time collaborator Gillian Fuller.

He was Head of School Media Arts UNSW (2009-13), Deputy Director at the National Institute for Experimental Arts and Co-Director of the ICinema Centre for Interactive Cinema Research until 2013. A Fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales, he was awarded a Vice-Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence in 2008, and became Dean of UNSW Art & Design in 2013. 

James Kavanagh

James is the senior technology leader for Microsoft Australia responsible for public sector market strategy, technology policy engagement with government, information assurance and long-term service and technology planning. He has a passion for digital innovation and how it can enable organisations and individuals to achieve more. As Microsoft drives to reinvent productivity, build the intelligent cloud and deliver more personal computing experiences, James leads a team focusing on innovation and trust.


The work of James’ team entails collaboration with research, engineering, sales, marketing, legal and operational units within Microsoft as well as engagement with customers, partners and digital leaders within the Australian community.

He was previously National Security Officer for Microsoft Australia responsible for security leadership, security incident response and the support of government and enterprise customers on compliance and risk assessment. He led the security and information assurance program for Microsoft’s deployment of cloud services in Australia during 2014/15 and developed the information assurance approach that is now leveraged globally by all Microsoft subsidiaries. In 2015, James became only the third person from Microsoft Australia to be recognised as a recipient of the Microsoft Founder’s Award for his contribution to transforming Microsoft’s global approach to trust and information assurance.

James joined Microsoft in 2004 and has held roles in solution architecture, sales and technology strategy. He previously spent three years within New South Wales government as a software developer and architect after transitioning from a career as a process design engineer.

James has completed a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering Degree with University College Dublin, he is a Certified Risk Assessor and Privacy Professional and is currently undertaking a Masters in Computing (Artificial Intelligence) at ANU. Along with his wife and three children, he calls Canberra home.

Jo-anne McGowan

Portrait shot of Jo-anne McGowan outside

Jo-anne McGowan has worked as an independent producer for more than 20 years, specialising in documentary across all genres, with a particular passion for the arts.  Her productions have shown in festivals from Vladivostok to Cannes and won numerous awards locally and internationally.

She is currently producing Australia in Colour for SBS – a 4 part series that colourises B&W archive footage for a new take on Australian history. Recent credits include David Stratton - A Cinematic Life , a feature documentary released theatrically and blue-chip arts series for ABC TV that charts the development of Australian Cinema through the eyes of its most well-known critic, and Mountain, a cinematic and musical collaboration with the Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO), narrated by Willem Dafoe, which premiered to great acclaim as part of Sydney Film Festival this year.

Jo-anne produced with Bridget Ikin two series of Art + Soul – a tribute to Indigenous art and culture directed by Warwick Thornton and Steve McGregor and in 2015, Between and Frock and Hard Place, a documentary that looked well beyond the history of the beloved Australian film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of The Desert to the society that spawned it.

She established Stranger Than Fiction Films in 2015 with Jennifer Peedom, Writer/Director of Sherpa.

Katrina Sedgwick

Katrina Sedgwick has been the Director and CEO of ACMI since early 2015. Previously, she was the Head of Arts for ABC TV and ABC Arts online from 2012–14 and from 2002 to 2011, as founding Director/CEO of the biennial Adelaide Film Festival, Katrina directed the AFF Investment Fund – which supported 47 Australian productions encompassing a multi-award-winning slate of features, documentaries, short films, cross-platform and installation works.


She has an extensive background as a performer, creative producer and festival director. She was a producer for the Adelaide Festival of Arts (1996, 1998 and 2000) and the artistic director of Come Out ‘99 and Adelaide Fringe 2002. She is currently on the Board of Back to Back Theatre, was a member of the Creative Industries Taskforce and a board member of Chunky Move, the Australian Children’s Television Foundation, Art Gallery of SA, and Chair of the South Australian Youth Arts Board.

Vicki Sowry


For the past 25 years Vicki has initiated and delivered programs for artists in partnership with industry and academia, giving rise to productive interdisciplinary research and innovative creative practice. She is a peer and advisor to the Australia Council for the Arts, and has contributed to industry capability and policy development through the governance roles she has held over the past two decades.


She joined the Australian Network for Art and Technology as Art/Science Program Manager in 2007 and, since 2012, has held the role of Director, providing leadership, expanding professional opportunities for artists, and championing the value of the arts in science and technology settings.

Gavin Tapp

Black and white headshot of Gavin Tapp


Gavin has been involved in the open government / open data community since 2009 when he initially got involved with open data via the first Govhack event (which was held just a few hundred metres from the NFSA theatre in Canberra).

For the last five years, he has been a member of the Govhack Global Operations team. He is excited to see increasing use of APIs to link and unlock systems and data.


He has 20 years' experience in the digital industry, and has worked across commercial, media, not-for-profit and government sectors. His recent professional work has been with the roll-out of the open source govCMS program led by the Australian Government and leading the Acquia Professional Services team for Canberra.

In addition to being a volunteer member of the Govhack Global Operations team, Gavin was a member of the core team for TEDxCanberra for four years and an 'unorganiser' of several 'unconferences' in Canberra.