GRASAC is an international research consortium led by Dr. Ruth Phillips, Canada Research Chair in Modern Culture at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Its membership is composed of both individuals and institutions in three non-exclusive constituencies: aboriginal community members, museum professionals and academic researchers. Membership is dependent upon members’ ability to contribute something of value to the goals of the project. I have been a core member since its founding in 2004, and a Board member since its constitution in 2007. A foremost aim of GRASAC is “virtual repatriation,” that is to provide aboriginal community members with access to items in museum collections and archives in virtual space instead of, and/or in preparation for, physical access at museums and/or actual repatriation from museums. GRASAC has begun to accomplish this goal by creating the GRASAC Knowledge Sharing (GKS) system, which consists of an original software design for entering detailed and multimedia records in an online searchable database. Additionally, through collaborative collections-based research with members of the GRASAC core group, GKS records are richly layered with the various kinds of expert knowledge the GRASAC members bring to the task, as well as series of digital images for each item that systematically document its formal, technical and functional attributes.
GRASAC team, British Museum, London, UK, 2007: (right to left) Ruth Phillips, John Borrows, Darlene Johnston, Laura Peers, Cory Willmott, Janice Monture, Stacey Loyer, Heidi Bohaker, Lindsay Borrows, Al Corbiere, Robert Storrie and Bruce Morito.