Recording oral memory: Views of Indigenous Victorians

Graeme Johanson, Christina (Kirsty) Williamson, Don Schauder

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter


The inter-relationships between researchers and the Indigenous community in thestate of Victoria, Australia, are analysed in this chapter. In order to gain anunderstanding of the expectations of Indigenous Victorians of a planned process forthe capture and preservation of their oral knowledge, researchers undertook ananalysis of Indigenous views. Views were elicited by means of 72 interviews aboutwhat Indigenous communities may need by way of a trusted system to help to create,collate, and maintain stories in an online repository of their oral memory.The research team included a liaison officer who, as an Indigenous Elder recruitedparticipants and liaised with them during and after interviews. They agreed that the long-term value of oral memory has been overlooked by non-Indigenous historians and curators in the past, and that storytelling is fundamental to community identity,and essential for cultural continuity.Responses to this project from Indigenous communities were generous and welcoming. The co-operation of Indigenous interviewees provided much useful data.The research was underpinned by interpretivist/constructivist research philosophy,with ethnographic method being used to analyse the needs of Indigenouscommunities.The research team and Indigenous communities share some common goals.Researchers and researched were involved in a joint venture from the beginning. Thei nteractions were open and frank, and deliberate effort has gone into the mutual contributions which will sustain a good working relationship into the future. The means for achieving collaboration are described.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearching with Communities
Subtitle of host publicationGrounded perspectives on engaging communities in research
EditorsAndy Williamson, Ruth DeSouza
Place of PublicationAuckland, New Zealand
PublisherMuddy Creek Press
Number of pages23
ISBN (Print)9780955694103
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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