Kate Hennessy on Ethnographies of Access, Ownership, and Collaboration in the Virtual Museum

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Museums and academic institutions are rapidly digitizing their ethnographic collections to make them accessible to the public and to communities from which they originated. These practices amplify the public nature of institutional collections, create opportunities for re-thinking how collections should be shared online, and help merge global heritage policies and institutional practices with Aboriginal paradigms of knowledge circulation, ethics, and control.

In this talk about collaboratively designed virtual museum projects with Dane-zaa and Inuvialuit communities in Canada, Kate Hennessy — Director of the Making Culture Lab at Simon Fraser University’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology — shows how access to digital collections can both facilitate the reclaiming of intellectual property rights and copyright of cultural heritage––including the right to restrict circulation of cultural property––and support the design of archives and virtual exhibits on Aboriginal terms.

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