Strategic priority 4: Indigenous Connections

Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures are some of the longest continuous cultures in the world. Some of Australia’s oldest audiovisual records are a living testimony of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural customs and ways of life. Indigenous communities are also keen adopters and agile users of audiovisual media for cultural maintenance, from mainstream feature film and published popular music to community production in language. Audiovisual media, particularly in the context of remote Indigenous broadcasting and online multimedia publication, adds a unique voice to the canon of contemporary audiovisual production and supports national priorities such as closing the gap in digital literacy, preserving language and creating employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Outcome: We will work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and partners to showcase their stories and works, provide training opportunities in audiovisual archiving practices and ensure the appropriate management of Indigenous audiovisual collection materials.

Objective Initiatives/strategies to achieve against outcome and objectives, 2017–18 to 2020–21 Target 2017–18 Result 2017–18
Objective 4A Work with communities and leaders in the sector to ensure that the NFSA is aligned with the cultural directions and aspirations of traditional owners 4A.1 Support an Indigenous Connections Committee of the NFSA Board to guide our policy, strategy, partnership development and delivery Indigenous Connections subcommittee established and operating Achieved
4A.2 Manage NFSA’s Indigenous Collection to the highest standards and according to best practice Indigenous Collection managed in line with the NFSA Collection Policy and Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property (ICIP) Protocols Achieved
4A.3 Provide training and development opportunities for Indigenous archive professionals in audiovisual archiving practices NFSA partners to deliver Indigenous Remote Archival Fellowship program Achieved
Objective 4B Celebrate and showcase the stories of Australia’s Indigenous peoples through the media of recorded sound, film and digital, both nationally and internationally 4B.1 Embed the delivery of a suite of Indigenous programs into NFSA programming schedules Four dedicated Indigenous program elements delivered in the reporting period* Achieved
4B.2 Work with partners to redevelop Black Screen to communicate Indigenous screen culture to audiences nationally and internationally Black Screen screenings delivered to 4000 participants 4066
Objective 4C Develop plans and guidelines to implement concrete actions that build respectful relationships and create opportunities for Indigenous Australians 4C.1 Develop and implement a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) for the NFSA RAP developed and implemented Partially achieved
4C.2 Continue to increase awareness of, and confidence in applying, Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP) rights across the NFSA workforce Ongoing support for staff across the NFSA in understanding and applying ICIP Protocols Achieved
Criterion source: Corporate Plan 2017–18 to 2020–21 page 11 and PBS page 161
* Portfolio Budget Statements 2017–18 target
 

Objective 4A

Work with communities and leaders in the sector to ensure that the NFSA is aligned with the cultural directions and aspirations of traditional owners.

4A.1 Support an Indigenous Connections Committee of the NFSA Board to guide our policy, strategy, partnership development and delivery

Target Result
Indigenous Connections subcommittee established and operating Achieved
Criterion source: Corporate Plan 2017–18 to 2020–21 page 11 and PBS page 161
 

What we achieved

The Indigenous Connections Committee met for its inaugural meeting on 18 July 2017. The Committee is led by NFSA Board Deputy Chair, Wayne Denning, and the independent members are Terri Janke (from Terri Janke and Company), Jason Eades (Indigenous Consultant) and Amanda Hayman (previously at Kuril Dhagun, State Library of Queensland).

In 2017–18 Kim Ledger (NFSA Board Member) and Marcus Hughes (Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences) were appointed to the Committee. Jason Eades resigned from the Committee in June 2018.

The Committee met four times during 2017–18. Committee members have provided advice and support to the NFSA Manager Indigenous Connections relating to the NFSA Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) 2018–2020 and various programs within Indigenous Connections relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

4A.2 Manage the NFSA’s Indigenous Collection to the highest standards and according to best practice

Target Result
Indigenous Collection managed in line with the NFSA Collection Policy and Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property (ICIP) Protocols Achieved
Criterion source: Corporate Plan 2017–18 to 2020–21 page 11 and PBS page 161
 

What we achieved

The NFSA Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property (ICIP) Protocols are currently being reviewed and an ICIP Working Group will be established in 2018–19. This group will be led by the Manager Indigenous Connections, working with the Senior Manager, Access and Commercial and specific staff across various areas of the organisation.

