Christine Mackenzie

Christine Mackenzie

Keynote Title: IFLA’s Global Vision – opportunities for working together with educators and researchers

This presentation will describe IFLA’s Global vision and the top 10 highlights and opportunities that have emerged from an intensive consultative process with the library field. It will also take a practitioner’s view of how academic research and research in practice has informed the strategic development of public libraries. Examples range from the landmark research projects undertaken by State Library Victoria and Public Libraries Victoria Network to the potential of the partnership of IFLA and the Technology & Social Change Group (TASCHA) at the University of Washington Information School. It will also consider the gap between research and practice and whether this gap is getting wider; and suggest some opportunities where academics and practitioners could work together.


Christine Mackenzie is President-elect of IFLA and a freelance librarian. After a long career in public libraries, she retired as CEO of Yarra Plenty Regional Library Service in January 2016 after 12 years in that role in order to seek new challenges and opportunities. Previously she was Manager of Brisbane City Council Library Service, the largest public library system in Australia, and Mornington Peninsula Library Service. She has been a member of a number of government advisory committees, a juror for the Intelligent Communities Forum and a strategic advisor of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She is co-founder and Executive Committee member of INELI-Oceania which has engaged emerging leaders from Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific. Christine has held a number of roles in ALIA including President 2003-04. She was awarded an ALIA fellowship in 2008 and the VALA Robert D Williamson Award in 2012.

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Kirsten Thorpe

Keynote Title: Indigenous voice & representation in libraries and archives: reflections on building ethical community research & practice

There is strong recognition that in Australia Indigenous people have been heavily documented in archival collections, both within government archives and the major collecting institutions. The Australian Library, Information, and Archival professions have developed awareness of the needs of Indigenous people in relation to access to records and information. A range of projects have sought to connect Indigenous people to collections – whether for example projects relating to engagement or reference services, indexing or documentation, digitisation and online exhibitions. Despite this, there is a significant gap nationally in building Indigenous voice and representation into library and archival research, education, and practice.

This paper will explore tensions around Indigenous representation and self-determination in Australian libraries and archives. Who is deciding the information and records priorities? How are community engaged in decision-making around the management of collections?

Kirsten will draw on two decades of experience working with Indigenous Australian peoples and communities to build partnership research and practice. She will discuss ways in which projects can be designed to give voice to Indigenous aspirations to allow people to exercise control of their cultural heritage materials and the ways in which they are accessed and used. Kirsten will share some insights into methods and techniques used, and their effectiveness of conducting partnership research. In addition, she will discuss the importance of self-reflection in research and practice and immersive research methods as essential components of conducting meaningful and outcome­ based community research.


Kirsten Thorpe (Worimi, Port Stephens NSW) is a professional archivist, who has led the development of protocols, policies, and services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in libraries and archives in Australia. Kirsten’s professional and research interests relate to Indigenous self-determination in libraries and archives. She has been involved in numerous projects that have involved the return of historic collections to Indigenous peoples and communities, and advocates for a transformation of practice to center Indigenous priorities and voice in regard to the management of data, records, and collections.

Kirsten joins the Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research as Cultural and Critical Archivist where she will continue research and engagement in relation to Indigenous protocols and decolonising practices in the library and archive field. Kirsten is an advocate for the ‘right of reply’ to records, as well as capacity building and support for the development of local Indigenous digital keeping places.

Kirsten was previously the Manager, Indigenous Services at the State Library of NSW where she led the development of strategies supporting state-wide information services for Indigenous people. This included support for Indigenous priorities and cultural competency across NSW Public Libraries, the launch of the Library’s first Indigenous Collecting Strategy, and projects that supported the documentation, return and revitalisation of Indigenous Australian languages through archival sources.

In 2018, Kirsten began PhD studies through Monash University to investigate the return and connection of Aboriginal community archives in the records continuum and archival multiverse.