Indigenous Art Workers Skill Up on Online Copyright


Ngayuku mamangku witira kanyini tjala kinara pakany tjanka (My father holding Honey ants when the moon is rising).
Winning image by Brenda Douglas from the Desart Photographic Exhibition Ngayuku mamangku witira kanyini tjala kinara pakany tjanka (My father holding honey ants when the moon is rising).

Indigenous art centre workers travelled from central Australian and western desert regions to learn how to better manage their photos and artworks online, in a workshop supported by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund.

The workshops formed part of the annual Desart Art Worker Professional Development Week, which provides training and mentoring to create employment opportunities for Aboriginal art workers.

Trish Adjei, Copyright Agency|Viscopy’s Indigenous Communications Coordinator and Legal Officer, presented to a group of arts centre workers about copyright, moral rights and issues around sharing images of artworks through social media, as part of breakout session led by Aboriginal Curator from Art gallery of South Australia, Coby Edgar.

“There’s a lot of interest in issues around copyright and art, especially with online distribution through social media becoming so popular.

“It’s now common for visitors take photos of artworks and post these images online when they visit a gallery or art centre and most art centre workers feel unsure about how to address this.

“We started by working through how they would like to see photographs from their art centres treated online, and what kinds of protocols they could develop and how they would go about putting these in place.

“We also considered how they could incorporate protocols that go beyond what copyright covers to help protect other Aboriginal customary practices like cultural expressions and images of people who have passed away,” she said.

Art workers at the session represented centres such as Tjala arts, Tjarlili arts, Warakurna arts and Barkly arts.

The week culminated in the presentation of the winner of the Desart Art Worker Photography prize, where art workers are given practical learning experience of taking images and curating for a photographic exhibition. Brenda Douglas from Tjala Arts won this year’s award with her image Ngayuku mamangku witira kanyini tjala kinara pakany tjanka (My father holding Honey ants when the moon is rising).

Sharing information at this workshop is just one of the many outreach activities Trish delivers to regional Indigenous communities as part of the Indigenous Education Program.

Desart is a peak body that supports and represents the interests of 43 art centres in Central Australia, most of which are owned and managed by Aboriginal people in their own communities.

The Desart Art Worker Photography Prize will be exhibited at Tangentyere Artists Gallery through to December 12, at 16 Fogarty Street Alice Springs.

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