The 2012 VALA Student Award for a student at Monash University goes to Kirsten Thorpe.
Kirsten Thorpe has worked as a Professional Archivist for the past decade creating spaces of engagement for Aboriginal people to connect archival sources documenting their history. Kirsten recently completed a Masters of Information Management and Systems (Professional) at Monash University, which included a Minor Thesis on ‘Creating an Aboriginal Community Archive in NSW’. Kirsten first completed Post Graduate archival studies at Edith Cowan University in 1999, and was encouraged to complete the Masters course at Monash by Professor Sue McKemmish. Kirsten was a successful recipient of the Monash University Indigenous Archives Scholarship, an initiative linked to the Bringing Them Home report, which recommended that Indigenous Australian archivists be involved in archival projects that enable Indigenous people to be able to locate records relating to their families and communities. Kirsten studied part-time at Monash, while working full time, to increase her knowledge on archival science and theory and its implications for Indigenous Australian communities and archives. Kirsten thoroughly enjoyed working with the Monash IT faculty, in collaboration with staff at the Monash Indigenous Centre, to explore Indigenous perspectives in the information field.
Kirsten is the current Project Officer for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Data Archive (ATSIDA), based at the Library of the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). This role is responsible for working with researchers and communities to manage Indigenous research data deposited into the Australian Data Archive (ADA), of which ATSIDA is a thematic node. Previously Kirsten worked as the Senior Archivist – Aboriginal Liaison at State Records New South Wales. Kirsten’s work involved assisting Indigenous people to gain access to historical records held as NSW State archives. Kirsten was also a part of the exhibition team that created ‘In Living Memory, an exhibition of surviving photographs’ from the records of the NSW Aborigines Welfare Board, from 1919 to 1966. Kirsten also contributed to the research undertaken to validate claims submitted to the NSW Government under the NSW Aboriginal Trust Fund Repayment Scheme.
Kirsten is actively involved with ATSILIRN (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Library Information Resource Network) and the Indigenous Issues Special Interest Group of the Australian Society of Archivists. Kirsten’s professional and research interests relate to the return of archival sources of material to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Kirsten is also interested in the opportunities that the digital domain present for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to be actively involved in managing their cultural heritage resources. Kirsten is a descendant of the Worimi people of Port Stephens, NSW.
Congratulations, Kirsten, and good luck!