To read this content please select one of the options below:

Clapsticks: Investigating Curatorial Opportunities and the Representation of Cultural Data

Eloise Labaz (University of South Australia, Australia)
Julie Nichols (University of South Australia, Australia)
Rebecca Agius (Ngadjuri Nation Aboriginal Corporation Director, Australia)
Quenten Agius (Aboriginal Cultural Tours Yorke Peninsula, Australia)


This chapter explores the Aboriginal artefacts ‘clapsticks’ as a form of cultural data – a means of disseminating cultural knowledge in the galleries, libraries, archives, and museums [GLAM] sector. How might alternative methods of curation animate clapsticks as active objects that deliver effective knowledge transfer? This research aims to explore and extend current industry practices of the curation of clapsticks, within the existing parameters of technology, spatial capacity, financial support, and governance as part of the operation of the GLAM sector. The research problem, therefore, explores the past limitations of colonial framing of cultural institutions that once hindered the revealing, the disseminating, and the ‘awakening’ of the complexities of knowledge intrinsic to Aboriginal cultural artefacts. Informal communication with Aboriginal community members and academics was critical to providing cultural context as well as personal beliefs and aspirations vital to conceptualising the future of cultural representation. This investigation explores how a cultural centre offers a space and an opportunity to facilitate the clapsticks datasets in its capacity as a performance-focussed building rather than solely an exhibition space or keeping place. This potential represents a shift in thinking around the clapsticks being a lens through which the stories of Aboriginal culture can be disseminated.



Labaz, E., Nichols, J., Agius, R. and Agius, Q. (2024), "Clapsticks: Investigating Curatorial Opportunities and the Representation of Cultural Data", Nichols, J. and Mehra, B. (Ed.) Data Curation and Information Systems Design from Australasia: Implications for Cataloguing of Vernacular Knowledge in Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums (Advances in Librarianship, Vol. 54), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 137-150.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2024 Eloise Labaz, Julie Nichols, Rebecca Agius and Quenten Agius