PARADISEC is a cross-institutional facility whose core mission is the preservation of audiovisual materials relating to cultures from the Asia Pacific region. For more information about PARADISEC in general, please visit the project's website.
The Sydney University Unit has a focus on endangered and minority music cultures, and hosts PARADISEC's main operational centre, at the Sydney Conservatorium of Musicwhere its Director, Linda Barwick, is Professor and Associate Dean Research. In this unit, we convert a range of different audiovisual media into digital formats, catalogue their metadata, securely package the digital file and archive it in our offsite repository, hosted by National Research Data Storage Infrastructure.
PARADISEC Sydney's operations and projects include the archive catalogue, providing discoverable metadata for all items housed in the archive; the Endangered Languages and Cultures Blog, the blog of PARADISEC; as well as various music-related projects such as the Murriny Patha Song Project, the 1948 Arnhem Land Expedition Project, the Western Arnhem Land Song Project, and other projects collaborating with Indigenous communities and researchers to document important collections of Indigenous song (see sidebar). PARADISEC is also involved in providing advice and support to researchers to ensure that their collected materials are high quality and future-proof, and collaborates in numerous research infrastructure initiatives in the digital humanities.
From 2003-2013 the PARADISEC Sydney Unit was hosted by the Faculty of Arts and the School of Letters, Arts and Media (SLAM).
PARADISEC's Sydney fileserver is named Azoulay, after the French anthropologist who was the first to promote the benefits of sound recording for research purposes.
Azoulay, L., 1900. L'ère nouvelle des sons et des bruits. Bulletins et Memoires de la Societé d'Anthropologie de Paris 1:172-178.
Extracted in English as 'The Future of the Phonograph,' Literary Digest 21:2 (No. 534), July 14, 1900, p. 43, and published online at http://www.phonozoic.net/n0086.htm (Accessed June 2002)
New Edited Book: Circulating Cultures: Exchanges of Australian Indigenous Music, Dance and Media. Edited by Amanda Harris
Circulating Cultures is an edited book about the transformation of cultural materials through the Australian landscape. The book explores cultural circulation, exchange and transit, through events such as the geographical movement of song series across the Kimberley and Arnhem Land; the transformation of Australian Aboriginal dance in the hands of an American choreographer; and the indigenisation of symbolic meanings in heavy metal music. Circulating Cultures crosses disciplinary boundaries, with contributions from historians, musicologists, linguists and dance historians, to depict shifts of cultural materials through time, place and interventions from people. It looks at the way Indigenous and non-Indigenous performing arts have changed through intercultural influence and collaboration.
Available from ANU Press
New Edited Book: Expedition into Empire: Exploratory Journeys and the Making of the Modern World. Edited by Martin Thomas
Expeditionary journeys have shaped our world, but the expedition as a cultural form is rarely scrutinized. This book is the first major investigation of the conventions and social practices embedded in team-based exploration. In probing the politics of expedition making, this volume is itself a pioneering journey through the cultures of empire. With contributions from established and emerging scholars, Expedition into Empire plots the rise and transformation of expeditionary journeys from the eighteenth century until the present. Conceived as a series of spotlights on imperial travel and colonial expansion, it roves widely: from the metropolitan centers to the ends of the earth. This collection is both rigorous and accessible, containing lively case studies from writers long immersed in exploration, travel literature, and the dynamics of cross-cultural encounter.
Available for free download from Routledge
PARADISEC collection inscribed on UNESCO's Memory of the World Australian Register
PARADISEC's priceless collection of rare archival recordings of languages and musics of our region has been recognised as of international significance through inscription on UNESCO's Australian Memory of the World Register at a special awards ceremony in Adelaide on 14 May 2013. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)'s Australian Memory of the World Register provides a selective list of Australia's documentary heritage, with the PARADISEC collection now sitting alongside such invaluable national documents as the Mabo Case transcripts and First Fleet journals.
Read more: FASS media release
PARADISEC Sydney Honorary Associate Martin Thomas wins National Biography Award
The story of how a son of Irish immigrants, R. H. Matthews, became one of Australia’s most significant early researchers of Aboriginal language, culture and history, has won the $25,000 National Biography Award, Australia’s richest prize for biographical writing and memoir, the State Library of NSW announced on Monday 14 May 2012.
The Many Worlds of R. H. Mathews, In search of an Australian Anthropologist by historian Martin Thomas, has brought to light the largely forgotten but immensely important contribution Mathews made to anthropology and Australia’s cultural history in the nineteenth century.
Film Screening, 24 Feb: In Language We Live - Voices of the World
February 21st is UNESCO's International Mother Language Day, and to celebrate the world's indigenous languages, RNLD, PARADISEC and the Department of Linguistics will be hosting a free screening of In Language We Live - Voices of the World on the afternoon of the 24th to coincide with the final round of OzCLO.
Location: Education Lecture Room 424
Date: Wednesday, February 24, 3:30 pm.
PARADISEC's archive, hosted by the National Computational Infrastructure in Canberra, is soon to approach 5TB. Read more to see the full details of PARADISEC's collection held at NCI.
In the words of the judges: "PARADISEC is an outstanding application of ICT tools in the humanities and social sciences domain that harnesses the work of scholars to store and preserve endangered language and music materials from the Asia-Pacific region and creates an online resource to make these available."
PARADISEC has been cited as an exemplary system for audiovisual archiving using digital mass storage systems by the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives and has also been included as an exemplary case study in the Australian Governmet's NCRIS Strategic Roadmap for Australian Research Infrastructure.
The Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures (PARADISEC) is an exemplary HASS capability project, undertaking digital conservation and provision of international access to research resources in audio, text and visual media on endangered cultural heritage in Indigenous Australia, the Pacific Island nations, and East and Southeast Asia. The project is known internationally for its development of low cost techniques for recording, accessioning, cataloguing and digitising complex cultural resources in digital media.... Read More (p.42)