Skip to main content

Supporting Indigenous rights and interests in data

Jane Anderson and Maui Hudson

A webinar hosted by AIATSIS in association with Local Contexts

This event has now concluded.


The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) is pleased to host an online discussion with representatives from Local Contexts.

The webinar explores the Traditional Knowledge and Biocultural Labels and Notices and examines the significance of this work and the practical implications for communities, researchers and institutions.

Local Contexts: Grounding Indigenous Rights

Every Indigenous community has cultural and biological collections within archives, libraries, and museums that they do not own, do not control, and cannot govern circulation over. Significant information about these collections, including names and proper provenance information is absent. Increasing digitisation across the cultural heritage sector continues to disregard Indigenous rights. This affects cultural memory, the accuracy of historical narratives, and present day Indigenous culture, health, and well-being. It is a critical matter for Indigenous knowledge and data sovereignty.

The Local Contexts initiative supports Indigenous communities in the management of their intellectual property and cultural heritage within the digital environment by offering legal, extra-legal and educational strategies to navigate complex inequities in the management of Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP). Integrating Indigenous Rights, law, policy and Data Science, this initiative supports the development of Indigenous based protocols, standard setting mechanisms and machine-focused technology to inform policy and access and use conditions in order to transform institutional and research practices. Providing strategic resources and practical solutions Local Contexts is moving towards a new paradigm of rights and responsibilities which recognises the inherent sovereignty that Indigenous communities have over their cultural heritage. It offers a model that addresses the problem of public domain materials and third party owned Indigenous content currently divorced from local communities through a system of digital labelling. 

The Local Contexts initiative emerged from the Mukurtu CMS platform’s use of Traditional Knowledge fields to incorporate Traditional Knowledge and copyright concerns. The Traditional Knowledge and Biocultural Labels and Notices have been designed to assist Indigenous communities to encode information into collection and research metadata. The Labels and Notices allow for greater Indigenous control in articulating appropriate access and use conditions, attribution and provenance information. The webinar hosted by AIATSIS will also explore the Local Contexts Hub, an interactive portal that will allow communities to adapt Traditional Knowledge and Biocultural Labels to contextual needs and facilitate the generation of Notices by researchers and institutions.


Last updated: 27 August 2021