ARC project to enhance multiculturalism in library collections

Advancing Society and Culture

Deakin has been awarded over $340,000 in today’s round of Australian Research Council Linkage Project Grants.

Professor Klaus Neumann, Professor of History at Deakin University’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences, has won one of 22 Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project grants announced today.

His project “Representing Multicultural Australia in National and State Libraries” will see him working with Dr Ian McShane from RMIT in partnership with the National Library of Australia, the State Library of Victoria, the State Library of South Australia and the State Library of New South Wales to develop new methodologies and strategies to assist major Australian libraries in enhancing their library collections of histories of Australia as a multicultural nation.

Deakin Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Peter Hodgson congratulated Professor Neumann on his success, noting that key benefits of the project would include informed public debate about the contours of Australia’s history and heritage, and Australia’s identity as a multicultural nation.

“The project aims to investigate the representation of histories and cultures of migrants from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in the National Library and select state library collections in order to determine how libraries collect and provide access to material about migrants’ lives and their communities.”
Professor Klaus Neumann
Professor Klaus Neumann Deakin University’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences

“It will develop, implement and evaluate strategies to enhance library collections and assist major Australian libraries to improve how they document and make the histories and lived experience of Australians from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds accessible to the community,” he said.

The project is an Australian first in undertaking a critical comparative analysis of the distinctive approaches of the three state library partners to collecting and making available multicultural materials, and will help discover the scope of multicultural materials in Australian public library collections and the barriers library users may face in discovering such materials.

“Public libraries face a significant challenge in documenting the history and lived experience of the diverse communities that make up Australia’s population. While the major public libraries have worked actively and conscientiously to fulfil their statutory obligations to build and maintain a representative collection and to provide library services to all Australians, there are few methods and measures that can assess Australia’s library collections against this mandate,” Professor Neumann explained.

“This deficit is a significant concern of the partner organisations. If it is not addressed, these institutions will be unable to tell Australia’s diverse and distinctive history, or demonstrate to present-day communities that their heritage matters.”

Deakin will also participate on another of the ARC Linkage awards announced today. Alfred Deakin Professor John Endler, from the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment, will work with colleagues from the University of Wollongong to investigate the nutritional requirements of the critically endangered corroboree frog.

 

Published by Deakin Research on 5 February 2018