Our Collection Reference team continues to apply ICIP protocols when managing requests from the NFSA Indigenous Collection.

Collection Stewardship maintains discrete secure storage for collection material identified as culturally sensitive, with our collection management system Mediaflex ensuring that protocols for handling and access are managed respectfully by staff.

In the first half of 2018, Indigenous Connections and the Rights Management team commenced a project to identify Indigenous materials from our collection with Restricted Access conditions. This project will continue in 2018–19 and involves identifying the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and/or peoples who are connected to these audiovisual materials. This project will enable better access to the collection and, most importantly, more effective engagement with the relevant cultural knowledge holders to determine the most appropriate cultural advice when safekeeping collection materials.

In June 2018, the Chief Curator and Manager Indigenous Connections visited Alice Springs to meet with the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA) and the Strehlow Research Centre to discuss the management of our collection materials from each organisation. This is the beginning of ongoing discussions and forging stronger working relationships in 2018–19.

4A.3 Provide training and development opportunities for Indigenous archive professionals in audiovisual archiving practices

Target Result
NFSA partners to deliver Indigenous Remote Archival Fellowship program Achieved
Criterion source: Corporate Plan 2017–18 to 2020–21 page 11 and PBS page 161
 

What we achieved

In September 2017, we hosted a team from Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Media (PY Media). Based in Umuwa in South Australia, PY Media has been broadcasting since the 1980s. As the recipients of the Indigenous Remote Archival Fellowship, we welcomed Thomas Holder (PY Media Manager), Amos Frank (PY Media Chair) and radio station staff Bradley Roberts and Jacob Thompson. They toured our facilities at Acton and Mitchell, met Collection Management staff, learned about the work that goes into preserving our collection and examined how they might apply this knowledge to working on their own collections.

SNAPSHOT INDIGENOUS CONNECTIONS: A NEW ERA

Indigenous awareness and active engagement at all levels of the organisation is a fundamental commitment. The NFSA Board’s Indigenous Connections Committee supports this commitment as they work with us to guide our policy, strategy, partnership development and delivery of Indigenous Connections in all forms.

In 2017, the work of Indigenous Connections has focused on policy, strategy and engagement across all areas of the NFSA. We are leading the development, refinement and implementation of Indigenous policies which support the appropriate management of our Indigenous Collection and engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities and organisations.

Indigenous Connections is guiding and supporting our staff to build their Indigenous cultural capability through training and practical experience, enabling staff to increase awareness and confidence in applying ICIP Protocols.

This year, we formed our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) Working Group to develop our first RAP. In June 2018 the Innovate RAP 2018–2020 was conditionally endorsed by Reconciliation Australia, for a formal launch later in the year. Submitted as a ‘reflect’ plan, Reconciliation Australia recommended it as an ‘innovate’ plan because we are further along in the process and already at the implementation stage.

We have increased our engagement with remote Indigenous media organisations and other Indigenous communities and organisations to confirm appropriate management of ICIP and to share our expertise with communities on country.

This has included conducting preservation needs assessments on collections in community, providing advice to communities on how to manage their audiovisual collections on country and hosting PY Media as part of the Indigenous Remote Archival Fellowship.

‘We came not knowing the higher technical aspects of audiovisual archiving processes and leave with more of an understanding about these important aspects of archiving.

The highlight has been the awakening we’ve been experiencing about the approaches we can take towards archiving what we’ve got and what we’re making. We’ve realised we’ve got to archive our future too.’

Thomas Holder, PY Media Manager

The Indigenous Remote Archival Fellowship is delivered in partnership with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) and the Indigenous Remote Communications Association (IRCA).

