South Australian media company Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Media (PY Media) has just been announced as the recipient of the second annual Remote Indigenous Archival Fellowship.
Made possible through a partnership between the Indigenous Remote Communications Association (IRCA), the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), the fellowship offers recipients the opportunity to spend three days at NFSA and AIATSIS in Canberra working with specialists to develop strategies and structures to archive and preserve cultural heritage materials.
The importance of such a fellowship is invaluable to companies like PY Media. With nearly 40 years of being a leader within the Indigenous media landscape, PY has thousands of hours of audio-visual footage documenting life in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands of South Australia.
The priceless collection of footage contains a cross section of culturally significant recordings, from story re-enactments, Inma (cultural song/dance) performances, contemporary performances and concerts.
Currently, much of the collection at PY Media which has been produced proudly by the Anangu people, is under threat of deterioration in its analogue format and a switch to digital is required. The manager for PY Media, Thomas Holder said of the award, "Receiving this fellowship means that we will be able to properly preserve, digitise and catalogue our collection of significant cultural materials. With this crucial assistance the community, to whom this material is of most importance, will develop the skills to complete the process on country. With an organised digital catalogue the community will have access to materials that would otherwise be lost. We are very excited to finally be able to embark upon this task.’
With this crucial assistance the community, to whom this material is of most importance, will develop the skills to complete the process on country.
It's important for us to go back and inform our old men about how this content is stored and preserved; it has a really special role in regards to cultural maintenance and preservation.’
Former recipients of the fellowship have spoken highly of the opportunity to learn and share with experts from the NFSA. Shaun Angeles from the Strehlow Research Centre (Alice Springs, NT) described the experience as powerful. "It's been a really powerful couple of weeks, meeting these specialists who have generously shared their skills and their knowledge. There are many young Indigenous people out there, working in important institutions and communities all over Australia, and for them to have the same opportunity as me can only be a good thing. It's important for us to go back and inform our old men about how this content is stored and preserved; it has a really special role in regards to cultural maintenance and preservation.’
The Fellowship also involves the opportunity to attend a workshop in Alice Springs and/or in community, as well as the 2017 IRCA Festival.