Senator Lundy gave a speech at the “HASS on the Hill” conference as part of a session on Accessing Australia: the challenges of digitisation. HASS on the Hill is an event coordinated by the Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS) for the humanities, arts and social sciences sector to communicate with government and policy makers.
Senator Lundy spoke at the event on behalf of Minister for the Arts, Simon Crean, and the speech below was a collaborative effort between our offices.
It was not so long ago, in December 2008, that the newest national cultural institution – the National Portrait Gallery – opened its doors.
From the very start it was a resounding success, with visitor numbers far exceeding initial projections.
The eagerness with which Australians embraced this cultural institution says a great deal about the importance we place on our cultural collections and our access to them.
The new National Portrait Gallery sits within Canberra’s cultural precinct. As much as I would like to encourage as many visitors to Canberra as possible, realistically, not everyone is going to have that opportunity.
That opportunity lies elsewhere. That opportunity lies in the digitisation of our national treasures.
In September I attended the Belfer Center’s Conference on Technology and Governance 2.0. The conference featured amazing attendees – Ellen Miller (Sunlight), Mike Klein (Sunlight), Karen Gordon Mills (US Small Business Administration), Mitch Kapor (Electronic Frontier Foundation), Paul Sagan (Akamai), Susan Crawford (Cardozo), Jonathan Zittrain (Harvard), Nicco Mele (Harvard/Echo Ditto), Archon Fung (Harvard), Tim Berners-Lee (W3C), Clay Shirky (NYU/Harvard), Zephyr Teachout (Fordham/Harvard), and a bunch of other amazing people in the field of technology and governance.
I was there as an attendee, but also had the privilege of participating on a panel with Aneesh Chopra (CTO of the U.S.A), Ian Freed (V.P Amazon kindle) and HKS students Seth Flaxman (he’s also the founder of TurboVote) and Philip Schroegel, moderated by Mary Jo Bane, Academic Dean and Thornton Bradshaw Professor of Public Policy and Management.
Our topic was what “Kennedy School Students Entering the Digital World: A Discussion with Aneesh Chopra & Ian Freed.”
In general, I think the Kennedy School is an excellent institution in most ways. Great professors are teaching in the field; there are several centers (Shorenstein Center for Press, Politics, and Public Policy, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation) that support efforts in this areas; students are demanding more courses in gov/tech (as evidenced by the enrollments in Nicco‘s and Clay‘s courses); there are great speakers series, there’s a vibrant gov20 student community; and a committed external community (including alums) interested in engaging with the school to push it forward in this field.
However, the Technology and Governance 2.0 conference convinced me even more that you need academic institutions in this debate.