This document sets out key issues identified in the final plenary session at the AIATSIS research symposium on information technologies and Indigenous communities.
Over 70 papers were presented at ITIC on the use of information technologies by Indigenous peoples. Illustrating the strength and vibrancy of the sector, presentations were delivered on programs, projects and research being implemented and undertaken by a range of community organisations, institutions and researchers across Australia. ITIC demonstrated the growing presence of an impressive and exciting IT sector in which digital media is being used in diverse and creative ways by Indigenous Australians to support, for example, innovation, employment, training and governance, as well as the production, maintenance and transmission of culture. The sector builds on over 30 years of cultural and social capital in IT and Indigenous communities. The use of digital media was showcased in a range of programs and initiatives spanning education, language, health and wellbeing, local and national digital archiving repositories, and the burgeoning creative industries and broadcasting sectors.
The symposium highlighted the ability of IT to generate unique opportunities for income generation and local enterprise development. In particular, ITIC demonstrated the key capacity of IT to engage young people, particularly in creative media, thus providing new platforms for formal and informal training to support personal and career development.
Overall, the symposium revealed not only the extent and variety of services already provided through IT by Indigenous people for the communities (both Indigenous and non-Indigenous) in which they live, but also the clear benefits arising from increasing engagement with digital media and the digital economy, and the potential for future growth. IT harnesses many crucial aspects associated with the economic future of Indigenous communities across the country.