Training Australia’s remote archivists

BY MICK NEWNHAM

NFSA experts understand the importance of sharing their knowledge and experience with their peers. Conservation Manager Mick Newnham recently spent five days training remote Indigenous archivists.

IRCA workshop, Darwin
IRCA workshop, Darwin

Many Indigenous communities across the deserts and top end of Australia have their own audiovisual archives. In 2014 the NFSA assisted the Indigenous Remote Media Association (IRCA) to develop a submission for funding from UNESCO to deliver a series of training programs to some of these remote media associations.

The submission was successful and workshops were designed to support the implementation of a national plan for sustainability, engagement and growth for Indigenous audiovisual archives.

The plan was developed by a central group drawn from the NFSA, AIATSIS, IRCA, Strehlow Research Centre and Ara Irititja.

Teabba Media Services, Darwin
Teabba Media Services, Darwin

Underpinning the plan were four working groups: preservation, training, digital formats and metadata. Each group was charged with developing recommendations that could be addressed in a feasible way given the typical resources available to each archive.

The workshops began in mid-April in Darwin, and moved to Alice Springs the following week. The last workshop was held in Broome in early July. Twenty seven representatives from 16 communities and organisations travelled to the nearest workshop location to attend five days of training.

IRCA workshop, Darwin
IRCA workshop, Darwin

While there was a curriculum to be covered during the course, each workshop was organically fine-tuned by the particular needs of the participants.

The workshops focused on providing the skills and supporting knowledge required to prepare materials for digitisation, digitise and manage the content, and develop a preservation strategy for the collection.

The week was very intensive with not only the quantity of information being delivered but also allowing sufficient time to give participants some hands-on experience.

Despite the workload the feedback from participants at each of the workshops has been very positive.

The NFSA has partnered with IRCA, to offer two remote media and archive workers the opportunity to travel to the NFSA in Canberra to receive professional training.

Read more about this Indigenous Remote Archival Fellowship program; applications open on 17 August 2015.