Rebecca Slatcher

Rebecca Slatcher

AHRC CDP ‘North American Indigenous Languages in the British Library’s post-1850 Collections’

My research focuses on creating a complete and discoverable profile of the indigenous print records post-1850 held at the British Library. Considered within debates on the global responsibilities of institutions in collecting, preserving and promoting indigenous languages, this seeks to progress understandings on the contemporary use and value of indigenous records, to provide recommendations for indigenizing digital research and to centre decolonizing methodologies within institutional practice.

Specifically, the project considers the ethical issues and effectiveness of employing digital methods to indigenous language texts by exploring tensions between the common architectures of the digital humanities and the complexities of capturing cultures based in orality, tradition and place. By historicising the contribution of digital methods and archiving practice to the displacement and damage of indigenous cultures, it will consider methods such as: collaborative metadata creation; critical-making methodologies and open-source programs that embed indigenous cultural protocols to create appropriate platforms for language revitalisation. This PhD also aims to recommend how a sustainable and ethical curatorial model for the British Library may be achieved by creating relationships with user communities through responsive and nuanced collection practice and community focused outputs.

Before beginning my PhD, I gained a 1:1 BA International (Hons) in History and Philosophy (2016) and a Distinction in Social and Cultural History (2017) from the University of Leeds. During this time, I spent a year studying at the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. I have taken a two-year break from academia, working within student unions to create and empower different student communities.