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Memory Justice and Records: The Find and Connect Web Resource Professor Cathy Humphreys, University of Melbourne.

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Presentation on theme: "Memory Justice and Records: The Find and Connect Web Resource Professor Cathy Humphreys, University of Melbourne."— Presentation transcript:

1 Memory Justice and Records: The Find and Connect Web Resource Professor Cathy Humphreys, University of Melbourne

2 Overview Memory, justice, personal and historic records Senate Inquiries and Government apologies ‘The Who Am I?’ and Find and Connect Projects The Find and Connect web resource Principles underpinning the work

3 ‘We need to know where we have come from to know where we are going’ (Huggins 2002)

4 Memory, Justice and Record-Keeping The webs of significance of any event, place or person are fine-lined and faint. It takes a lot of looking to see them. And the answers to any question that we have of them are never obvious, because the questions we ask of them are not the questions the people of the past were asking themselves.’ (Greg Dening, 1998, p. 208)

5 Australian Senate Inquiries The Forgotten Australians: A report on Australians who experienced institutional or out-of-home care as children (2004) Lost Innocents 2001: Righting the record report on child migration Bringing Them Home 1997: Report of the National Inquiry into the separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families (The Stolen Generation)

6 The role of the public apology Recognition that the public apology cannot right the wrongs of the past However, it can be experienced as a necessary step in healing and reconciliation. A number of examples in Australia – hospitals apologising for ‘forced adoption’ practices; national apologies to the Stolen Generation; Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants Resonance with David Cameron’s apology for the Bloody Sunday massacre – a different scale; 200 million pound Inquiry, many deaths, an injustice perpetrated on a country.

7 A project for social justice ‘Forgotten Australians’ experienced themselves and their history as forgotten/obliterated/re-worked/sanitised. The Inquiries provided a place for compelling testimonies The story of personal grief became the foundation from which to provide public testimony (Cuthbert and Quartly 2012) The potential to transform the individual experience of injustice into a tool for advocacy and a case for social justice.

8 The Knowledge Diamond (Principle 1)  Research Evidence  Practitioner Wisdom  Service User Experience  Policy Perspectives

9 The Find & Connect web resource The Find & Connect web resource is a gateway to connect Forgotten Australians, Former Child Migrants and their families to information and resources that help make sense of the past, and to see where their story fits into the broader historical context.www.findandconnect.gov.au Community created resource

10 PROJECT OVERVIEW The Who AM I? project is designed around four inter-related strands of work, managed by different units within the University of Melbourne and Australian Catholic University Strand A: Archives, Records and Digital Technologies (eScholarship Research Centre) Strand B: Current Practice (Department of Social Work) Strand C: Historical Research (School of Historical Studies) Strand D: Service User Perspectives (Department of Social Work, University of Melbourne and RMIT) Who Am I?

11 Beyond history: where are the records? (Principle 2) Recommendations from Senate Inquiries: That all record-holding agencies implement and fund programs to find, identify and preserve records including photographs and other memorabilia. Immediately cease destruction of records Dedicated services to assist care leavers Compile directories to assist locating and accessing records A dedicated information and search service in each state/territory Register of all records held by government and non-government agencies Common access guidelines – including “third party” information Supported release of records

12 Ballarat Children’s Orphanage E000695b.htm# E000695b.htm# Listing of personal file repository Details of public records Details of the orphanage e.g. menus Listing of details of a fire when some records destroyed

13 The Database Technology (Principle 3) Don’t build a website – it’s a web resource Online Heritage Resource Manager (OHRM) No cost – for heritage, non-commercial and public good purposes Standards-based Public knowledge spaces Long-term, resilient, robust Representing complex, distributed information

14 14

15 15 15% of visits are from mobile devices

16 Support Services (Principle 4) Align the web-resource to support services The resource needs to be an embedded part of the service system We aspire to have it as an important tool for social work education

17 Usability Testing (Principle 5) Redesign of the web-resource

18 Navigation/menu bar Please note: there are no personal records or private details published on this site. HomesPhotosRecords Explore the Find & Connect Web Resource Look for: Search the Find & Connect web resource: SEARCH E.g. name of a Home, orphanage, institution, or suburb

19 Navigation/menu bar Looking for a Home If you know the name of the Home you are looking for, enter it in the box below and press ‘Search’. If you don’t know the name of the home you are looking for, fill out what you know and press ‘Search’. Do you know where the Home was? SELECT STATE [include ‘Don’t know’] TEXT ENTRY: “If you know the suburb, city or town, you can type it here.” Do you know when the Home was open? SELECT DECADE [include ‘Don’t know’] Do you know who ran the Home? SELECT: Church, Government, Catholic church, Salvation Army, Other, Don’t Know SEARCH

20 Navigation/menu bar Does this page need updating? Victoria RecordsPhotos Location & TimelineView full page

21 Navigation/menu bar Does this page need updating? Victoria RecordsPhotos Location & TimelineView full page Read more

22 Memory, Justice and Records Highlighting the significance of records is a public act of remembering Connections to the broader social movement to support people who grew up in ‘care’ and provide testimony to their history – the good, the bad and the ugly An adjunct to the day to day support service for Forgotten Australians, Former Child Migrants and Stolen Generation.

23 Final thoughts on files from Vlad This is my discovery manual. It is not my file. This is my discovery manual. It has given me a new lease on life. I hated it, I despise it, I loathe it – and I still want nothing to do with it. And I mean I want nothing to do with it, because it’s not my story. It’s someone else’s interpretation of: where I was, and what was going on. Not mine. There’s not much truth in this, believe me. There really isn’t much truth in this at all. The file? Look, it just doesn’t … it’s helped me in a way, now. It’s hard to explain. It hurt so much to realize what I’d done as a child, where I’d been. And it showed me certain truths.

24 References Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC), Bringing Them Home: Report of the National Inquiry into the separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, Sydney: Australian Senate Community Affairs References Committee, Forgotten Australians: A Report on Australians who experienced institutional or out- of-home care as children, Canberra: Senate Printing Unit, Parliament House, Australian Senate Community Affairs References Committee, Lost Innocents: Righting the record report on child migration, Canberra: Senate Printing Unit, Parliament House, 2001.


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