First Nations Media is one step closer to creating an archiving platform to preserve Indigenous culture and language.
The two-year project will ensure communities have the tools to share their recorded history, teaching the next generation and keeping language and culture strong.
First Nations Media Australia general manager Daniel Featherstone said the new media archiving platform – currently in development stages and not yet named – will break down barriers in an otherwise difficult to navigate landscape.
“The tools to creating archives are a big hurdle for many communities right now. The tools are expensive or not appropriate to their needs,” Mr Featherstone said.
“Media organisations, art centres and schools have been recording local stories and local content for years.
“A lot of that content is at high risk on analogue and haven't been digitised.
“But this will be a user-friendly platform to help communities who are managing their own collections to archive their collections and make them available for the future.
“These archives are the gold of our sector, they are community recordings of their own stories going back to the 70s and 80s.
These archives are the gold of our sector, they are community recordings of their own stories going back to the 70s and 80s.First Nations Media Australia general manager Daniel Featherstone
“They are the stories they think are important and are very different to any other type of content,” he said.
The project is funded through the Indigenous Languages and Arts Program, and was awarded $143,000.
Mr Featherstone said the funding will not only be used to build a user-friendly platform, it will also deliver training and support for organisations to start the process of archiving their collections.
It will also create much needed employment in Indigenous communities.
Through a partnership with the National Film and Sound Archive and Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, a multitude of pathways to future careers are expected to open.
“The platform will create real jobs in community. There will be a need for people to manage collections and ensure they are archived and shared appropriately.
“From knowing what formats to use to digitise, to dealing with protocols around sensitive content, people are going to have to do that,” Mr Featherstone said.
First Nations Media, previously known as Indigenous Remote Communications Association, is now a national peak body working with urban and regional communities to support media.
The organisation has been working on archiving strategies since 2014.
“Our strategy is to ensure community collections around the country are available in the future.
“It is so important that cultural and heritage collections are available to future generations,” Mr Featherstone said.
First Media Nations Australia is also about to re-launch a new version of IndigiTube in November, Mr Featherstone said, which will enable content to reach a wider audience.