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Bringing it Back: The Reclamation of Inuit Digital Collections, Archives and Knowledge - Brendan Griebel & Sean Guistini

9:00 AM, Thursday 3 Oct 2019 (6 hours 15 minutes)
DoubleTree par Hilton Montréal - Soprano A (on Level 4)
Across the Inuit Nunangat, there is a growing movement towards the reclamation of Inuit cultural collections. It is widely understood that the Inuit objects, photos, stories, names and songs housed in remote institutions retain important connections and meaning for their source communities. As products and purveyors of Inuit knowledge, these collections critically enhance ongoing Inuit initiatives to research Arctic history and art, revive language and culture, and pass important traditions on to future generations. The recent trend towards digital return shows promise for increasing Inuit access to cultural materials and knowledge, without the logistical challenges of storage, staffing and preservation that have long-hindered physical repatriation. This session will bring Inuit scholars and heritage workers together with representatives from museum, archives, and research communities, with a common focus on developing digital platforms to document, database and mobilize Inuit collections. This session is designed to bridge an existing communications gap between digital initiatives across the North by increasing awareness of new and ongoing projects, giving voice to common experiences and challenges, and building new partnerships for moving forward. It will also explore the potential for more culturally-informed approaches to digital content management, addressing themes of ownership (How are Inuit driving new frameworks for database design, digital licensing, and the fundamental relationships that underlie digital and physical collections?); collection priorities (What forms of digitized content are Inuit seeking to reclaim, and how is their return being negotiated alongside institutional priorities?); and real world applications for digitized collections (How is the digitization increasing organizational and community-level access and use of Inuit knowledge? ). We look forward to presentations relating to digital projects at all phases of development— from the conceptual to the completed.

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