About the Speaker:

Kate Hennessy is an Assistant Professor specializing in Media at Simon Fraser University’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology in Vancouver, British Columbia. As a cultural anthropologist and director of the Making Culture Lab, her research explores the role of digital technology in the documentation and safeguarding of cultural heritage, and the mediation of culture, history, objects, and subjects in new forms. Her video and multimedia works investigate documentary methodologies to address Indigenous and settler histories of place and space. Current projects include the collaborative production of virtual museum exhibits with Aboriginal communities in Canada; the study of new digital museum networks and their effects; ethnographic research on the implementation of large scale urban screens in public space; and, the intersections of anthropology and contemporary art practices. She is a founding member of the Ethnographic Terminalia curatorial collective, which in 2015 was awarded the Michael M. Ames Prize for Innovative Museum Anthropology by the American Anthropological Association’s Council for Museum Anthropology. Visit her website at: http://hennessy.iat.sfu.ca/mcl


About the Talk: Digital Returns, Hybrid Futures - Projects from the Making Culture Lab

In this presentation I will discuss several projects being produced by the Making Culture Lab in collaboration with local museums, artists, and First Nations communities. I use the conceptual lenses of continuity and belongings to reflect on the ways in which new technologies are facilitating the return of cultural property from museums to First Nations and creating hybrid spaces of representation and engagement. One of the projects I will highlight is ʔeləw̓k̓ʷ | Belongings, an interactive tabletop that we co-designed in collaboration with Dr. Alissa Antle's Tangible Computing Lab and curators at the Museum of Anthropology at UBC for the award-winning exhibition 'c̓əsnaʔəm, the city before the city'. The tabletop uses replicas of Musqueam belongings excavated from c̓əsnaʔəm, as well as contemporary objects that are a part of everyday Musqueam life to access information about the long history of salmon fishing and the continuity of related knowledge at c̓əsnaʔəm. ʔeləw̓k̓ʷ - Belongings highlights the tensions between fragmentation and continuity that are central to discussions of documentation, access and preservation of intangible cultural heritage in the digital age. I will discuss the tangible tabletop design as a response to the desire to reconnect fragmented collections and physical belongings from c̓əsnaʔəm with Musqueam intangible cultural knowledge.

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