Participatory Digital Archives and Museums

11. Natalie Underberg-Goode (University of Central Florida): PeruDigital: Ethnographic Storytelling through Iterative Design 

Abstract: This chapter examines the PeruDigital project, a digital ethnography project that presents Peruvian culture on the Internet. This project uses an iterative process, one that involves evaluation and garnering feedback into the design loop. In addition, the project seeks to bridge current work in digital heritage with the concerns of current anthropological theory. I discuss the process of developing the technical and social infrastructure for the second phase of development, focusing on how opening up the design and interpretation process can enable new media designers to better create new media representations of cultural heritage that reflect cultural values and ideas. 

12.  Madeleine Tudor and Alaka Wali (Field Museum): Showcasing Heritage: Engaging Local Communities through Museum Practice

Abstract: How can museums, as mediating institutions, play a key role in telling local stories to broad audiences? This paper explores how museum anthropologists have used visual and ethnographic research methods as the basis for collecting, documenting, interpreting, and displaying artifacts that visibilize the social and cultural practices which undergird how local residents create and conceive of ecological and cultural heritage in the post-industrial Calumet region of Northeast Illinois and Northwest Indiana. We discuss how our participatory visual research strategies have contributed to the process of creating a National Heritage Area designation for this paradoxical landscape, an effort currently underway in partnership with local organizations. After presenting the methods and relationship between research, visual strategies and action, we consider some of the dilemmas of power, positionality and ethics that we have encountered during this project to advance the social and environmental objectives of a region and its residents.

13.  Catherine Besteman (Colby College): Ethnography of an Ethnographic Somali Photography Archive in Maine 

Abstract: This chapter recounts how an archive of over 1000 photographs taken during a year of ethnographic fieldwork in Somalia become the basis, twenty years later, of a series of collaborative educational projects with resettled Somali refugees in Maine that included a website, two museum exhibitions, and an English Language Learner book. The discussion reviews the successes and challenges of collaborative work using a photography archive to create projects of public outreach and public education. 

Photo Credit: Catherine Besteman