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.
Other Ways to Listen
Tap or click on “Transcript” under each track to read or download the full transcript of each audio commentary.