This collaborative project the Wiradjuri Digital Platform (which in its current form we refer to as the ‘tagger platform’) – I have been working on with RMIT colleagues Yoko Akama and Peter West here at RMIT, and with Chris Marmo and Reuben Stanton at Papergiant a industry Design, Research & Strategy Studio, since late last year.
This project extends my research interest into documentary design and collaborating on the design of interactive online video platforms.
For more detail there is a collaborative article (just published) on the research that includes reference to the platform prototype:
Akama, Seth Keen, and Peter West. “Speculative Design and Heterogeneity in Indigenous Nation-Building.” QUT, Brisbane: SIGCHI, 2016. Print.
This paper presents a methodological exploration in postcolonial HCI. We share early insights of designing a digital platform for Indigenous nation building in Australia that speculate ways to catalyse, provoke and support necessary discussions of governance, plurality, cultural integrity and knowledge ownership. Rather than expecting consensus building or striving for problem-resolution, prototyping this digital platform has begun revealing tensions, complexities and possibilities that are significant to nation building. Manifesting and actively debating these became an epistemological pursuit for knowledge generation, but also a necessary ontological one in actively carving out “agonistic” engagements that challenges hegemony and practice poly-vocal future-making.
Specific notes from the article on the platform and a screenshot (from pg. 897)
Speculating a poly-vocal digital platform
Such conversations led our team to pursue the poly-vocal notion of ‘braided voices’, which aims to move away from the singular perspective of the documentary producer to one that represents the varying viewpoints of the community being recorded . This approach also resonates with the way Crivellaro and colleagues [9:2854] explored poly-vocality as a methodological framework in HCI to turn the mundane and everyday talk as ‘symbolic re-presentations of a social reality’. The variety of voices shaped our consideration for how the digital platform could facilitate ways in which the captured footage could be reviewed, annotated and edited by the research team and the participants. With the aim to continue discussions around the recordings, we wanted to provide the participants with the ability to categorise the material into themes and write comments about what was discussed. The prototype might look like a social media platform for video sharing but it is more than that. Figure 1 is a screen-grab of this prototype in development to speculate what could be possible if such platform was designed and made available for Wiradjuri nation building.
(Click on image to enlarge – Fig. 1. A prototype for nation building digital platform)
The left column shows un-edited footage of a conversation by a Wiradjuri language teacher, a Wiradjuri elder, a local Indigenous (non-Wiradjuri) researcher and a nonIndigenous person. The site is password protected, accessible only to researchers and the participants who can select segments that interest them as a ‘clip’ and tag it with keywords and comments. The right column allows viewers to see the selection of clips, tags and comments, so they can comment on the comments. This has an ethical dimension of enabling collective analysis and synthesis, thereby preventing misinterpretations or things taken out of context. It also facilitates further dialogue for us all to make sense of the broader themes and insights on nation building. This engagement through the use of ‘granularity’  and collectively seeking out meaningful segments in combination with added meta-data, becomes a participatory action research for knowledge generation on nation building. This approach contrasts with a closed, linear documentary practice that puts forward the singular voice of the producer. It is also different to normative ways in which research participants are asked to check interview transcripts for accuracy. Instead, this prototype aims to be open for ‘braided voices’ to potentially continue through the ongoing contributions of further participants.
references in quotes:
9. Crivellaro, Clara, Rob Comber, Martyn DadeRobertson, Simon Bowen, Peter Wright, Patrick Olivier. 2015. Contesting the City: Enacting the Political Through Digitally Supported Urban Walks.
In Proceedings of CHI ‘15, 2853-2862.
12. Fitzsimmons, Trish. 2009. Braided Channels: A Genealogy of the Voice in Documentary. Studies in
Documentary Film. 3, 2:131–146.
19. Miles, Adrian. 2005. Media Rich versus Rich Media (or Why Video in a Blog Is Not the Same as a Video Blog). In Proceedings of Blog Talk Down Under. http://incsub.org/blogtalk/?page_id=74.