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Aboriginal Cultural Heritage in South Australia: Where to Next?

Deanne Hanchant-Nichols (University of South Australia)


In her opinion piece, Deanne Hanchant-Nichols, a Ngarrindjeri mi:mini (woman) with diverse Aboriginal family connections, reflects on the progress of the galleries, libraries, archives, and museums [GLAM] sector in collaborating with Indigenous communities. She observes a shift from tokenistic consultation towards meaningful engagement, where Indigenous voices are authentically integrated into exhibitions and programmes. The author highlights the example of Te Papa Museum in New Zealand, which successfully partnered with Māori Peoples to create an inclusive and engaging museum experience, contrasting this with the more colonial undertones in some Australian museums.

Hanchant-Nichols explores the concept of Tarrkarri, a proposed cultural centre at Lot 14 in Adelaide, South Australia, which aims to showcase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural treasures and contemporary works. She acknowledges the challenge of creating a space that genuinely reflects Indigenous culture while operating within a Western cultural paradigm. She emphasises the need for Tarrkarri to be a living cultural centre, accommodating the diverse needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, offering educative and entertainment elements, and maintaining cultural safety.

The author underscores the importance of collaboration with local Kaurna custodians and other cultural groups, respecting their perspectives. She acknowledges the significance of the site on Kaurna Country and the potential for Tarrkarri to establish an internationally renowned cultural centre. Hanchant-Nichols believes that Tarrkarri, with its potential to showcase both heritage and contemporary Indigenous knowledge, could not only excel in the GLAM space but also become a leader in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics [STEM] field, ultimately shaping a better future for all.



Hanchant-Nichols, D. (2024), "Aboriginal Cultural Heritage in South Australia: Where to Next?", Nichols, J. and Mehra, B. (Ed.) Data Curation and Information Systems Design from Australasia: Implications for Cataloguing of Vernacular Knowledge in Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums (Advances in Librarianship, Vol. 54), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 225-228.



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