Bringing Data to Life: Co-Designing a Language Data Commons Recap

Categorised: News

Bringing Data to LifeBringing Data to Life: Co-Designing a Language Data Commons, held on Yuggera and Turrbal land at Brisbane Powerhouse, brought together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous leaders from academia, galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAM) institutions to discuss co-designing a Language Data Commons for Australia.

The event was moderated by Gooreng Gooreng man Grant Sarra, and attended by over 70 people from academia and the GLAM sector both in person and online on 4 August 2022.

The ARDC and Language Data Commons of Australia (LDaCA), co-hosts of the event, were thrilled by the open conversation and the generosity of the community to work towards the goal of creating a new digital research infrastructure that will make dispersed language data findable. We were particularly honoured by the presence and wisdom of Uncle Michael Williams, Gooreng Gooreng man and former head of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies unit at the University of Queensland.

Professor Michael Haugh from the University of Queensland, who is leading LDaCA, said, “Our sincere thanks goes out to all our panel members and participants at the event. We feel honoured to have such experienced First Nations people and members of the GLAM community gather to help work towards co-designing a language data commons.

audience at Bringing Data to Life
The audience at the Bringing Data to Life event. Image: ARDC/Marc Grimwade

“This new research infrastructure will make language data findable in culturally appropriate ways, so that all those who seek language data to revitalise language or answer research questions will be able to discover where it is held, whether that's a museum, library, archive, or university. We look forward to continuing discussions.”

Jenny Fewster, Program Manager for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) Research Data Commons and Indigenous Capability Program, said, “The ARDC looks forward to continuing to work together with Australia’s First Nations people, as well as the GLAM and academic sectors, on the challenges and opportunities in building data commons for HASS and Indigenous researchers and communities.”

The intention of the dialogue was to:

  • establish the principles which will inform any co-design process involving GLAM institutions and LDaCA
  • create a network for continuing discussion
  • identify a pilot project in which the co-design process can be trialled.

The impressive panels brought a wealth of experience in working with Indigenous communities and collections.

Bringing Data to Life Panel 1
Panel 1: Rose Barrowcliffe, Sandra Phillips, Louise Denoon, Michael Haugh. On the left is Grant Sarra, the event facilitator. Image: ARDC/Marc Grimwade

Panel 1: Co-design - an exploration of what is meant by co-design and bringing data to life

Panel members:

  • Associate Professor Sandra Phillips, Wakka Wakka and Gooreng Gooreng woman, Associate Dean (Indigenous Engagement), Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Queensland
  • Rose Barrowcliffe, Butchulla woman, First Nations Archives Advisor, Queensland State Archives
  • Louise Denoon, Public Libraries and Engagement Executive Director, State Library Queensland
  • Michael Haugh, Professor of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, School of Languages and Cultures, University of Queensland

Watch the Panel 1 recording

Panel 2 - Bringing Data to Life - 4 people sitting on a low stage with screens behind and an audience infront.
Panel 2: Beau Williams, Des Crump, Clint Bracknell and Nick Thieberger. Kristen Thorpe and Lauren Booker participated virtually. Image: ARDC/Marc Grimwade

Panel 2: Indigenous language materials and the co-design process

Panel members:

  • Clint Bracknell, Noongar man, Professor of Indigenous Languages, University of Queensland
  • Des Crump, Gamilaroi man, Industry Fellow, School of Languages and Cultures, University of Queensland
  • Associate Professor Nick Thieberger, Principal Fellow, School of Languages and Linguistics, Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne
  • Beau Williams, Murrawarri man, CEO, First Languages Australia
  • Kirsten Thorpe, Worimi woman, UTS Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research
  • Lauren Booker, Garigal woman, UTS Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research

Watch the Panel 2 recording

Panel 3 Bringing Data to Life - 4 people on stage, screens behind and and audience in front.
Panel 3: Alistair Thomson, Jacqui Uhlmann, Vanessa Russ, Sophia Sambono. Image: ARDC/Marc Grimwade

Panel 3: Oral histories and the co-design process

Panel members:

  • Alistair Thomson, Professor of History, Monash University
  • Jacqui Uhlmann, Head of Collection, National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA)
  • Vanessa Russ, Ngarinyin and Gija woman, Indigenous Data Network, University of Melbourne
  • Sophia Sambono, Jingili woman, Associate Curator, Indigenous Art, Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA)

Watch Panel 3 recording

Next steps

In the coming months we will release a paper summarising the event and outlining the next steps. We look forward to continuing discussions with the GLAM sector, Indigenous communities and academia to co-design the Language Data Commons of Australia.

Would you like to get involved in creating the Language Data Commons of Australia? Please email the team.

Learn more about the Language Data Commons of Australia in our recent case study, or visit the website. To keep up to date with the Language Data Commons, subscribe to the ARDC Connect newsletter.

More photos from the event

three people standing talking
Uncle Michael Williams, Michael Haugh, Sophia Sambono. Image: ARDC/Marc Grimwade
audience asking questions
Questions from the audience. Image: ARDC/Marc Grimwade
Vanessa Russ speaking
Vanessa Russ speaking on panel 3, next to Sophia Sambono. Image: ARDC/Marc Grimwade
Grant Sarra
Grant Sarra, the facilitator. Image: ARDC/Marc Grimwade
A question from the audience
Nick Thieberger asking a question from the floor. Image: ARDC/Marc Grimwade
Sandra Phillips
Sandra Phillips on Panel 1. Image: ARDC/Marc Grimwade
Clint Bracknell
Clint Bracknell on Panel 2. Image: ARDC/Marc Grimwade

The Language Data Commons of Australia (LDaCA) project received investment ( and ( from the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC). The ARDC is funded through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) to support national digital research infrastructure for Australian researchers.

Written by Jo Savill, ARDC. Reviewed by Prof Michael Haugh, Simon Musgrave, Marco Fahmi, Language Data Commons of Australia, and Jenny Fewster, ARDC.

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