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Department of Economics

The Value of Aboriginal Cultural Heritage

  • Showcasing the project: The "Earning on Country" stall at the 2014 Garma Expo at the Gulkula site in East Arnhem Land
  • Interviewing in Yirrkala: the "Earning on Country" project engaged Yolngu interpreters to assist respondents in East Arnhem Land during survey interviews.

The Value of Aboriginal Cultural Heritage: Cultural Production and Regional Economies in Eastern Arnhem Land and The Western Desert

The Value of Aboriginal Cultural Heritage research project is funded by the Australian Research Council. The joint chief investigators are Professors David Throsby (Macquarie University) and Howard Morphy (Australian National University). The post-doc anthropologist working on the project is Dr Marianne Riphagen, and the Senior Research Assistant in Economics is Katya Petetskaya. The study locations are Eastern Arnhem Land and the Western Desert. The project started in 2012 and will end in 2015. 

The project aims to conceptualise, evaluate and communicate the economic and cultural value of Indigenous cultural capital (i.e. cultural resources in a form of cultural knowledge or other cultural heritage) and identify how such cultural capital creates sustainable development opportunities in remote Indigenous communities in Australia.

A survey of individual cultural practitioners was undertaken by the Macquarie University team in East Arnhem Land in Northern Australia, during 2012-2014. The survey was designed to identify ways in which the accumulation of cultural capital occurs in remote Indigenous communities, and to investigate why and how Indigenous adults in the study region utilise their cultural capital when participating in economic and cultural activities. More details about this survey can be found in the Survey Report.