In 2016 Ara Irititja became an Aboriginal Corporation – Ara Irititja Aboriginal Corporation (AIAC). AIAC ‘s members are other Aboriginal organisations across the Lands including the Pitjantjatjara Council, PY Media, PY Education Committee, NG Media and Indigenous Remote Communications Association (IRCA).
Institutional partnerships across Australia
The Ara Irititja project has developed working partnerships with public institutions that have collections of archival and cultural material. It is this material that Anangu wish to be repatriated with the help of the Ara Irititja database. In some instances, Memorandums of Understanding have been developed. We liaise with and draw upon the archival resources of:
- South Australian Museum, Adelaide SA
- State Library of South Australia, Adelaide SA
- Museum Victoria, Melbourne Vic
- Lutheran Archives, Adelaide SA
- National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra ACT
- National Museum of Australia, Canberra ACT
- Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), Canberra ACT
- Strehlow Research Centre, Alice Springs NT
- APY Umuwa
As an integral component of the partnerships with the State Library of SA, SA Museum, National Museum of Australia, and National Film and Sound Archive, Ara Irititja staff and Anangu consultants have been contracted to assess archival material and establish protocols for cultural sensitivities within the institutions’ collections. This process is also identifying valuable material that is currently inaccessible to Anangu.
In 2006, Ara Irititja began a partnership with University of Melbourne, School of Art History, Cinema, Classics and Archaeology to collaborate on IT and art history projects.
Further to the Northern Territory Library’s purchase of multiple Ara Irititja licences for their community libraries across remote parts of the NT, Ara Irititja and NTL worked together in 2007 and 2008 to transform the old FileMaker based software to a browser-based platform. The NT Library has established a very successful LKC (Libraries and Knowledge Centres) program using the Ara Irititja software, named ‘Our Story’. For this program, the Library achieved the $1.24 million ‘2007 Access to Learning Award’ by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
During the development of Ara Irititja, the value of collaborative partnerships has been clearly recognised. Mutually beneficial projects have been commenced and these directions are being followed by Ara Irititja:
- Facilitating APY elders (men and women) to advise cultural institutions such as AIATSIS, State Library of SA, SA Museum, National Museum of Australia, Strehlow Research Centre and the National Film and Sound Archive about the identity of and any cultural sensitivities within the material held by these institutions.
- Consolidating existing and pursuing new partnerships with Australian public collecting institutions.
- Pursuing joint projects and funding applications in already established partnerships, such as University of Melbourne, the Northern Territory Library and the State Library of SA.
- Working collaboratively with institutions for the repatriation of publicly-held family and cultural archival material (including men’s restricted and women’s restricted) to the Ara Irititja database.
- Working collaboratively with cultural institutions to increase public awareness of Indigenous culture, including presentation and exchange of culture at workshops and conferences.