The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies

The challenge

How might we develop a foundational digital-first audience engagement strategy and impact evaluation, that brings together the breadth of cultural knowledge, education and engagement initiatives of this organisation — and ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge and cultures are recognised, respected, celebrated and valued?

The Story

AIATSIS is Australia's only national institution focused exclusively on the diverse history, cultures and heritage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia — a task which saw us engage with users, knowledge contributors, philanthropists and community organisations to develop a future-ready digital strategy that would be a platform for cultural knowledge and restoration.

Ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were central to our process — we consulted with community and stakeholders alike to better understand their needs.

Beginning in 2015, launching a new website in 2020 and over the 12-months into 2021, our team conducted face-to-face interviews, facilitated discussion groups,and co-created scenario-planning models for the future-state of AIATSIS key engagement platform at and design an evaluation methodology which would measure the impact of the organisation's marketing, publishing, engagement and communications initiatives.

During the course of this engagement, we conducted a national study into the Australian general public's perceptions, barriers and aspirations to learn and engage with Indigenous knowledge and culture; the outcomes of which were used to recreate the organsiation's communication strategy and influence the development of the impact evulation methodology.

It was truly a privilege to work with this culturally significant organisation, one in which our team received ethics training, and insights into the world's oldest surviving culture.

Our work

Community research
Stakeholder engagement
Community engagement
User experience design
Communications strategy
Digital strategy
Digital prototype
Qualitative research
Quantitative research
Impact evaluation
National study


The national study of 1,000 adults across Australia sought to understand the knowledge and appetite for learning about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, issues, and cultures, in order to improve the ways in which to deliver knowledge, experiences and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to all Australians.

The boomerang totem of the Gu:na:ni (Kunjen) people from the Mitchell River region, Gulf of Carpentaria, North Queensland.
In 2020 AIATSIS officially renamed its building Maraga, a Ngunnawal word for a strong and robust shield.
The AIATSIS map displays the richness and diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia
Reko Rennie — Defying Empire (Long Walk Films)
Ngulla Wellamunagaa - Gabriel Bani
Our language. Our country.
The 2019 AIATSIS exhibition to celebrate the International Year of Indigenous Languages