Talk:Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies

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Non-Notable Individuals[edit]

The proposed articles (links for individuals without articles) are unnecessary. I believe one can safely assume that most of these people would fail the notability guidelines of Wikipedia. It is also questionable whether these lists of individuals should even be included. The article would be much more informative if it was enhanced with respect to information about the institute (history, mission, projects, etc.) and not the people that belong to the institute. Leeannedy 21:27, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

Aboriginal Studies Press[edit]

In keeping with its mandated functions, AIATSIS has been publishing Aboriginal Studies material since the 1980s. The Institute’s publishing arm is Aboriginal Studies Press (ASP) (formerly AIAS). The AIATSIS Research Publications became an imprint in 2011.[1] With the Research program, ASP publishes the Australian Aboriginal Studies (AAS) journal.[2] All Aboriginal Studies Press-branded titles are peer-reviewed and the majority are published concurrently in print and several ebook formats. The first phone app was published in 2013.[3]

Since the 1980s, titles published by ASP have included research reports, monographs, biographies, autobiographies, family and community histories,[4] fictionalised history and children’s books. Since 2005 the list has aligned more closely with the Institute’s research focus. Most publications derive from academic research, some funded by AIATSIS.[5] Cleared out (2005) won two WA Premier’s Book Awards[6] and inspired the multi-award winning documentary film, Contact.[7] The creation of both the book and film reflect strong family and community engagement. Some Aboriginal authors like Doreen Kartinyeri[8] and Joan Martin[9] chose to write with non-Aboriginal oral historians.

The Little Red Yellow Black Book[10] was shortlisted with its companion website[11] in the Australian Publishers Association Educational Awards, and is used widely in cross-cultural training, along with the Aboriginal Australia map. Previous milestone publications include After 200 years (which has been previously referenced above) and The Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia.[12]

ASP also publishes the Stanner Award[13] winner for a manuscript by an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, which recognises the importance of being published to emerging academics. The Publishing Advisory Committee[14] makes recommendations to the AIATSIS Principal and Aboriginal Studies Press about which manuscripts to publish from those submitted. Aboriginal Studies Press has national and international print and ebook distribution.[15]


  1. ^ For further information see the AIATSIS Research Publications at
  2. ^ For further information see the Australian Aboriginal Studies journal at
  3. ^ Aboriginal Studies Press 2006, "An Information Kit for Indigenous Authors", Canberra, pp. 3-4, available online at
  4. ^ AIATSIS, "AIATSIS Annual Report 2012-13", p. 64, available online at (accessed 3 July 2014).
  5. ^ AIATSIS, "AIATSIS Annual Report 2011-12", pp. 57 and 59.
  6. ^ Wikipedia contributors, "Western Australian Premier's Book Awards", Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed 12 May 2014).
  7. ^ For further information see
  8. ^ Kartinyeri and Anderson 2008, Doreen Kartinyeri: My Ngarrindjeri calling, Aboriginal Studies Press, p. 206.
  9. ^ Martin and Shaw 2011, Joan Martin (Yaarna): A Widi woman, Aboriginal Studies Press, p. xii.
  10. ^ Pascoe and AIATSIS 2012, "The Little Red Yellow Black Book: An introduction to Indigenous Australia" (Third Edition), Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra; see also AIATSIS, "AIATSIS Annual Report 2008-09", p. 18.
  11. ^
  12. ^ Wikipedia contributors, "Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia", Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed 12 May 2014).
  13. ^ For further details see
  14. ^ AIATSIS, "AIATSIS Annual Report 2012-13", p. 61.
  15. ^ AIATSIS, "AIATSIS Annual Report 2012-13", p. 66.

Artemis17au (talk) 05:54, 12 May 2014 (UTC)

Provide sourcing. --JustBerry (talk) 22:23, 26 May 2014 (UTC)

Changes to "History" section[edit]


I've made some changes/additions to the History section, which I thought it might be easier to outline here. It's a work-in-progress, but I have started by shuffling the content around into more manageable subsections that are in a more chronological order. I have also removed one or two sentences that were not referenced and for which I could find no reference online, eg "The report on the conference indicated agreement that an Institute was needed." - had no reference, and was implied in the fact that the institute was then created. Also not necessarily accurate to say that one led directly to the other since the interim council was created two years before the report from this conference was published.

