For over a century, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander faces, voices, dances, song and knowledge were recorded and stored by others, for others. They were framed, studied, interpreted and exploited for a variety of historical purposes, using a range of ethical and unethical means.
The collection at the NFSA is living proof of this, yet it is also a living archive – a treasure trove of information for Indigenous people.
The NFSA collection has contained culturally restricted materials since its inception in 1984, including feature films, documentaries, home movies and a large collection of ethnographic recordings made by universities and other academic institutions.
The NFSA stores and preserves culturally restricted materials for posterity and will direct clients to the source institutions for access. If this is not possible, access requests for this material must be made to the ICB (Indigenous Collection Branch) who will consider them on a case by case basis in conjunction with Indigenous permissions and protocols.
Where the material is held in another institution, the request will be referred to that institution. The Indigenous Collection Branch (ICB) provides for access to open titles in the Indigenous Collection for research, screenings, radio and television broadcast and documentary productions.