[ISEA2022] Paper: Melanie Swalwell — The Australian Emulation Network: Accessing Born Digital Cultural Collections


Second Summit on New Media Art Archiving
June 10, MACBA – Convent dels Àngels. Long paper.

Keywords: media arts preservation, digital infrastructure, emulation, EaaSI, software preservation

This paper outlines a new funded project which aims to conserve and render born digital artefacts widely accessible by establishing an Australian Emulation Network. High value cultural collections from university archives and the GLAM sector requiring legacy computer environments will be targeted. The project expects to generate new knowledge across media arts, design, and architecture. Expected outcomes include stabilising and providing researchers with emulated access to born digital cultural artefacts, sharing legacy computer environments across the network, and establishing an Australian software preservation community of practice, building skills in preserving and emulating digital cultural artefacts with substantial future applications also in scientific preservation. https://aama.net.au

  • Melanie Swalwell is Professor of Digital Media Heritage at Swinburne University of Technology, Australia. Her research focuses on the creation, use, preservation, and legacy of complex digital artefacts such as videogames and media artworks. Melanie is currently leading three digital heritage research projects: “Play It Again: Preserving Australian videogame history of the 1990s”; “Archiving Australian Media Arts: Towards a best practice method and national collection”; and “The Australian Emulation Network: Born Digital Cultural Collections Access”, funded by the Australian Research Council. An ARC Future Fellow from 2014-18, Melanie continues to research “Creative Micro-computing in Australia, 1976-92”. Melanie is the author of Homebrew Gaming and the Beginnings of Vernacular Digitality (MIT Press, 2021), editor of Game History and the Local (Palgrave, 2021), and co-editor of Fans and Videogames: Histories, Fandom, Archives (Routledge, 2017) and The Pleasures of Computer Gaming: Essays on cultural history, theory and aesthetics (McFarland, 2008).