A New Collaboration: Local Contexts

by | Jul 1, 2023 | Articles, Coe Collaborations, Collections Programming

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We are thrilled to introduce an exciting new initiative where the Ralph T. Coe Center for the Arts is actively engaging with Local Contexts. This engagement is based on our shared commitment to respecting and safeguarding Indigenous cultural heritages.

The Coe is actively in the process of integrating Local Contexts’ protocols to enhance our stewardship of the Coe Collection and to ensure that we honor Indigenous communities’ perspectives and rights while taking a considerate approach to cultural materials.

The Coe Center eagerly anticipates gaining valuable insights from Local Contexts and the communities with which we engage. Our collective objective is to empower these communities, bridge existing gaps, and promote increased awareness and understanding.

Local Contexts is a groundbreaking initiative to connect communities with their rich cultural heritage, ensuring diverse voices are heard and respected. It powerfully embraces inclusivity, promotes cultural understanding, and fosters collaboration.

Local Contexts’ Labels, including the TK, “Traditional Knowledge,” and “Notices,” are at the heart of this initiative. Developed through sustained partnerships and testing within Indigenous communities across multiple countries, these Labels and Notices provide a unique opportunity for communities to express their local and specific conditions for sharing and engaging in future research and relationships for each artwork. The Labels and Notices give Indigenous communities ownership to define protocols for using, sharing, and circulating knowledge and data. The ultimate intention for Labels, which are public facing, is that they physically accompany each piece and appear in social media posts and websites.

The “TK” Labels are essential for including local protocols for accessing and using cultural heritage that digitally circulates outside community contexts. They help identify and clarify community-specific rules and responsibilities regarding access and future use of traditional knowledge, encompassing sacred and ceremonial materials, gender-restricted materials, seasonal conditions of use, and outreach-specific materials.

Each community has the opportunity to customize the “TK” Label text, providing specificity and context. The title of each “TK” Label can be translated into multiple languages and displayed. However, each “TK” Label design or logo never changes to ensure national and international recognition and integrity across various content and collection management systems, online repositories, websites, and physical exhibits.

We invite you to explore Local Contexts’ website at https://localcontexts.org to learn more.

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