What is it about?

This case study outlines the development of a best practice guide for communication designers working with Australian Indigenous culture (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander). The motivations and process behind creating such a protocols document for Indigenous knowledge sharing is explored within the context of professional design practice.

Featured Image

Why is it important?

As Australia starts to acknowledge and celebrate its whole human history it will find a need re-think its identity. Australia is now recognising its indigeneity as it celebrates its claim to be ‘the home of the world's oldest continuous living cultures’. This a good thing however reflecting that claim within the broader Australian identity will require Indigenous led, cultural guidance for design practitioners and their clients. The Australian Indigenous Design Charter has been created to encourage and promote respectful knowledge sharing practice.


As declared by the United Nations, the representation and expressions of Indigenous culture needs to be led by its traditional owners and custodians. This message is becoming important as Australia increasingly embraces its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history. Elevated visibility and recognition has the potential to positively impact on the self-esteem and well-being of Indigenous Australians, however it is vital that any contemporary expression of traditional culture respect the essence of meaning and ownership. The design profession and industry as a whole need to understand their responsibility and support the quest for best practice in this area of cultural representation.

Russell Kennedy
Deakin University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The Australian indigenous design charter: communication design. The development of a guide for respectful professional practice, Communication Design, July 2017, Taylor & Francis,
DOI: 10.1080/20557132.2017.1385253.
You can read the full text:



The following have contributed to this page