UBC receives grant to develop digital publishing platform in Indigenous studies

The Andrew W. Mellon foundation has awarded UBC a three-year grant of $679,970 in order to develop a digital publishing platform for those pursuing Indigenous studies. This platform will allow students and scholars to engage in collaborative research, and interact with the tools and materials provided in culturally sensitive ways.

“One of the things that we hope to do with this platform is allow the collaboration that occurs in research to extend into publication,” said Darcy Cullen, UBC Press editor and lead of the project. “A conventional publishing model is one based on an author, and with this platform, we’ll be able to allow the communities and scholars to continue to work together through the publication process.”

This initiative is responding to the needs of students and scholars in Indigenous research. “One of the things that our authors find specifically difficult is presenting the material in ways that will suit the needs of scholars, the needs of students, and the needs of communities all at once. What we hope with the platform is that we can re-purpose and present material in ways that are more useful for the classroom,” stated Cullen.

Linc Kesler, director of the First Nations House of Learning and founding chair of First Nations and Indigenous Studies at UBC, also sees great value in this new investment in Indigenous studies.

“It’s providing people with a way to think about how they achieve an understanding of something and how information comes to people, or in our instance, hasn’t come to people,” said Kesler. “I think it’s a really exciting time, and the process in doing this is fantastic and that it connects so well with other things we are doing as well on campus.”

As to when this project will come to fruition, no exact dates were released, although Cullen provided a general timeline of the process.

“The project has just begun its first phase of a three-year grant and so we will be developing two book prototypes over that time. We will be doing the platform integration and then we will release a first book prototype. Before the third year is up, we will have released a second book prototype.

“We envision, at first, to create a growing collection of digital multi-path books in Indigenous studies,” said Cullen. “It would be a hub for shared knowledge — for communities, scholars and students.”