Connecting the Disconnected Research Program

Full Title: Connecting the Disconnected: Designing Socially Inclusive, Integrated, Archival and Recordkeeping Systems and Services
Type: Australian Research Council Future Fellowship FT140100073
Chief Investigator: Joanne Evans
Dates: 2015 – 2018

Over the past two decades, submissions and testimony in a succession of Australian and international inquires have highlighted the bureaucratic barriers faced by Care-leavers in accessing records which evidence their time in out-of-home care. Care-leavers have written and spoken about dealing with the presences and the absences that they find in the archives and in their files, and the reverberations this can have throughout their lives. From their evidence it is clear that existing recordkeeping and archival access frameworks often fail to meet their identity, memory and accountability needs.

The 2011 adoption by UNESCO of the Universal Declaration on Archives places increased responsibility on recordkeeping professionals to lead the design and development of systems which better protect and respect citizen and human rights, as well as ensuring that they enhance the quality of life. While Care-leavers have repeatedly voiced their needs and expectations for records as agents of accountability, supporters of identity and connectedness to family and community and as instruments of solace and support, yet many recordkeeping and archival systems are failing to meet them. Can participation and inclusion be just tacked on to traditional recordkeeping and archival processes and systems, designed for a different age and a different cultural, political and technological paradigm?


UX Bootcamp Milano 74 by Luca Muscaro  from is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Through a series of co-design workshops and related research activities, this research program will investigate the development of a participatory archival design methodology to deliver improved recordkeeping and archival services for children who experience out-of-home care. The aim is to harness digital and networking capabilities, rich recordkeeping metadata, and the expertise of impacted individuals and communities in order to develop systems capable of representing and managing multiple rights in records and contribute to transformative changes in recordkeeping.

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