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Today’s Indigenous voices to be heard loud and clear in the future!

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Australia’s most valuable library collection will be extended and enriched with the contemporary voices and experiences of Indigenous peoples and communities, when the State Library of NSW launches its landmark Indigenous Collecting Strategy TODAY [Wednesday 6 July 2016].

An impressive line-up of speakers including artist Bronwyn Bancroft, Indigenous X creator Luke Pearson and Leslie Williams, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs will join the State Library’s Indigenous Services team and over 100 community members in a conversation on documenting Indigenous stories for the future.

According to NSW State Librarian & Chief Executive Alex Byrne: “The State Library is passionate about collecting and providing access to the stories, personal histories and events that paved the way to reconciliation and recognition in this country and tell of Indigenous lives today.

“Through this new strategy, the Library will continue to play a vital role in introducing and reconnecting people with Indigenous Australian languages, art, culture and heritage,” said Dr Byrne.

The State Library’s extensive collections include a vast array of material relating to Indigenous peoples of NSW, including some of the earliest written records of Indigenous people. However, most were created by non-Indigenous people from the earliest days of European contact to the present.

“As part of the Library's commitment to build our Indigenous collections, we are pleased to be announcing today three exciting collecting projects that we’ll be embarking on over the next year,” says Kirsten Thorpe, Manager, Indigenous Service.

“We will be documenting the hugely popular Koori Knockout, to be held in Sydney in October; a community focused project on Indigenous connections to Country; and an oral history project relating to the Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation,” says Ms Thorpe.

The State Library has also recently acquired works by Bronywn Bancroft and leading Indigenous photographer Michael Riley (1960– 2004), as well as portraits and oral histories of Aboriginal families living in Sydney’s south-west captured by Jagath Dheerasekara.

The extraordinary work of Michael Riley and Jagath Dheerasekara is currently on show at the Library as part of two new displays: A Common Place: Portraits of Moree Murries 1990 and Family Keeps Us Going, respectively, running until 28 August 2016.

“We will continue our connection and consultation with communities to help us identify the key people, places, initiatives and events in NSW that should be documented by the State Library for the future, says Ms Thorpe.

“We are also seeking input on creating community-generated content and experiences, as well as providing opportunities for Indigenous communities to respond to our rich collections.”

To help the State Library collect Indigenous voices for the future, please contact the Indigenous Services team by email or phone (02) 9273 1577.

Get in on the conversation #CollectingIndigenousVoices

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