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Working Tools Seminar Series Rescheduled

Working Tools Seminar Series: Community-Facing Data Management Platforms for Indigenous-University Partnerships

Our workshop on data management and knowldge co-production between university researchers and Indigenous communities has been rescheduled as a Zoom seminar series for the fall of 2020. One of the key challenges to collaborative practice between university-based researchers and Indigenous communities is to foster equitable knowledge co-production with all stakeholders through the sharing of data. Increasingly this task is mediated by digital systems, but there is no single solution that serves all needs. This seminar series brings together research partnership teams that have developed and employed digital knowledge mobilization solutions to their work. Our ambition is to explore existing efforts and anticipate future digital solutions for research partnerships.

This seminar series is presented via Zoom at 3-4:30 PM on selected Fridays in the Fall. Please contact Andrew Martindale (andrew.martindale@ubc.ca) to get an e-invite to the series.

The Tri-council's ambition of equitable knowledge-sharing between researchers and Indigenous communities is often undermined by structural and infra-structural inequalities, an issue that has been
consistently raised by many of our long-standing Indigenous research partners. Research increasingly engages communities in collaborative partnerships to define subjects of enquiry, seek appropriate permissions, secure funding, and develop and apply appropriate research practices and protocols. Anthropologists and archaeologists have been at the forefront of this work, in part because of a long disciplinary history of engagement and collaborative practice with communities. Such partnership initiatives are becoming more widespread and valued, especially with regard to Indigenous communities subsequent to recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's final report. However, such efforts continue to face a range of challenges  in overcoming entrenched asymmetries between university based researchers and Indigenous communities, as an ongoing legacy of colonialism. One of the key challenges to collaborative practice that build knowledge co-production with all stakeholders is the equitable sharing of data. Increasingly this task is mediated by digital systems, but there is no single solution that serves all needs. In this workshop we bring together eight research partnership teams that have developed shared digital infrastructure to explore digital solutions to this challenge.

Existing solutions to the management of data within Indigenous communities are fraught with challenges that require a balance of tailored attention to needs in context and tools that can pool
resources and technical support. These complex negotiations require open dialogue between Indigenous communities with cultural expertise and researchers with some of the technical skills and resources to develop such digital infrastructure. No single programmed solution exists to accommodate these goals, so researcher partnerships either cobble together a range of off-the-shelf applications or develop bespoke
programming. Neither is a perfect solution as the former tends to limit the data management and sharing capacities and has high learning curves while the latter is expensive to develop, often contingent on
developer support for updates, and usually driven by focused outcomes such as service to a public audience. The proposed workshop will move beyond existing options and explore further digital
solutions that address the needs of all stakeholders.

Our participants have built virtual museums, global databases, spatial archives, mobile contact tracking applications, and integrated cultural heritage management software. The workshop (April 2, 2020) will include presentations of the data-sharing platform each team has developed, followed by discussion of its value across the partnership. These will be followed by an open discussion that explores data-sharing ideals and seeks to identify common challenges and solutions. The ambition of this workshop is to explore whether there is interest and grounds for beginning to develop a suite of expanded platforms, in anticipation of a subsequent research and grant application. This workshop asks them to think beyond the parameters of their past efforts and anticipate future digital solutions for research partnerships. Our intent is to enhance this essential element of partnership engagement before developing specific research projects.

Feature image is, "The Celestial Equator" by Luis Argerich: https://www.flickr.com/photos/29638083@N00/5595512650; used with permission.