• November 28, 2019

Recording of Co-designing for archival autonomy

Please follow the YouTube link to view a recording of the talk Co-designing for archival autonomy by Associate Professor Joanne Evans from Monash University


One of the outcomes from the mountain of inquiries in Australia and internationally into child welfare and protection systems is recognition of how complex, challenging and essential quality recordkeeping and archiving is for those with childhood Care experiences. Historical inquiries have documented the poor quality and vast absences of records of institutional Care experiences, while those into the Care systems of today detail the voluminous and unwieldy recordkeeping systems which capture and promulgate the most deeply personal, sensitive and traumatic information imaginable.

Through the inquiries we have repeatedly heard of the impact a lack of voice in, and agency over, childhood Care records has on the people’s lives. Those with Care experiences have detailed the impacts poor recordkeeping and archiving has had on sense of identity, connection to family, community and culture, ability to hold the system to account and seek justice and redress. Care-experienced children, young people and adults are asking for their rights in their Care records to be recognised and enacted. This requires archival and recordkeeping frameworks, processes and systems that enable and support archival autonomy, namely the ability of Care experienced individuals and communities to participate in societal memory with their own voice and with agency over the records that document their childhoods and, that can all too often detrimentally, define their lives.

The Australian Research Council funded Rights in Records by Design project is tackling this challenge through interdisciplinary exploration into the design of lifelong living archives for childhood Care. In this presentation the focus will be on one of the lines of inquiry of that project as we work with a small group of advocates to develop a prototype of a participatory infrastructure to enable those with Care experiences to participate in the creation of their records, and exert rights to identity, memory, accountability and privacy in their ongoing management, access and use.

Associate Professor Joanne Evans, Monash University

Joanne Evans is an archival and recordkeeping researcher and educator in the Faculty of IT, Monash University. Through an ARC Future Fellowship she has established the interdisciplinary Archives and the Rights of the Child Research Program to address the lifelong identity, memory and accountability needs of childhood out of home care. This involves the exploration of participatory design and research strategies to develop dynamic evidence and memory management frameworks, processes and systems supportive of multiple rights in records and recordkeeping.