Conferences & lectures

Remembering Tomorrow: Archiving Indigenous Digital Art

Wednesday, April 10, 2019
2 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Jason Edward Lewis, Skawennati, Sherry Farrell Racette, Dragan Espenschied and Camille Callison


This event is free


Sara England


Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex
1515 St. Catherine W.
Room EV-11.705



Join us for an afternoon of presentations by three prominent speakers on the subject of archiving Indigenous digital art. This session aims to bring together diverse perspectives from the areas of Indigenous art history and archives, digital arts practices and preservation, and library and archives services to engage in discussions about Indigenously-determined archives and archival practices, particularly in regards to digital materials and art.

The organization of this conference emerged from the Initiative for Indigenous Future’s own development of an Indigenous digital art archive, a project currently in its early formations, and from the lack of existing archives and archival discourses that specifically address Indigenous digital art.

All are welcome! This event is free and open to the public.

The Initiative for Indigenous Futures, the Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Institute for Studies in Canadian Art, and the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture are co-presenting this event.

Keynote Presentations

  • Sherry Farrell Racette, art historian and artist at the University of Regina
    "Can You Have History Without an Archive? Can You Have Indigenous Scholarship Without the Capacity for Future Media Formats?"
  • Dragan Espenschied, director of preservation at Rhizome
    "A Repertoire for the Born-Digital Institution"
  • Camille Callison, librarian, archivist and anthropologist at the University of Manitoba
    "Honouring and Preserving Indigenous Knowledge Provides Wisdom for the Future"

About the keynote speakers

Sherry Farrell Racette is an interdisciplinary scholar with an active arts and curatorial practice. Her work is grounded in story: stories of people, stories objects tell, painting stories, telling stories and finding stories. Farrell Racette began her academic career in Saskatchewan Indigenous education, working at the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program offered by the Gabriel Dumont Institute, and First Nations University of Canada. She remains committed to Indigenous ways of knowing.

Farrell Racette has done extensive work in archives and museum collections with an emphasis on retrieving women’s voices and recovering aesthetic knowledge. She has illustrated eight children’s books, collaborating with noted authors Maria Campbell, Ruby Slipperjack, Freda Ahenakew and Wilfred Burton. Primarily a painter and textile artist, she also creates narrative objects and has begun to incorporate soundscapes into her work. Beadwork is increasingly important as an artistic practice, creative research and pedagogy.

She is currently teaching in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Regina.

Dragan Espenschied is a net artist, home computer folk musician, digital culture researcher and preservation expert. In his artistic career, Espenschied focuses on the historicization of digital culture from the perspective of computer users rather than hackers, developers or inventors. Together with net art pioneer Olia Lialina, he has been creating a significant body of work concerned with how to represent and write a culture-centric history of the networked age.

Espenschied has been involved in several highly visible and influential projects concerning digital conservation and mass curation. Since 2011, Espenschied has been restoring and culturally analyzing one terabyte of Geocities data saved by a community effort before its deletion by Yahoo, supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (2012) and the Photographers' Gallery, London (2013).

From 2012 to 2013, while working at the University of Applied Arts in Karlsruhe, Germanry, he led a renowned research project to conceptually and technically integrate the transmediale festival's collection of CD-ROM art into the Emulation as a Service framework, then known as bwFLA, developed at the University of Freiburg. In 2013, with the University of Freiburg, Espenschied helped preserve a personal computer from the legacy of media philosopher Vilem Flusser.

Since 2014, Espenschied has led the preservation department at Rhizome, a pioneering digital art organization holding a collection of more than 2,000 pieces of net art. In this position, he established emulation, web archiving and linked data as an institutional practice, and developed new approaches for preserving and presenting works of net art, online and in gallery space.

Camille Callison, a member of the Tsesk iye (crow) clan of the Tahltan Nation, is a learning and organizational development librarian and PhD student in anthropology at the University of Manitoba. Callison was on the founding board of the Canadian Federation of Library Associations where she served as chair of the Indigenous Matters Committee, chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Committee and is currently a Copyright Committee member.

Callison is an Indigenous partner on the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission Taskforce on Archives and a member of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions’ Indigenous Matters Section Standing Committee. She is a member of the National Film Board of Canada Indigenous Advisory Group and of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO Memory of the World Committee.

Callison is a passionate cultural activist dedicated to the preservation of Indigenous knowledge, culture and cultural material in a variety of mediums for future generations. She contributes by actively promoting Indigenous libraries, archiving cultural memory and Indigenous languages, as well as identifying and making recommendations on Indigenous knowledge and the needs of Indigenous peoples through involvement in local, national and international professional associations.

Callison has extensive experience presenting nationally and internationally at numerous international conferences, forums and meetings, and has taught workshops that aim at facilitating greater cultural understanding and promoting cultural continuity.

Callison's research interests include: the role of archives, libraries and cultural memory institutions in preserving Indigenous traditional and living respective knowledges and languages while contributing to their recovery, revitalization and activation; copyright protection; development of best practices for archives, libraries and cultural memory institutions to actively participate in Indigenous knowledge and cultural preservation.

Territorial acknowledgement

Concordia University is located on unceded Indigenous lands. The Kanien’kehá:ka Nation is recognized as the custodians of the lands and waters on which we gather today. Tiohtiá:ke/Montreal is historically known as a gathering place for many First Nations. Today, it is home to a diverse population of Indigenous and other peoples. We respect the continued connections with the past, present and future in our ongoing relationships with Indigenous and other peoples within the Montreal community.


Concordia and the Milieux Resource Centre is wheelchair accessible. Gender-neutral washrooms are available on the 11th floor.


Concordia’s Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex (EV Building) is located directly above Guy-Concordia metro station on the green line. Exit the station following signs for Concordia University and take the escalators or elevator to the ground level. The easiest way to access the Milieux Resource Centre is to take the elevators closest to the McKay St. entrance to the 11th floor. The room number is 11.705

For more information, please refer to this map.

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