The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) is a world-renowned research, collections and publishing organisation. We promote knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, traditions, languages and stories, past and present.
We care for a priceless collection, including films, photographs, video and audio recordings as well as the world’s largest collection of printed and other resource materials for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander studies. We undertake and encourage scholarly, ethical, community-based research in a variety of sectors, including health, native title, languages and education. Our publishing house, Aboriginal Studies Press, regularly publishes outstanding writing that promotes Australian Indigenous cultures.
Our activities affirm and raise awareness of the richness and diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories.
We understand ourselves through places like AIATSIS. Through places like AIATSIS, we can wake up the people with knowledge… There might be precious mysteries to help us understand ourselves again. We can look to the past to find our way.Wanta Jampijinpa Pawu-Kurlpurlurnu (Steve Jampijinpa Patrick), Lajamanu, NT
Our functions are established under the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Act 1989. They are:
- to develop, preserve and provide access to a national collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage;
- to use that national collection to strengthen and promote knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage;
- to provide leadership in the fields of:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research; and
- ethics and protocols for research, and other activities relating to collections, related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; and
- use (including use for research) of that national collection and other collections containing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage;
- to lead and promote collaborations and partnerships among the academic, research, non-government, business and government sectors and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in support of the other functions of the Institute;
- to provide advice to the Commonwealth on the situation and status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage.
We are an Australian Government statutory authority established under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013. The Minister responsible for AIATSIS is the Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion, Minister for Indigenous Affairs. We sit within the portfolio of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.
What we do