Lyndon Ormond-Parker, who was born in Darwin, is of Alyawarr descent from the Barkley Tablelands in the Northern Territory.
An Indigenous cultural expert of over 15 years’ standing, Mr Ormond-Parker is an Australian Research Council Fellow in the Indigenous Studies Unit of the University of Melbourne’s School of Population and Global Health. He is undertaking PhD studies under the co-supervision of leading academic and Indigenous spokesperson Marcia Langton and renowned conservation expert Robyn Sloggett, Director of the University’s Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation.
His thesis, titled ‘Aboriginal Cultural Heritage the Economics of Knowledge’, examines the ways in which Indigenous communities are utilising and managing their cultural heritage resources and local knowledge in the digital era. As such, Mr Ormond-Parker is positioning himself as a virtual bridge: using his own culture and knowledge, in an exploration of the world’s oldest cultures, overlaid by a matrix of modern technological advances.
“The appointment of Lyndon Ormond-Parker to the Heritage Council of Australia is a significant addition to the expertise of the Council,” Associate Professor Sloggett says. “His impressive track record in research and management of Australian Indigenous cultural material, and his knowledge of the needs of remote communities with regard to cultural heritage management and protection, is a significant addition to the expertise of the Council.”
Professor Langton agrees.
“I’m very pleased that the Australian Heritage Council will now have at its disposal the experience and expertise of a scholar of Lyndon Ormond-Parker’s standing,” she says.
“Lyndon’s work in cultural heritage management over the past 15 years has been effective within government and research organisations. His strong critical grasp of the needs of the cultural heritage sector, particularly as it relates to Australian Indigenous communities will, I believe, be crucial to what the AHC is able to effect in the coming years.”
Further, Professor Langton believes Mr Ormond-Parker’s scholarship and practice of communicating Indigenous cultural heritage management locally and globally via digital technology exemplifies the achievement of a new wave of Indigenous experts working at the cutting-edge of their cultural, geographic and disciplinary fields.
“Information technology and communication is now a major industry in Indigenous communities across Australia,” Professor Langton says. “Pleasingly, Lyndon Ormond-Parker’s appointment to the board of the Australian Heritage Council indicates an understanding by the board of the importance of enabling Indigenous culture and heritage to be positioned in the new cyberspace.”
In his current research, Mr Ormond-Parker is investigating the cultural, social and technological environments at three sites. His aim is to ascertain the issues involved in the sustainability and continued use of significant, endangered audiovisual archival material, and how they might be most effectively and appropriately preserved and made accessible to future generations.
“Cultural information is held in many forms in Aboriginal communities,” Mr Ormond-Parker says.
“It is in collections of objects and documents, digital libraries and archives, art collections, oral history, family and community photographs and films, and significant collections of audiovisual recordings of ceremonies, songs and dances, languages, local ecological knowledge and cultural landscapes.”
According to Mr Ormond-Parker, cultural work in remote area communities has involved a substantial uptake of new technologies and the use of audiovisual aids since the 1960s.
“The oral and performance aspects of these cultures have been recorded on video, cassette and other magnetic tapes, and more recently captured digitally,” he says.
“These archives are often stored and located not only in specific community archives but on computers in the offices of the local Aboriginal land council, schools, language and art centres.
“These archives are not just repositories of material but social hubs – or living knowledge centres – where the elders and interpreters of highly endangered cultures sustain and transmit the cultural repertoires necessary for the their transmission to future generations.”
Mr Ormond-Parker believes a better understanding of what’s contained in material of this kind will contribute to a more subtle understanding of Australian cultural identity.
“The material highlights the contribution of Indigenous Australia to Australia’s historical record and cultural identity,” he says.
“The outcomes of our research will, directly via my position on the board of the Australian Heritage Council, inform government policy and assist decision-making at a time when Australia is on the verge of an information revolution through the NBN.
“I hope that, with the opportunity I’ve been given, I’ll be able to contribute to strengthening the capacity of local communities to manage and preserve internationally significant archives and assist in the protection of important culture heritage.”
- This article originally appears at:
- Article taken from the following publication:
- The Age
- Article submitted by:
- Gabrielle Murphy