Keynote Lectures

The workshop featured four keynote lectures:

Kate Hennessy took up the theme of tools and technologies for critical museology through the lens of two collaborative projects she has co-designed and developed: ʔeləw̓k̓ʷ – Belongings: A Tangible Table in c̓əsnaʔəm, the city before the city at the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia (2015), and Sq’éwlets: A Stó:lo-Coast Salish community in the Fraser River Valley, a Virtual Museum of Canada exhibition, forthcoming in 2017. She talked about how these projects have used the term ‘belongings’ to reframe the way cultural ’objects’ are represented, and how these belongings are being used to communicate the continuity of culture.

Aaron Glass presented on three projects he has been involved in over the past decade, all of which employ digital media in various aspects of museum practice–in the gallery, behind the scenes, and on the internet. His particular interest is in exploring ways to utilize digital media, from the database to the website interface, in order to convey the complexities of Indigenous knowledge and kinship systems and to disrupt the reliance on Western taxonomies when it comes to organizing museum collections, content management systems, and exhibitions.

Miranda Brady pointed out some of the limitations and opportunities of digital media use in Indigenous exhibition in national museums. She highlighted examples of key differences between centralized collections and Indigenous archival initiatives. She asked how museum practitioners and academics can better serve Indigenous communities through digital media.

Jason Lewis described the Initiative for Indigenous Futures research project, and focused on generating conversations and artifacts that address how Native people are imagining our future communities seven generations from now. He spoke to the value in inverting the usual way of thinking about [past] — tradition — [present] — science fiction — [future], to think of it as [past] — science fiction of our ancestors — [present] —  tradition makers of our descendants — [future]. Finally, he described how hardware and software should be seen as and “orderly assemblages of biases” that reflect and reify the prejudices of their makers.

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