Objective 4B

Celebrate and showcase the stories of Australia’s Indigenous Peoples through the media of recorded sound, film and digital, both nationally and internationally

4B.1 Embed the delivery of a suite of Indigenous programs into NFSA programming schedules

Target Result
Four dedicated Indigenous program elements delivered in the reporting period* Achieved
Criterion source: Corporate Plan 2017–18 to 2020–21 page 11 and PBS page 161
* Portfolio Budget Statements 2017–18 target
 

What we achieved

Indigenous content featured regularly in our exhibitions, screenings and online publication including:

  • NAIDOC Week 2017 screenings of Mabo: Life of an Island Man (Trevor Graham, 2012) and People of the Western Desert (Ian Dunlop, 1967)
  • My Survival As An Aboriginal (Essie Coffey, 1978) included in NFSA Restores and screened at festivals and events throughout the year
  • an image from The Tracker (Rolf de Heer, 2002) featured in the ‘Starstruck: Australian Movie Portraits’ exhibition and we screened the film in our support program
  • online curated collections including Black and Deadly: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Female Music Stars
  • Black Divaz (Adrian Russell Wills, 2018) documentary screening about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander drag queens followed by live performances and Q&A with artists from the film.

4B.2 Work with partners to redevelop Black Screen to communicate Indigenous screen culture to audiences nationally and internationally

Target Result
Black Screen screenings delivered to 4000 participants 4066
Criterion source: Corporate Plan 2017–18 to 2020–21 page 11 and PBS page 161
 

What we achieved

Black Screen provides free community access to contemporary short films and documentaries by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander directors, producers and screenwriters. The program remains in high demand around the country as part of an ever-increasing awareness of, and desire for, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stories and films. Black Screen events are often part of community events, celebrations and festivals in regional and remote areas, such as NAIDOC Week and National Reconciliation Week.

Attendance at Black Screen for 2017–18 totalled 4066 which met our target.

A large percentage of Black Screen users are from government agencies and not-for-profit community groups, with a high number of repeat users.

We are currently redeveloping Black Screen to deliver it to a wider audience and to enhance the titles in the Black Screen catalogue.

Objective 4C

Develop plans and guidelines to implement concrete actions that build respectful relationships and

create opportunities for Indigenous Australians

4C.1 Develop and implement a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) for the NFSA

Target Result
RAP developed and implemented Partically achieved
Criterion source: Corporate Plan 2017–18 to 2020–21 page 11 and PBS page 161
 

What we achieved

We formed the RAP Working Group in November 2017 led by RAP champion and NFSA CEO Jan Müller and including staff from all over the NFSA. The RAP Working Group was instrumental in developing the final draft of the Innovate RAP 2018–2020, engaging our staff in the consultation process and delivering information sessions.

We have submitted the final draft of the RAP to Reconciliation Australia and received conditional endorsement. After official endorsement in 2018–19, we will launch the RAP and make it publicly available on the Reconciliation Australia and NFSA websites.

After launch, the Manager Indigenous Connections and the RAP Working Group will implement the RAP and monitor its progress throughout 2018–2020.

4C.2 Continue to increase awareness of, and confidence in applying, Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP) protocols across the NFSA workforce

Target Result
Ongoing support for staff across the NFSA in understanding and applying ICIP Protocols Achieved
Criterion source: Corporate Plan 2017–18 to 2020–21 page 11 and PBS page 161
 

What we achieved

Our ICIP Protocols are currently being reviewed and we will establish an ICIP Working Group in 2018–19. This group will be led by Manager Indigenous Connections and the Senior Manager, Access and Commercial and will involve staff from across our organisation. Once we update the ICIP protocols, we will provide targeted training for our staff to increase awareness of, and confidence in, applying these protocols and guidelines in their work. Our Collection Reference team continues to apply ICIP protocols when managing requests from the NFSA Indigenous Collection.

Throughout 2017–18, the NFSA Board, Indigenous Connections Committee, Senior Executive and Leadership teams and RAP Working Group all undertook online Cultural Competency Training through the Centre of Cultural Competence. The course provides our staff with foundation knowledge about the history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia, their cultures, and the effects of colonisation and government policies and practices. We anticipate offering this online training to more staff in 2018–19. In the meantime, our Manager Indigenous Connections continues to support staff in applying ICIP rights and Indigenous cultural protocols.