Channels of History - A Social History Exhibition of the Women, Land and History of the Channel Country

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FitzSimons, Trish
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Research Background: Channels of History is part of a recent international trend to explore intersections of documentary film and digital technologies to create media rich exhibitions as part of the 'new museology' (Witcomb 2003). It is 'relational art' (Bourriaud 2002) where the artwork comprises all its associated events and elements and the cultural connections it facilitated. It is also an example of 'shared history' (Goodall 2002), bringing Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians into the same frame through 'place'. It explores the question of how an exhibition form can realize the 'braided channels' of a regional history.

Research Contribution: The Channels of History social history exhibition is constructed from some 70 hours of oral history interviews with women of Australia's Channel Country, together with archival film & photos, music and artwork. It explores the capacities of digital technologies to facilitate new versions of the 'documentary project' and uses visual metaphors to give local and personal stories a wider resonance.

Research Significance: It was exhibited at 9 venues nationally including the South Australian Museum and Queensland State Library, presented at 3 international conferences and placed in relation to documentary theory and history in refereed journal articles. Marsha Kinder, Professor of Critical Theory at USC/LA, described this exhibition as 'remarkable groundbreaking work in documentary'', 'extremely well received by the international documentary scholarly community'. Favourably reviewed in academe (including ASPERA rating of 4.5) and in the mainstream press, its underlying research has been quoted in native title claims and rural sociology papers. Film Aust and Screen Qld have supported its broadcast documentary development. The work can be evaluated for innovation in both documentary and social history and for its capacity to speak to widely disparate audiences.

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Film, Television and Digital Media not elsewhere classified

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FitzSimons, T, Channels of History - A Social History Exhibition of the Women, Land and History of the Channel Country, 2004