About Us

About Local Contexts

Local Contexts was founded by Jane Anderson and Kim Christen in 2010. The primary objectives of Local Contexts are to enhance and legitimize locally based decision-making and Indigenous governance frameworks for determining ownership, access, and culturally appropriate conditions for sharing historical, contemporary and future collections of cultural heritage and Indigenous data. Local Contexts is focused on increasing Indigenous involvement in data governance through the integration of Indigenous values into data systems. Local Contexts offers digital strategies for Indigenous communities, cultural institutions and researchers through the TK (Traditional Knowledge) & BC (Biocultural) Labels and Notices. Together they function as a practical mechanism to advance aspirations for Indigenous data sovereignty and Indigenous innovation.

Project History

The Local Contexts project grew from the needs of Indigenous and local organizations who wanted a practical method to deal with the range of intellectual property issues that arise in relation to managing cultural heritage materials. Emerging from Mukurtu CMS platform’s use of traditional knowledge fields to incorporate traditional knowledge and copyright concerns, Local Contexts started as a way to provide strategies for managing, sharing, and protecting digital heritage. In an increasingly complex legal, social and cultural environment, the TK (Traditional Knowledge) & BC (Biocultural) Labels offer Indigenous communities the tools to add cultural and historical context and political authority to cultural heritage content in non-Indigenous digital archives, libraries, museums and other digital repositories globally as well as to their own local digital heritage archives. 

The BC (Biocultural) Labels extend the TK Label initiative to genetic resources and within the biological and genomic data sciences. The BC Labels were conceptualized and developed by Jane Anderson and Maui Hudson in 2019. Focused on accurate provenance, transparency and integrity in research engagements with Indigenous communities, this initiative offers the possibility for substantive change in how biological data from Indigenous contexts can maintain cultural relationships and responsibilities, connecting Indigenous people and places over time with data and in the metadata and with future researchers for the cultural, ecological and commercial benefit of Indigenous peoples. The BC Labels have broad international interest and are being initially piloted in Aotearoa, New Zealand with new use cases developing in the US, Australia and Canada.

Project Directors

  • Jane Anderson
  • Kim Christen
  • Maui Hudson (Whakatōhea Nation)
  • James Francis (Penobscot Nation)

Acknowledgements

  • The designs for the TK Labels were developed in collaboration with Alexander Hage.
  • The designs for the BC Labels were developed in collaboration with Miriame Barbarich and John Moore from IDIA (Indigenous Design and Innovation Aotearoa).
  • Design and development of Local Contexts Hub by John Deck, Dianna Lovette, Steve Taylor, Alex Merrill and Miriame Barbarich, and John Moore and Renee Waiwiri (Indigenous Design and Innovation Aotearoa). 
  • Biocultural Labels developed with advice and support from the Aotearoa Biocultural Labels Working Group.
  • Label and Notice implementation support by Michael Wynne. 
  • Te Reo Māori translation of Labels and Notices provided by Dr. Haki Tuaupiki. 
  • Spanish translations of Labels provided by Maria Montenegro.
  • French translations of Labels and Notices provided by Francoise McNeil and Patricia Raynault-Desgagné.