Associate Professor Tim Sherratt has kindly granted us permission to share the recording of his recent seminar at Deakin University for the Contemporary Histories Research Group, ‘Hacking Cultural Heritage Collections to Understand the Limits of Access’. The full seminar is now available on our YouTube channel.
The practice of historical research has been changed by the large volume of cultural heritage collections now available online. But as we celebrate the convenience of digital access, we also need to be aware of how ‘access’ itself is constructed and constrained — what is ‘accessible’ and why? In this seminar I want to explore hacking as a method for asking critical questions about cultural heritage collections. As historians, I’ll suggest, we should be prepared to engage not just with sources delivered through online systems, but with the technical, political, and bureaucratic processes that create such systems. To do this, we need to turn interfaces against themselves and understand what they hide as well as what they reveal.
Tim is a historian and hacker who researches the possibilities and politics of digital cultural collections. Tim has worked across the cultural heritage sector and has been developing online resources relating to libraries, archives, museums and history since 1993. He joined the University of Canberra in 2015 as Associate Professor of Digital Heritage. You can find him at timsherratt.org or as @wragge on Twitter.