Cultural Heritage & Storytelling
in a Digital World
Professional historian, Abigail Belfrage runs The History Dept., a history and research consultancy in North Carlton, Victoria. The History Dept.'s work is informed by Abi's deep appreciation of the many stories that live in people, records, places and landscapes, and her experience, skills and knowledge in telling those stories over many years.
Abi is passionate about how individuals and communities can connect with their history, protect and grow knowledge about their cultural heritage, and look after places and collections.
In various roles over nine years at Public Record Office Victoria (PROV), and as a heritage consultant and subcontractor Abi has developed expertise in archival research, collection management and interpretation, and heritage documentation and analysis. Based on her extensive work with researchers she developed PROV's online and hardcopy research guides and contributed to publications such as PROV's Lands Guide, and online journal Provenance. She also prepared PROV's first and successful nomination of the Ballarat Reform League Charter to the UNESCO Australian Memory of the World Register for documentary heritage.
As a heritage consultant and a subcontractor she has prepared site documentation and analysis for a range of heritage studies, an appraisal of Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works records, and a significance assessment of the Thompson’s Drawing Office Archival Collection.
Abi is a champion for cultural heritage in the digital realm. She was on the team that built PROV's award-winning Digital Archive and online catalogue, helped establish PROV's Online Business Development Unit for the coordination of digitisation projects, and established geeks@PROV as a monthly forum for information sharing about the emerging web. She ran a hack day for THATcamp 2010, where teams developed web applications using PROV records, and she also managed PROV's online transcription software pilot project as an online space for members of the public to transcribe archives. She is an advocate for the use of social media in the cultural heritage sector for the exchange of ideas and resources.
Abi's qualifications & affiliations:
MA Public History, Monash University 2000
Grad Dip App Sci, Cultural Heritage Management, University of Canberra 1995
BA Hons History and Women's Studies, La Trobe University 1993
Professional Historians Association (Vic & Tas): Professional member since 2002
Australia ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) Scientific Committee on Intangible Cultural Heritage: Affiliate member
National Trust Victoria
Oral History Victoria
Royal Historical Society of Victoria
Australian Museums and Galleries Association Victoria