So far I've only completed the subsection "The Proposal and the Interim Council", but there I have added a bunch of references and provided more context at the beginning and more detail about the proposal to Cabinet, the conference attendees and the activities of the Interim Council in drafting the constitution.

If anyone has any feedback or info on sources I can look at for more detail on what the Interim Council did between 1961-1964 that would be great!

LizLou (talk) 05:09, 27 October 2014 (UTC)

More changes, to subsection "AIAS Early Years":

More citations added.

Added the official functions of the original Institute and more information about the founding Principal of the AIAS. Included more details about prominent parts of the Institute established at that time - the Film Unit and Aboriginal Studies Press. More information about their ongoing work will be added to the later subsections, where they fit chronologically.

LizLou (talk) 22:17, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

Proposed text for History subsection "1.3 Self Determination and the Institute (1970-1989)"[edit]

Below is the text I am proposing to replace the existing content under this subsection. Some of the existing text is incorporated here and other areas expand on the existing information, as well as new parts that aren't currently covered. Comments, suggested references and advice welcome! LizLou (talk) 02:53, 11 November 2014 (UTC)

The 1970’s marked a period of change for the AIAS. This began with the appointment of the first Aboriginal member of the AIAS Council in 1970.[1] Phillip Roberts, an Alawa man,[2][3] served on the Council from September 1970 until June 1972.[4]

This was followed in 1971 with a second Aboriginal Council member, Senator Neville Bonner, who served on Council until 1974 and for a second term in the late 1970’s. And again in 1972, with the appointment of Dick Roughsey to replace Phillip Roberts at the end of his term.[5]

The appointment of Phillip Roberts to the Council reflected a growing pressure for an increase in Aboriginal representation within the Institute.[6] But the move did not allay the belief held by some Aboriginal activists that the AIAS was engaging in ‘tokenism’ in the extent to which Aboriginal people were involved in the administration of Aboriginal Studies. [7]

The changes to the Institute that would take place in the following decade were also influenced by the shifting social and political landscape in Australia.[8] The Aboriginal rights movement was growing[9] and Aboriginal people were demanding a voice on Council, consultation with communities and an increased focus on projects relevant to the needs of Indigenous people.[10]

In 1972, the Whitlam government was elected. Their policy of Self-determination for Aboriginal people echoed calls for greater Aboriginal involvement in the administration and functions of the AIAS.[11][12] The new government was also responsible for a significant boost to AIAS funding.[13]

The appointment of Peter Ucko in 1972 as Principal of the AIAS has since been described as the beginning of an increase in involvement of Aboriginal people in the workings of the Institute.[14]

In his time as Principal, Ucko was responsible for implementing a policy later labelled “Aboriginalisation”, which was aimed at opening up the Institute to Aboriginal involvement and representation.[15] This policy was influenced by a document circulated in 1974, called the Eaglehawk and Crow letter, which criticised the current model of academic research.[16] Its authors called for increased participation of Aboriginal people in the running of the Institute and for training of Aboriginal people to be researchers in their own right.[17]

The policy and structural changes to the Institute continued throughout the 1970’s.

The Aboriginal Advisory Committee was established in 1975, and consisted of the six Aboriginal members of the AIAS Council.[18] Early recommendations including increased representation of Aboriginal people on committees and the AIAS Council as well as employment at the Institute.[15] The committee was renamed in 1978, to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee.[19]

In 1975-1976, a category of research grants for Aboriginal researchers was introduced.Cite error: The opening <ref> tag is malformed or has a bad name (see the help page). The emergence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people filling the role of ‘cultural practitioner’, travelling to the AIAS to provide advice on projects and research being undertaken, was also documented from around 1976 onwards.[20]

The time Peter Ucko spent as Principal of the AIAS saw a phase of “rapid expansion”[14] for the Institute.

