Below are the scheduled sessions for Virtual AERI 2021. Please note that each session will have its own registration procedure located in the individual event page. Click through to each event to register and receive the video conference (Zoom) information.

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Keynote: Professor Sue McKemmish

July 14 @ 4:00 am - 5:30 am UTC

KEYNOTE: Prof. Sue McKemmish

Moderator: Dr Joanne Evans

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Bio: I have been immersed in recordkeeping and archives for over four decades, first as an archivist working for the National Archives of Australia and the Public Record Office of Victoria. Joining Monash in 1990, my research focused on Records Continuum theory and conceptual modelling, recordkeeping metadata, and smart information consumer portals. My theory-building and modelling work on the Records Continuum has continued throughout my career. In more recent times, as my Continuum thinking and modelling have continued to evolve, I have focused on community-centred, participatory recordkeeping and archiving, and rights in records in the context of social justice and human rights agendas, complemented by ethics of care, particularly in response to advocacy by those with lived experience of Out-of-Home Care, and First Nations peoples in Australia. Developing inclusive, reflexive research design and practice in partnership with communities has been a guiding principle.

Photograph of Sue McKemmish

Digital Equity through Data Sovereignty
Emerita Professor Sue McKemmish

with Associate Professor Joanne Evans, Dr Shannon Faulkhead, Dr Frank Golding, Associate

Professor Gillian Oliver, Dr Greg Rolan, Kirsten Thorpe

Imagine global digital equity — real equity, beyond mere access to technology. We envision a world where information is used to sustain and nourish communities, families, and individuals; a world where discourses around data, and ethics and privacy have shifted away from an exclusive focus on commercial considerations towards technologies for humanist self-actualisation; and, importantly, a world where marginalised and displaced peoples can establish and maintain rights in their information, as a crucial, but currently unmet, foundation for exercising their human rights.

-(Digital equity through data sovereignty: a vision for sustaining humanity – paper presented at Sustainable Digital Communities, iConference 2020, Borås, Sweden)

Digital equity is a global issue, a societal grand challenge in both developed and developing contexts. By definition such a wicked problem needs transdisciplinary and international engagement – across the data and information sciences, IT, cybersecurity, information cultures, information literacy, and a host of domain-specific disciplines such as First Nations studies, ethics, law, the arts …

Key research areas include transnational information ecologies and cultures, data sovereignty, rights-based approaches to meeting information, identity, memory, cultural heritage, evidence and accountability needs, community empowerment, the co-design of people-centred systems and technologies, and equitable, ethical and accountable governance frameworks.

Following an overview of digital equity as a societal grand challenge with particular reference to the recordkeeping and archival field, the Keynote paper focuses on Data Sovereignty and the potential contribution of transformative recordkeeping and archiving research and practice.

First Nations peoples around the world are claiming Data Sovereignty and defining data extensively in ways that are inclusive of records and archives. They point to how data has been weaponized against them in colonial-settler societies, and plays a critical role in the ongoing colonial project. Records held in government and non-Indigenous organisations and institutional archives are repositories of data (broadly defined as inclusive of information and records) created about and collected from First Nations people from the time of invasion. Indigenous Data Sovereignty is central to First Nations Sovereignty and self-determination. Conventional, western colonial data and recordkeeping practices dispossessed Indigenous people of their cultural material and knowledge, and were instruments of colonialism, with records and archives being weaponised against indigenous peoples since colonisation and continuing to be used against them in the digital environment.

In Australia, the Indigenous Data Sovereignty Communique Maiam nayri Wingara 2018 – – addresses all individuals and entities involved in the creation, collection, access, analysis, interpretation, management, dissemination and reuse of data and data infrastructure in Australia. The Communique defines Indigenous data, data sovereignty and data governance broadly as follows:

  • ‘Indigenous Data’ refers to data, records, information or knowledge, in any format
    or medium, which is about and may affect Indigenous peoples both collectively and
  • ‘Indigenous Data Sovereignty’ is the right of Indigenous peoples to exercise
    ownership over Indigenous Data; and
  • ‘Indigenous Data Governance’ refers to the right of Indigenous peoples to
    autonomously decide what, how and why Indigenous Data are collected, accessed
    and used.

How will/should the recordkeeping and archiving field respond? UNICEF has recently issued a Manifesto entitled The Case for Better Governance of Children’s Data. It draws attention to the way data, broadly defined, has been weaponized against the best interest of the child – through surveillance cultures, predictive analyses that amplify bias and discrimination, data profiling and the use of data to manipulate behavior, and failure to address issues of consent, child protection and representation. With reference to children in refugee settings, it points to the amplified impact on vulnerable children. The Manifesto identifies 10 actions that could progress child-centred, child rights-based data governance, including greater agency for children and their communities in policy making and data management.

The Keynote will explore the role of data sovereignty in the digital world, and in enabling the actualisation of human rights. While an inability to exercise agency in data affects many, it disproportionately impacts marginalised and displaced peoples. The paper will discuss participatory Australian research projects undertaken in partnership with communities, which aim to contribute to a future where data, broadly defined, is neither weaponised nor exploited, but considered as sovereign to individuals, families and communities, for example Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and members of the Out of Home Care community with lived experience of the Care system, including Indigenous children and young people, and Stolen Generations.


July 14
4:00 am - 5:30 am UTC
Event Category: