Estimates Committee B (Bartlett)

Tuesday 24 June 2008


Output group 3
Information services and community learning
CHAIR - Thank you, members.  I will go now to output group 3, but because I know that members want to get on to the capital investment program before we finish, I will ask whether there are any questions in 3.1, 3.2 or 3.3 to do with information services and community learning?

Mr KERRY FINCH - Yes, I have one.  With our budget Estimates in previous years we have talked about oral history - and I did make a submission to the Library through the previous minister.  I pursued with the Premier when he became the new minister about how important I thought it was that we capture the oral history of Tasmanians and our cultural heritage through collecting their voices - the voice in the first instance and perhaps videoing them might come later.  But I put a submission forward about developing the oral history component of the Library Service.  I remember asking the minister last year if he had listened to what I had put forward the previous year.

[8.45 p.m.]
Mr BARTLETT - I will start by introducing Siobhan Gaskell, Director of the State Library, and thank the honourable member for his question.  I am very pleased to be able to say that Mrs Jamieson got $200 000 for musical instruments and that, after a really good discussion with Mr Finch last year, we went away and did some work on the idea.  I am pleased to tell you that this year we will be implementing a digital storytelling program in the coming financial year through the Community Knowledge Network - starting with a pilot but moving to a full rollout after I have had a discussion with the Treasurer about it.  The Community Knowledge Network is essentially made up of our online access centres, our Huon LINC-style organisations, our public libraries and our adult education facilities. 

We are committed to capture and preserve Tasmania's social and cultural memory.  That is part of what this is about, and it is certainly part of what your submission was about.  The stories of both ordinary and extraordinary Tasmanians are a significant part of the State's cultural memory and need to be recorded and shared.  It is these stories that will connect current and future generations of Tasmanians to their unique cultural identity.

The digital storytelling program will provide all Tasmanians over time with an opportunity to tell their story and have it recorded for history.  The program will deliver a growing collection of digital stories that document the richness and diversity of Tasmanian life.  The collection will be made available online via podcast-type technologies to local and global audiences over the web.  Through a series of workshops, Tasmanians from all walks of life, cultural backgrounds and across all generations will come together to learn about how to tell their own stories by creating short personal films that use their own words, photographs and memories. 

We will be using the infrastructure of our online access centres.  So it will also provide new members, new participants, new visitors, new volunteers within the 67 online access centres we have across the State.  Tasmanians will have access to technology that will enable these stories to be recorded, effectively catalogued, preserved and also narrowcast across the Internet for people to listen to and learn from.

The program over time - again we will start with a pilot and work up to full rollout - will provide the technical infrastructure to online access centres to enable all Tasmanians to record their unique stories.  We will be providing online access centre staff with the training in digital storytelling processes, where they will be able to deliver workshops across the State in their local communities.  Especially with 67 - is that right?

Ms GASKELL - Sixty-six.

Mr BARTLETT - 66 online access centres across the State.  In many remote locations the digital storytelling program will reconnect Tasmanians with their own living history.  The digital storytelling program will connect communities and individuals to their own cultural heritage and improve new media literacy across the State.  A great example of this is when my brother and I did it with my own grandmother before she passed away.  We recorded her and her history for ourselves.  We used a lot of that recording when it came to writing her eulogy as well.  I can imagine grandparents and young people across the State going to their local online access centre to record an oral history of the older person - of local history and of personal history - that would then be recorded for all time effectively and published to the Internet. 

Tasmanian stories would be available to Tasmanians across the web, catalogued in a way so that you could maybe look at them geographically.  My grandmother grew up in Gladstone, for example -

CHAIR - Beautiful place

Mr BARTLETT - So someone looking at stories around Gladstone would be able to access that digitally recorded story. It would be available for all Tasmanians, for historians and for personal histories. 

In addition to this, the State Library will be implementing a program to capture and record the oral histories of Tasmania's living treasures.  That is, we will be implementing a program to record the untold stories of significant individuals and organisations that have played a critical role in shaping Tasmania as well.  The program will ensure that current and future Tasmanians are linked with their unique cultural identity. 

We will be starting with a smaller pilot but I anticipate that over the course of the year - with access to some more funding that we need to do it - we will be rolling it out right across the State.  So musical instruments and digital online oral storytelling - I have delivered for two members of the committee anyway.

CHAIR - There are always members -

Mr BARTLETT - I will save for that for next year.

CHAIR - Premier, you would be interested to know there is already that project happening in Dorset.  I recently launched the book A Social and Cultural History of the North-East compiled by the Scottsdale History Group of 28 members of the community.

Mr BARTLETT - Fantastic. It really shows that there is a pent-up demand for this sort of service and for this sort of activity.

CHAIR - It was a terrific launch getting together and talking about old times.  You might have a look at my Hansard from last Thursday's special interest debate when I spoke about the launch.

Mr BARTLETT - Terrific.  I am not putting out a media release today about this but, when we get out to publicly launch and set it up, we will make sure you are along with us, Mr Finch.

Mr KERRY FINCH - Thank you, Premier.

Mr BARTLETT - We might go and do it at the Beaconsfield online access centre.

Mrs JAMIESON - I was just wondering with all the activities that are happening -

Mr BARTLETT - Can someone please ask Siobhan Gaskell a question.  In 21 hours of questioning she hasn't had a question.  I demand that someone ask her a question.

Mrs JAMIESON - I was going to ask for a bit more information about the Community Knowledge Network which I see is one of the initiatives.

Mr BARTLETT - I will ask Siobhan Gaskell to talk about that.

CHAIR - I will ask her to keep it brief.

Mr WING  - Madame Defarge here!