The second wave: Aboriginal cultural centres in sustainable development
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Over the past 10 years there has been a widespread, localised, uncoordinated effort across Australia to create Aboriginal cultural centres. Generally funded by regional development bodies and/or local government, these centres focus on leveraging culture to drive human development (training, employment) while meeting a range of social and cultural goals. Among their goals are cultural events, engagement with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities, and education about Aboriginal cultural knowledge. They can be differentiated from the first wave of Aboriginal arts centres that began in the 1970s that were controlled by Aboriginal organisations in which the Federal government exercised influence via funding models, had the principle activity of facilitating the production and marketing of art, and tended to be in remote locations. The focus here is on an exemplar of the established, though still developing, second wave of Aboriginal cultural centres. This paper presents a hypothesis on the characteristics of the second wave of Aboriginal cultural centres and their alignment with state-defined priorities for sustainable development through the case study of an Aboriginal culture and heritage centre. Insights are drawn from key informant interviews about the creation and operation of Gwoondwardu Mia, the Gascoyne Aboriginal Heritage and Cultural Centre in Carnarvon, Western Australia.
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