“Mukurtu is an open access collections management system that was developed by American anthropologist Kim Christen (now Kim Christen Withey) and colleagues out of her work with Warumungu Aboriginal communities in Tennant Creek, Australia. Starting as a digital project to think through the protocols around knowledge access in that specific community, Mukurtu now presents itself as ‘a grassroots project aiming to empower communities to manage, share, and exchange their digital heritage in culturally relevant and ethically-minded ways’. Local Context is an offshoot of Mukurtu led by Christen and Jane Anderson. A hack of Creative Commons (itself a hack of copyright), Local Context produces licenses and labels that facilitate both public awareness about, and allow for, the management of a community protocols in a relation to access and circulation of cultural expressions and knowledge. Labels such as TK Women Restricted, TK Attribution, TK Secret/Sacred and TK Commercial allow communities to appropriate representational, political and economic authority around the circulation of digital and digitised culture.
These projects each demonstrate the ways in which digital tools allow communities to re-imagine museum protocols of knowledge management and circulation, redefining the social relations of entitlement and obligation that constitute archival property and propriety. They implicitly recognise the complicity of digital technologies within broader projects of colonial appropriation, in which archives have become vehicles of dispossession, and a space in which to negotiate sovereignty. As projects of resistance, then, these projects knowingly connect to broader discourses that frame the digital as open to remix and mastering, and link these to questions of accessibility and accountability. […]”
Haidy Geismar: Museum Object Lessons for the Digital Age (2018), S. 26.