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About the Remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Audiovisual Collections Plan

Overview

The Remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Audiovisual Collections Plan has being developed in response to a range of current and growing risks in the remote collections that require urgent attention. The four critical risks are:

  1. The loss, through irrevocable deterioration of materials, of unique cultural and language materials.
  2. The loss of significant collections of high historical value to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through underdeveloped management arrangements.
  3. Lack of resourcing for staffing and operations.
  4. Lack of funding programs for remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait audiovisual collections.

In response to these risks the Indigenous Remote Communications Association initiated a Reference Group in October 2013 of remote representatives and major State/Territory/Australian collecting agencies to work towards the development of a Plan that would set the pathway for ensuring that the significant cultural and language resources held in the collections is not lost to the communities or the nation.

The Reference Group's work during 2014 resulted in the development of the Remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Audiovisual Collections Plan 2014-2016 and its release in November 2014.

Core ethics of the Plan

In the management of remote audiovisual collections, the National Plan recognises and values local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge and Law as guiding principles. 

The National Plan recognises local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as essential cultural authorities at the centre of all decision making associated with management of the collections.

Next steps
  • Development of recommendations on metadata, digital formats, digitisation technologies and processes, and pathways.
  • Development of an agreement process between major organisations involved in the implementation of the Plan on principles of implementation, information sharing, cooperative arrangements and other matters to be further discussed.
  • Sourcing of funding for targeted training programs.
  • Implementation of relevant actions of the Plan according to funding availablity.
More information

Susan Locke, Research and Projects Officer, IRCA. Email projects@irca.net.au

Daniel Featherstone, General Manager, IRCA. Email manager@irca.net.au


Access the Plan

Plan Summary Download (1016.84 KB))

Overview of the Plan (Powerpoint presentation) Download (21.67 MB)

For a copy of the full plan please email Susan Locke , IRCA Research and Projects Officer at projects@irca.net.au 


About the remote collections

Overview

Remote media organisations have been making audio and video recordings in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities since the early 1980s. The recordings are still held by these organisations in a range of formats and under a range of environmental and organisational conditions

Stretching from the early 1980s through to the present the collections provide an unbroken record of language usage, cultural knowledge, traditional skills, community events, family histories and oral histories.

The collections represent a unique set of audiovisual resources produced by and for remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, managed by cultural custodians according to local cultural protocols, and maintained on the countries to which the cultural and social content is directly connected.

The holding of the collections on country is essential for the custodians of the remote collections and the communities represented in the collections. The collections contain sensitive cultural content in terms of sacredness, sorry business, and protocols for viewing that can only be managed by local people. There is a need to keep the original media on country to ensure the cultural integrity of access. In a sense the media has itself become a sacred object that needs to be maintained locally by the cultural owners.

The collections have been created in accordance with remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander needs, wishes, and cultural protocols. They are collections that represent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander self-determination of who, where and what should be represented and how the representation is to be produced. They are not collections of content made by non-Aboriginal people about Aboriginal people.

The collections have a high value for education, as well as for cultural and personal affirmation, for language teaching, for social, cultural and linguistic research, and for researchers into the history of Aboriginal media.

The collections are important for the provision of culturally meaningful employment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in remote communities. Employment opportunities with the collections affirm the value of cultural knowledge and language proficiency and contribute to the wellbeing of people engaged in work with the collections.

Preservation and enhancement of the remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait audiovisual collections is a vital activity for the cultural heritage of local communities, for the provision of economic and social benefits to local communities, and as a contribution to the Indigenous cultural heritage of the nation.

Where are the collections?

Remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander audiovisual collections are located across remote Australia. Examples of the collections are:

1. The collections of the Remote Indigenous Media Organisations (RIMOs). RIMOs coordinate Remote Indigenous Broadcasting Services, also known as BRACS. RIMOs provide coordination services to 106 RIBS and media support to another 30 remote communities.

The RIMOs are:

  • Central Australia Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA). Alice Springs, NT
  • Ngaanyatjarra Media (NG Media). Irrunytju, WA
  • Pilbara and Kimberley Aboriginal Media (PAKAM). Broome, WA
  • Pintupi Anmatjerre Warlpiri Media (PAW Media). Yuendumu, NT. Also known as Walpiri Media Association.
  • Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Media (PY Media). Umuwa, NT
  • Queensland Remote Aboriginal Media (QRAM). Cairns, Qld.
  • Top End Aboriginal Bush Broadcasting Association Australia (TEABBA). Darwin, NT.
  • Torres Strait Islander Media Association (TSIMA). Thursday Island, Qld.

2. The collections of specialist remote community museums and cultural centres such as:

  • Buku-Larnggay Mulka Centre. Yirrkala, NT.
  • Kanamkek-Yile Ngala Museum. Wadeye, NT.

3. Specialist organisations and programs working directly with remote communities to build and further develop remote audiovisual collections. These include:

  • Ara Irititja Archival Project.
  • Community Stories program of the Northern Territory Library.
  • Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages ARC project.
  • Strehlow Research Centre. Alice Springs.

IRCA is seeking collaborations and partnerships with other relevant organisations and projects, including Arts Centres and Land Councils.