This case study focuses on software development in collaboration with Indigenous communities in the U.S. and Australia, outlining the experience of Mukurtu system designers. Mukurtu is a digital content management system (CMS) originally developed in collaboration with Warumungu Aboriginal community members and built upon Warumungu knowledge systems.
This study path introduces learners to Traditional Knowledge Labels and how to explore copyright, access, and use issues related to developing tools for Indigenous communities and cultural objects.
This study path is based on the Mukurtu case study and two articles, and presents problematic aspects of access for cultural heritage materials that can be perpetuated by systems of automatic data access and harvesting.
This case study discusses a project that deals directly with building long-term sustainability into digital projects, with particular attention to the socio-cultural challenges of the project. This was the foundational principle built into the subsequent web-based resource eventually named the Socio-Technical Sustainability Roadmap (STSR).
This case study provides a concrete example of the gaps that can occur in standard cataloging practices and their impact on information seeking. It explores an instance of using Linked Open Data (LOD) technologies to address representation gaps, uncovering both opportunities and risks when such interlinking relies on standard vocabularies, which typically represent only mainstream narratives.
For over twenty years, Values in Design (VID) has been developed as both a theory and a method. VID research has analyzed a diverse set of technologies including human-computer interaction, robotics, mobile technologies, and web technology, and an equally diverse set of values such as privacy, trust, security, safety, community, freedom from bias, autonomy, freedom of expression, identity, dignity, calmness, compassion, and respect. Perhaps more important, VID means taking values into consideration in design practice — making it equally relevant to academics, technologists, and everyday people.
VID is a way of considering human life that explores how the values we think of as societal may be expressed in technological designs, and how these designs in turn shape our social values. In other words, technology is never neutral: certain design decisions enable or restrict the ways in which material objects may be used, and those decisions feed back into the myths and symbols we think are meaningful.
In November of 2015, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA) launched a website with a rare accessibility feature. The website team had committed to making all of the images on the site accessible to the widest possible audience—particularly visitors with vision impairment—through visual description. To do so, the MCA worked with Sina Bahram and his team at Prime Access Consulting to develop a workflow tool, backing service, and API to support a distributed description workflow. The description project, Coyote, is an outstanding illustration of the principles of universal design, which argue that products designed to be useful to one community (in this case, people who are blind or have low vision) are likely to benefit a variety of users, not just those with disabilities. Invented to solve an unresolved need at the MCA and within the community, Coyote has in a short time expanded well beyond its original scope, bringing together a team of expert and poetic describers, passionate accessibility advocates, and open source developers and bringing needed attention to the ways that visual description might become a useful aspect of museum practice. In addition to discussing the policy, institutional, and technical implications around large-scale image description, (including both short and long descriptions), we also plan on presenting the latest enhancements, made possible by a museum technology grant from the Knight Foundation, to Coyote. These include a greatly enhanced representational model that can track visual descriptions of real world objects in addition to images, integration of concepts from the semantic web to facilitate rich search, the development of an organizational model that is used to offer a centralized Coyote instance to multiple institutions in a cloud-hosted version of the software, and enhancements to the Coyote API to facilitate broader third-party access such as Coyote being used for a treasure-hunt-like game based on visual descriptions.
In this study path, learners will create a budget proposal for a digital community project using Mukurtu. Learners will consider what resources are needed to ensure ethical collaboration and partnerships.
Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace (AbTeC) conducted the Skins workshop to explore a pedagogy that integrated North American Indigenous cultural frameworks into the design of video games and virtual environments. Skins provides instruction in digital design, art, animation, audio and programming within a context of Aboriginal stories and storytelling techniques. In the pilot workshop with Mohawk youth at the Kahnawake Survival School, students developed interactive environments based on traditional stories from their community in a process that required them to reflect on how they knew those stories, who had told them, and which stories were appropriate for such remediation. In the process, AbTeC found that the discussions about these stories in the context of the technical skills development provided substantial motivation for both further inquiry into the stories and greater participation in the skills development. This paper describes the curriculum and strategies of the Skins pilot workshop.
Games offer a space for Indigenous artists to reify the connections between tradition and technology since Indigenous games can directly engage players in Indigenous ways of knowing through design and aesthetic. The social impact game Survivance, the musical choose-your-own-adventure text game We Sing for Healing, and the mobile game Invaders exemplify games as self-determined spaces for Indigenous expression. And yet, these examples still merely hint at possibilities of self-determined Indigenous games as access to technology expands and the potential to design systems with Indigenous perspectives from the code up unfolds.