On January 19, 2012, twenty-eight participants convened at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC for the “After the Return: Digital Repatriation and the Circulation of Indigenous Knowledge” workshop, organized by Kimberly Christen, Joshua Bell and Mark Turin.

The workshop began with a lively keynote by Jim Enote, Director of the A:shiwi A:wan Museum and Heritage Center at Zuni, New Mexico.. Enote’s talk set the tone for the two and a half days of discussion that brought together scholars from diverse fields of anthropology, indigenous communities, and collecting institutions to document best practices and case studies in digital repatriation.

Over the course of the workshop, participants explored and shared experiences of digital return projects focused on linguistic revitalization of endangered languages, cultural revitalization of traditional practices and the creation of new knowledge stemming from the return of digitized material culture from the Arctic to Arizona. Participants sought to understand the broad impact of such technological changes and cultural needs on individual communities as well as regional and international networks.

Moving forward from this stimulating workshop, participants are now collaborating on a special issue of Museum Anthropology Review, developing themes raised at the workshop, including access and accountability, intellectual property rights and intangible cultural heritage, digital technologies and community collaboration and the circulation and transformation of knowledge through new digital networks and multiple publics. The Digital Return website will be expanding to include both research network and community resource links to promote discussion and provide resources for communities, institutions and researchers. Finally, participants will be exploring further grant opportunities to link cultural materials and digital tools with communities, particularly through the Recovering Voices initiative of the National Museum of Natural History, the Mukurtu indigenous archive tool and the World Oral Literature Projectbased at Cambridge and Yale universities. For a full list of participants, their projects and the workshop presentations please visit the Digital Return projects and presentations pages.