Session 5.3 : Interactive presentation

Date Added:

23 October 2019

Chair Vilde Ronge

Words by design: challenging  archival description

This interactive discussion session will highlight issues around designing archival description to be inclusive, challenge dominant narratives and deal with historical language now considered offensive. It will ask how archivists can create meaningful and useful descriptions of the material they hold, while not alienating and traumatising potential users of the material, and without shying away from the words (and by extension, the philosophies and practices) of the past. It will consider how archivists can work with communities to create archival description which is meaningful and useful for all parties. This discussion will be led by Kirsten Wright, Program Manager, Find & Connect web resource, University of Melbourne, and Julie Fenley, who is involved in creating an online digital archive of materials collected by Aboriginal activist Gary Foley at Victoria University's Aboriginal History Archive. It is anticipated that audience members will be active participants in the discussion and share their ideas and strategies. 



The session will be structured around the following themes:
• The effect archival description has on agency and ownership of records held in archives
• Initiatives, case studies and protocols around changing archival description and grappling with issues of historical language
• Using inclusive terms and preferred labels, especially those relating to minority groups documented in records and archives
• Use of archival description to challenge accepted narratives 
• Changes today: what do these issues mean for new materials received by archives today at the point of accession which must now be described and listed; and for archival description more broadly?

The session will critically engage with some of the archival profession’s key tenets. It will identify areas where more transparent archival description is required, and discuss what this might look like. It will also consider how archival description can be more inclusive, useful and community-driven from the outset. The session will be a space where participants can share their thoughts, ideas and case studies about how they are addressing, or wish to address, these issues at the organisations they work. It will provide support and ideas for people who have identified these issues be addressed, but who have not been able to gain organisational support to implement any changes. It is hoped that participants will learn from each other and create networks and contacts to keep the conversation going once the session is over.

Dr Julie Fenley

Julie Fenley is a research archivist at Victoria University’s Aboriginal History Archive and has a doctorate in Aboriginal history. With more than ten years working in the university sector and as a heritage and museum consultant, Julie is dedicated to social history and the recognition of minority rights.

Kirsten Wright

Kirsten Wright is the Program Manager, Find & Connect web resource, eScholarship Research Centre, University of Melbourne. Prior to this she held a number of roles at Victoria University, including University Archivist, Manager, Records & Archives Services and Freedom of Information Coordinator; and also worked at the Public Record Office Victoria. Kirsten holds a BA in history and politics and a Master of Information Management and Systems, both from Monash University. She is interested in non-traditional forms of records and archives and has previously published and presented on topics including tattoos and the archive, ghost signs, archives and power, and historical language and archival description.

Designing our future: Establishing the National  Framework for the Archival Profession in Japan

This presentation introduces efforts of forming a systematic structure to foster archivists developed by the National Archives of Japan. The newly established “Standard of Tasks and Competencies for Archivists” was jointly developed by NAJ and the related experts in Japan, and agreed on 22 elements categorised into 4 fields of job functions and 36 kinds of competencies. Based on the Standard, we will create a roadmap to launch the new certification system for archivists.

Masakazu Nakada

Mr. Masakazu Nakada serves as Senior Vice President of the National Archives of Japan. Mr Nakada began his public career in the Management and Coordination Agency (currently the Cabinet Office) in 1987, and has served in a variety of positions including Counsellor, Cabinet Secretariat for Cabinet Public Relations Office; Director (in charge of International Affairs) for Policies on Cohesive Society at Cabinet Office; Counsellor, Minister's Secretariat for the Records and Archives Management Division, and Director of the General Affairs Division at the Decoration Bureau. He joined the National Archives as Vice President in 2018. He holds a bachelor's degree in law from the University of Tokyo.