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|Title:||History, memory and music: The repatriation of digital audio to Yolngu communities, or, memory as metadata|
|Publisher:||Open Conference Systems, University of Sydney, Faculty of Arts|
|Citation:||Toner, Peter G. “History, memory and music: the repatriation of digital audio to Yolngu communities, or, memory as metadata”. Researchers, Communities, Institutions, Sound Recordings, eds. Linda Barwick, Allan Marett, Jane Simpson and Amanda Harris. Sydney: University of Sydney, 2003.|
|Abstract:||This paper will examine a range of issues surrounding the documentation, digitization, and repatriation of archival field recordings of Yolngu music as an integral part of a project on the history of Arnhem Land music research. This research project, 'Yolngu Music: Anthropological and Indigenous Perspectives', aims to examine the history of Yolngu music research through two inter-linked perspectives: the intellectual history of Australian anthropology and ethnomusicology in their specific engagement with Yolngu music; and Yolngu oral history and memory concerning the singers who were recorded, perspectives on musical change, and prospects for the contemporary use of digitized archival field recordings produced since the 1920s. An important feature of the latter aim of the project was the decision to repatriate archival collections of field recordings back to the Yolngu communities in which they were made. Although this decision was ethically based, the more specific decision to repatriate digitized collections was grounded in practical concerns: the virtual impossibility of such a large volume of recordings to be made available by AIATSIS archival staff due to existing time and resource pressures; the need to provide multiple copies of any given recording for different individuals or communities; and the need for a process of repatriation that is sustainable over the long term. The use of digitized materials has had a significant impact on methodology (both in the archive and in the field), on documentation, and on the various ways in which these recordings can find a new life upon their return to Yolngu communities. This paper will examine a range of issues revolving around the digitization, documentation, and repatriation of archival recordings of Yolngu music to their traditional owners, and will consider the ongoing engagement with Aboriginal communities that is required for such work beyond the life of any particular research project.|
|Appears in Collections:||Researchers, communities, institutions and sound recordings (2003)|
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