The AIAS Film Unit that had operated in Sydney until 1973 was re-established in Canberra in 1975. Prominent American-born ethnographic filmmaker David MacDougall was appointed as the Director of this new AIAS Film Unit. With his wife and filmmaking partner Judith, and Kim McKenzie, the Film Unit operated until 1988 when its functions was absorbed back into the Institute.[13]

During the MacDougall/McKenzie era, a new style of ethnographic film was explored.[21] One that moved away from film as a scientific record in favour of telling the story of individuals lives.[13] The filmmakers also practiced a more collaborative approach to their films, and chose to use translations and subtitles to give direct access to the subjects voice and thoughts rather than the dominant ‘voice of god’ narration style.[21][22]

One of the most notable films produced towards the end of this period was Waiting for Harry, a prize-winning film[23] directed by Kim McKenzie with anthropologist Les Hiatt and now considered to exemplify the “style of collaborative filmmaking” the Film Unit favoured in their work.[21]

The power of film to “influence opinion”[13] was becoming increasingly recognised and with this, the lack of representation of Aboriginal people telling their own stories. In 1978, a meeting chaired by prominent activist and academic Marcia Langton expressed these concerns, arguing for greater access to film and video in Aboriginal communities, and training in film production by the AIAS.[13]

By the following year, the AIAS Film Unit had begun to implement a training program[13] and had started employing trainee Aboriginal filmmakers on productions by the early 1980’s.[24]

Another notable milestone of this period was the Aboriginal Studies Press first publication of a book written by an Aboriginal person. This happened in 1977, with the release of the book The Two Worlds of Jimmie Barker: the Life of an Australian Aboriginal, 1900-1972 by Jimmie Barker and Janet Mathews.[25][26]

The AIAS began presenting a biennial Wentworth Lecture in 1978, named as a tribute to W.C. Wentworth for his role in establishing the Institute.[9] The lecture is presented by prominent person with knowledge or experience relating to issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia today. The purpose of the lecture series is to 'encourage all Australians to gain a better understanding of issues that go to the heart of our development as a nation.'[27] Prominent Aboriginal people have presented a number of the lectures.[28]

The expansion of the Institute continued into the 1980’s. The Aboriginal Studies Press began publishing the Australian Aboriginal Studies Journal in 1983, a peer-reviewed journal aimed at “promoting high-quality research in Australian Indigenous studies.”[29]

In 1982, the AIAS established a task force that identified the prevailing need for further ‘Aboriginalisation’ of the Institute’s workforce. At the time, there were four Aboriginal staff members, making up around 7% of the total staff.[30] This was followed in 1985 with the creation of the role of Aboriginal Studies Coordination Officer within the AIAS, whose responsibilities involved improving access for Aboriginal people to the research and resources of the Institute.[9]

The Rock Art Protection Program (RAPP) commenced in 1986 following a request for such an initiative by the then Minister of Aboriginal Affairs Clyde Holding. The aim of the RAPP was to protect Australian Indigenous rock art. Grants were approved by the Institute to fund various projects related to rock art protection.[31]

The collections were also expanding, and by 1987 the AIATSIS library encompassed the print collections, a special Bibliographic Section and the Resource Centre (which contained the Institute’s audiovisual materials).[9]

Between 1987 and 1989, the survival of the AIAS as an independent statutory body was tied to a proposal for a new statutory commission that would take over all aspects of the Aboriginal Affairs portfolio.[32] This commission would become the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC), conceived in an Act of Parliament in 1989.[33][34] The AIAS would not be folded into this commission; instead it would be recreated under a new Act with a new name.[35]

