Kirsten Thorpe (Worimi, Port Stephens NSW) is a professional archivist, who has led the development of protocols, policies, and services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in libraries and archives in Australia. Kirsten’s professional and research interests relate to Indigenous self-determination in libraries and archives. She has been involved in numerous projects that have involved the return of historic collections to Indigenous peoples and communities, and advocates for a transformation of practice to center Indigenous priorities and voice in regard to the management of data, records, and collections.
Kirsten joins the Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research as Cultural and Critical Archivist where she will continue research and engagement in relation to Indigenous protocols and decolonising practices in the library and archive field. Kirsten is an advocate for the ‘right of reply’ to records, as well as capacity building and support for the development of local Indigenous digital keeping places.
Kirsten was previously the Manager, Indigenous Services at the State Library of NSW where she led the development of strategies supporting state-wide information services for Indigenous people. This included support for Indigenous priorities and cultural competency across NSW Public Libraries, the launch of the Library’s first Indigenous Collecting Strategy, and projects that supported the documentation, return and revitalisation of Indigenous Australian languages through archival sources.
In 2018, Kirsten began PhD studies through Monash University to investigate the return and connection of Aboriginal community archives in the records continuum and archival multiverse.
Her PhD is funded by an Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarship.