Shaping and reshaping cultural identity and memory: Maximising human rights through a participatory archive

Livia Iacovino

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    15 Citations (Scopus)


    A right to preserve one s culture is recognised in the United Nations human rights treaty system. Individual and collective cultural identity within government and private archives can be enabled through a participatory approach which acknowledges record subjects as record co-creators. This article analyses cultural human rights instruments found in international and domestic Australian laws as warrants for a participatory archive within the Australian context, premised on the recognition of the rights of those who are subjects of the record to add their own narratives to records held in archival institutions, and to participate as co-creators in decisionmaking about appraisal, access and control, thus shaping and reshaping the archive from their perspective. To this end, it proposes the use of social media to enhance cultural rights and cultural identity. Adopting the principle of rights maximisation, a participatory approach lessens the impact of the right to be forgotten on cultural rights. The article concludes that Australian archival policy makers and jurisdictions which have a human rights regime, have a clear mandate to give priority to the preservation of records of distinctive cultures, in particular those of Indigenous peoples and minorities.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)29 - 41
    Number of pages13
    JournalArchives & Manuscripts
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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