  1. ^ Lambert, Jacqueline, A History of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies 1959 -1989: An analysis of how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people achieved control of a national research institute, thesis submitted for the Doctor of Philosophy, Menzies Library, Australian National University, November 2011, p106
  2. ^ ‘Indigenous Rights: Phillip Roberts’, National Museum of Australia website,, retrieved 10 November 2014
  3. ^ Pilling, A. R. (1963), '‘I, the Aboriginal’, Douglas Lockwood', American Anthropologist, 65: 1152–1153. doi: 10.1525/aa.1963.65.5.02a00280
  4. ^ Lambert 2011, p106
  5. ^ Lambert 2011, p128
  6. ^ Lambert 2011, p106
  7. ^ Widders, Thompson, Bellear & Watson (1974), Eaglehawk and Crow: an open letter concerning the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies, 29 March, AIAS, cited in Lambert 2011, p142
  8. ^ Lambert 2011, p107
  9. ^ a b c d Chapman, Valerie (1988), 'The Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies', Resources for Australian Studies in the ACT, Biskup, Peter & Goodman, Doreen (eds), Centre for Library and Information Studies, CCAE, pp194-214
  10. ^ Mulvaney, D. J. 'Reflections', Antiquity, Vol. 80, no. 308, June 2006, pp 425-434,
  11. ^ Rolls, Mitchell & Johnson, Murray, Historical Dictionary of Australian Aborigines, Scarecrow Press, Maryland, 2011, p xxv
  12. ^ Pratt, Angela, ‘Make or Break? A Background to the ATSIC Changes and the ATSIC Review’, Parliament of Australia website,, retrieved 10 November 2014
  13. ^ a b c d e f Bryson, Ian (2002), Recording culture in transition, Bringing to Light: a history of ethnographic filmmaking at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra, pp 52-73
  14. ^ a b Shennan, Stephen, ‘Peter Ucko Obituary’, The Guardian, 9 July 2007,, retrieved 10 November 2014
  15. ^ a b Moser, Stephanie, ‘The Aboriginalisation of Archaeology’, in Ucko, Peter J (ed) Theory in Archaeology: A World Perspective, Routledge, London, 1995, p152
  16. ^ Mulvaney, John (2011), Digging Up the Past, University of NSW Press, Sydney, p186
  17. ^ Gray, Geoffrey (2007), A Cautious Silence: The Politics of Australian Anthropology, Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra, p226
  18. ^ Lambert 2011, p164
  19. ^ Lambert 2011, p185
  20. ^ Lambert 2011, p175
  21. ^ a b c 'Australian Ethnographic Film', Australian Screen Online website,, retrieved 10 November 2014
  22. ^ MacDougall, David, 'Subtitling Ethnographic Films: Archetypes into Individualities', Visual Anthropology Review, 11 (1): 83-91
  23. ^ ‘Waiting for Harry’, Royal Anthropological Institute website,, retrieved 11 November 2014
  24. ^ ‘A Short History of Indigenous Filmmaking’, Australian Screen Online website,, retrieved 10 November 2014
  25. ^ Heiss, Anita (2003), Dhuuluu-Yala - To Talk Straight, Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra, p 57
  26. ^ ‘Barker, James (Jimmie)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography Online,, retrieved 10 November 2014
  27. ^ ‘The Wentworth Lecture’, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) website,, retrieved 11 November 2014
  28. ^ ‘The Wentworth Lecture’, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) website,, retrieved 11 November 2014
  29. ^ ‘Australian Aboriginal Studies online’, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (AIATSIS) website,, retrieved 10 November 2014
  30. ^ Lambert 2011, p280
  31. ^ Ward. Graeme K, 'The role of AIATSIS in research and protection of Australian rock art', in: Rock Art Research. Vol 28, no. 1 (May 2011), p 7-16
  32. ^ Lambert 2011, pp288-308
  33. ^ Pratt, Angela, ‘Make or Break? A Background to the ATSIC Changes and the ATSIC Review’, Parliament of Australia website,, retrieved 10 November 2014
  34. ^ Palmer, Kingsley, ‘ATSIC: Origins and Issues for the Future’, A Critical Review of Public Domain Research and Other Materials, AIATSIS Research Discussion Paper # 12, 2004, p5,, retrieved 10 November 2014
  35. ^ ‘Our history’, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) website,, retrieved 10 November 2014

Publications section[edit]

I suggest that we move the links from the publication section (and yes, I was the one who added some of those links) to the 'external links' section, and populate the 'Publications' section with some text about AIATSIS publications, their history, status, etc.

And btw, I inserted a Reflist command to make the references list for the proposed text from the preceding section appear at the end of that section, rather than staying at the end of the page (and thus interfering with anyone posting something new here). Dougg (talk) 03:15, 27 November 2014 (UTC)

Yeah, these three publications in the list are already mentioned in the ASP text that should be over in the main article soon. They could be external links as well? LizLou (talk) 04:18, 2 December 2014 (UTC)
I was going to suggest that we could have a publications section, with an ASP subsection and a subsection for list of publications, but someone is working on an ASP article so that's a level of detail that might be better off over there. Since there are non-ASP publications, we could maybe do a Publications section that includes an ASP subsection and an other publications (or something) subsection? LizLou (talk) 04:21, 2 December 2014 (UTC)

Yep, that sounds like a good idea. Dougg (talk) 06:38, 3 December 2014 (UTC)

Ethical research[edit]

Sorry, I updated a bunch of information and citations in the Ethical research section and forgot to log in before doing so... so those changes made a few minutes ago were me! LizLou (talk) 22:30, 2 March 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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