About us

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Local in focus but global in impact, our vision is a world in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge and cultures are recognised, respected, celebrated and valued.

We are Australia's only national institution focused exclusively on the diverse history, cultures and heritage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia.

We have a growing collection of over 1 million items encompassing films, photographs, audio recordings, art and artefacts, printed and other resource materials.

We conduct research to the highest ethical standards, directly benefiting the communities we work with.

We publish award-winning books, journals, CDs, DVDs and apps that engage people with the story of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia.

Our partnerships span the globe, including government, academic, corporate, cultural and community sectors.

Our unique and dynamic convergence of knowledge, resources and expertise enable us to tell the nation's story and enhance the lives of all Australians.

We understand ourselves through places like AIATSIS. Through places like AIATSIS, we can wake up the people with knowledge… There might be precious mysteries to help us understand ourselves again. We can look to the past to find our way.

Wanta Jampijinpa Pawu-Kurlpurlurnu (Steve Jampijinpa Patrick), Lajamanu, NT

Our functions are established under the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Act 1989. They are:

  • to develop, preserve and provide access to a national collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage;
  • to use that national collection to strengthen and promote knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage;
  • to provide leadership in the fields of:
    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research; and
    • ethics and protocols for research, and other activities relating to collections, related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; and
    • use (including use for research) of that national collection and other collections containing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage;
  • to lead and promote collaborations and partnerships among the academic, research, non-government, business and government sectors and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in support of the other functions of the Institute;
  • to provide advice to the Commonwealth on the situation and status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage.

We are an Australian Government statutory authority established under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.

The Minister responsible for AIATSIS is the Senator the Hon. Ken Wyatt AM, Minister for Indigenous Australians. We sit within the portfolio of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

What we do

Governance

Further information

 

Last reviewed: 2 Mar 2020