Digital technology and public apology : responses by Indigenous Australians to a government saying sorry

Klaebe, Helen G. (2011) Digital technology and public apology : responses by Indigenous Australians to a government saying sorry. In Proceedings of 61st Annual International Communication Association (ICA) Conference, International Communication Association (ICA), Boston University, Mass, pp. 1-21.

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Australia has had two recent public apologies, one to the ‘ Stolen Generation’ of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and the second to the ‘Forgotten Australians' – people who had been removed from their parents as children and institutionalized. Both acts occurred in time when there was no Internet and peoples’ stories took years to collect and decades for their weight to carry the public momentum required to gain a public apology. Now, in a digital age, the reports and the testimonies held within them are available for all to read on the Internet.

We all now know what happened and formal public apologies ensued. Both public apologies also draw attention to an emerging intersection between digital technologies, personal historical stories and public apology. Research has identified the potential of digital narrative, such as digital storytelling3 and videoed oral histories to assist in the production of digital narratives that can help to present the multiple voices and viewpoints of those affected by these subjects co-creatively (Burgess et al, pp.152-153).

Not all Australians however have access or the skills to use digital tools so as to benefit from these technologies ⎯ especially Indigenous Australians. While the Federal Government is committed to helping Australians enjoy digital confidence and digital media literacy skills, experience inclusive digital participation and benefit through online engagement (Department of Broadband, communications and the Digital Economy, 2009) there are many initiatives that can also be undertaken locally by State funded institutions, such as libraries to assist. This paper highlights the outcomes of recent empirical projects undertaken at the State Library of Queensland (SLQ) in particular focusing on digital initiatives in Family History practices by Indigenous users, and a digital story project in response to the public apology to the Stolen Generation instigated by SLQ.

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ID Code: 76424
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > PERFORMING ARTS AND CREATIVE WRITING (190400) > Creative Writing (incl. Playwriting) (190402)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 [please consult the author]
Deposited On: 28 Oct 2014 23:38
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2014 23:42

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