The AIATSIS Culture and Policy Symposium was held on the 6th of March in the Stanner Room. Attendees were treated to a line up of eminent keynote speakers who offered a variety of perspectives and real-world examples of how culture and policymaking interact.
AIATSIS CEO, Craig Ritchie gave the first presentation on The Culture Question. Mr Ritchie challenged various definitions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture in the public policy context and explained how policymaking can benefit from a more sophisticated understanding of culture at its foundation.
Professor Ian Anderson provided an analysis of how culture and policy interact from the perspective of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet before Professor Bronwyn Fredericks talked through the process and findings of the Queensland Productivity Commission’s Inquiry into service delivery to remote and discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Dr Donna Odegaard interrogated the role of the individual in cultural revitalisation and policymaking in her presentation, Champions of Change: culture, policy making and policy reform. The symposium’s international guest, Professor Tai Taiaiake Alfred, then provided a thought-provoking analysis of Indigenous Resurgence and State Responses in North America. In the final session, Associate Professor Ray Lovett drew on his experience leading the Mayi Kuwayu study to explore how cultural concepts can be defined and measured in ways that are meaningful to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, as well as policymakers.