Introduction - Richard MacNeill
Since I have only just joined this network, I should introduce myself.
I began working in the cultural heritage area in the early 1980s in Europe, working with the cultural heritage of the Dutch people. Because the political, cultural and social aspirations of nation coincided with that of the population identifying with the sites, material and knowledge, this was a pleasant and uncomplicated beginning.
I later worked in Arizona, out of ANU in Tempe, at a time when First Nations cultural aspirations were beginning to influence local archaeological fieldwork and planning and cultural heritage managment, and Native Americans had established a strong presence in this area.
Returning to Australia, I trained as a surveyor and later gained post-grad qualifications in GIS and Mapping, taking these skills with me into the role of Heritage Information Coordinator with Aboriginal Affairs Victoria. In that role I worked with cultural heritage data, seeking methods of conveying related information to the general public, integrating this information into planning and other government sector processes, establishing digital databases comprising imagery, reports and site data, and building and implementing cultural information systems in local Aboriginal organisations across the state of Victoria.
After 10 years I sought a change of life and began work with Bush Heritage Australia, a not-for-profit conservation organisation, as Spatial Information Coordinator. In this role I manage spatial data and produce related products and, thankfully, continue working in an Indigenous context.
I am grateful for this, because I believe that this context is one of the best ways of understanding the power of information, particularly spatial, to support and represent a culture. I am interested in cultural understandings of space and the various ways in which it is represented, translated and negotiated.
I look forward to contributing to this network.