Mukurtu (MOOK-oo-too) is an open source platform and content management system for digital community archives. The name is a Warumungu word meaning ‘dilly bag’ or a safe keeping place for sacred materials. This grassroots project seeks to empower communities to manage, share, narrate, and exchange their digital heritage in culturally relevant and ethically-minded ways.

Plateau People’s Web Portal

The Plateau Peoples’ Web Portal is a collaboratively curated and reciprocally managed archive of Plateau cultural materials.  The materials in the Portal have been chosen and curated by tribal representatives. Each item has one or more records associated with it as well as added traditional knowledge and cultural narratives to enhance and enrich understanding to many audiences.

Introducing Documenting the Now / Ed Summers

In this introduction to Documenting the Now collaborative project, Summers provides background about the urgency and need for this type of open source application, especially for the Black community. He outlines two main goals of the DocNow project: 1) Create an open source app “that will allow researchers and archivists to easily collect, analyze, and preserve Twitter messages and the Web resources they reference;” 2) “Cultivate a much needed conversation between scholars, archivists, journalists, and human rights activists around the effective and ethical use of social media content.”


everwhere, every when / Bethany Nowviskie

Nowviskie begins this talk by asking the question “where and when do Black lives matter?” in information sciences; she looks at Afropolitanism (space) and Afrofuturism (time), focusing on Afrofuturism; it is “self-possessed” and centers around the past, present, and future of blackness and locating/telling stories of the future while never forgetting the past. She advocates the need for digital cultural heritage systems affordance – a White-dominant field – to decolonize archives and “design for agency” so that Black communities and cultures as well as other marginalized communities have control over their stories and archives, their “philosophical infrastructure.” Instead of merely designing for inclusion, design for progress and spaces/places where Black lives are everywhere and every when.

Presentation at Insuetude, Columbia University, New York City.

Why Are the Digital Humanities So White? or Thinking the Histories of Race and Computation / Tara McPherson

McPherson reflects on two experiences that reflect the disconnect between digital humanities and other modes of inquiry around race, gender, class, etc; instead of focusing on how to rupture oppressive infrastructures, conversations around tool-building and coding focused on how to build infrastructure. The answer to why the digital humanities are so white lies in this disconnect as well as the “effect of the very designs of our technological systems.” McPherson looks back at the 1960s, a time when UNIX (the basic philosophy/foundation for modern operating systems) was being developed, as well as the center of the Civil Rights Movement; she provides a compelling argument that these two extremely “different” camps are actually interdependent.

In the explanation of their vision for the UNIX, Kernighan and Plauger argue that modularity should be a priority; only the input and output should be visible to the user while the inner-workings, or the actual transformation process from point A to point B0 should not. This modularity resonates with liberal colorblindness; the “lenticular logic,” or fragmented lens, during the mid-1900s demonstrates how race is visible through its absence. “The emergence of covert racism and its rhetoric of color blindness are not so much intentional as systemic.” McPherson calls for a mergence of the two conversations that have continued to avoid each other: those on the side of technology might find new ways to understand culture, while those on the side of race discussions should “analyze, use, and produce digital forms.”

Feminist HCI: Taking Stock and Outlining an Agenda for Design / Shaowen Bardzell

Bardzell uses examples from feminist theories and practices in disciplines that revolve around design and user experience (i.e., architecture, gaming, etc.) as catalysts to think further about how feminist theory can be implemented in and ultimately change human-computer interaction (HCI), especially in theory, methodology, user research, and evaluation. Bardzell comes up with a “constellation of qualities” to transform how designers think about HCI through a feminist lens, or as she refers to it, “feminist interaction design” (1308).