Satellite Dreaming Revisited

A wiki-style website that describes and analyses the last four decades of Australian Indigenous media.

During mid-winter of 2020, I was invited onto the project by academic and project leader Tony Dowmunt, archivist Alex Wilson, and graphic designer Sophie Gibson.

The project was developed with Goldsmiths - University of London, in collaboration with CAAMA Productions, and funded by a fellowship grant from the Leverhulme Trust.

To best understand the site, please explore it first hand:

Initial visits to the site are presented with a warning in cultural sensitivity.

From a technical perspective, the site was created in a few distinct phases spread over nearly two years. Each phase tended to be structured around a focused month of work for my part.

Initial set-up: We discussed and defined the content architecture along the fields that would be required to author the content. The content lends itself to internal links so particular attention was paid towards how this would function for authors and visitors. Videos (hosted on Vimeo and embedded) can be linked to on specific timestamps. Having these granular URLs across the site aids sharing and research (ie: sharing with a future self). We leaned into a minimal visual style during this stage as we needed to have the breadth and bulk of content in place in order to design. 

Content population: With the groundwork laid, Tony and Alex could add and refine what was to be included in the site. They took notes of where adjustments, improvements and gaps needed attention in the next phase. If anything was urgent or blocking the process of adding content, I would attend to it though.

For example, at one stage we implemented a footnotes system which was useful for long-form essays such as Nobles and Savages on the Television, by Frances Peters-Little. This is another example of where the humble URL and anchor links (link to a specific point on a page) can be harnessed to provide a rich reading experience. 

Bringing it together for launch: We reconvened as a team to examine the site, design in some visual style, prepare the site to be publicly launched, and round out the visitor experience. The site soft-launched in Oct 2021 when it replaced a simpler version of the project. It was not until March 2022 though that formal launch occurred with a Q&A.

Technical architecture