In this episode, Chao Tayiana Maina shares her pathways into the digital humanities and metadata with Qanita Lilla. Framing new structures for African knowledges, she has combined a lifelong love of history with innovative technologies. For Chao, translating history into the digital sphere requires an understanding that information in the archives has a living relevance to real people’s lives. The digital sphere is therefore an important part of history-making and the cultural record, and Chao’s practice has evolved from telling untold stories to holding colonialism to account.
What I would like to see from the digital space or digital culture is the flexibility for things to grow, for technology to be responsive — especially when you’re dealing with such grave, grave sensitivities as people’s culture and the erasure of Indigenous knowledge.
Chao Tayiana Maina is a Kenyan digital heritage specialist and digital humanities scholar working at the intersection of culture and technology. A computer scientist by profession and a historian by passion, her work focuses on the application of technology in the preservation, engagement and dissemination of African heritage. She is the founder of African Digital Heritage, a co-founder of the Museum of British Colonialism and a co-founder of the Open Restitution Africa project. She holds an MSc International Heritage Visualization (distinction) and a BSc Mathematics and Computer Science. She is a recipient of the Google Anita Borg scholarship for women in technology.
With Opened Mouths: The Podcast is hosted by Dr Qanita Lilla and produced by Agnes Etherington Art Centre in partnership with Queen’s University’s campus radio station, CFRC 101.9 FM.