31 May

Now More Than Ever – reconciliation and ICIP

Now More Than Ever is the theme for Reconciliation Week 2024. As described by Reconciliation Australia, this theme is a reminder that for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the fight for their rights will (and must) continue. This includes their rights to culture, creative expression and knowledge, self-determination, acknowledgement and the right to generate revenue.

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creative artists, this has recently been reflected in the ‘Fake Art Harms Culture’ campaign (which Arts Law, the Indigenous Art Code and Copyright Agency championed). In November 2022, the Productivity Commission published its report into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Visual Arts and Crafts. This report found that two-thirds of Indigenous-style souvenirs are inauthentic. IP Australia commissioned a report which involved a scoping study by the Indigenous Knowledge Working Group and Ninti One. The report identified a need for increased protections and stand-alone legislation and highlighted the importance of Indigenous Knowledge being accessed with appropriate free, prior and informed consent. It also noted the importance of acknowledging traditional custodians as well as recognition that current laws don’t sufficiently address these concerns.

As a result of these findings and from efforts over many years, the Federal Government is committed to legislation protecting Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property as part of the Revive national cultural policy. The government is currently engaging in community consultation to shape this legislation.

Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP) refers to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ rights to protect their traditional knowledge and cultural material. It includes the right to ensure that traditional laws and customary obligations are respected and for the community to be attributed. It is based on the principle of self-determination. The work of Dr Terri Janke, Arts Law, the IAC and Copyright Agency amongst others in respect of ICIP has been influential in the progress made towards its recognition. Now More Than Ever encapsulates the urgency of the need for this legislation.

Find out more about how Arts Law is working towards reconciliation.

The National Reconciliation Week 2024 design and artwork represent the momentum of the theme Now More Than Ever. The chevron, a universal symbol for pointing the way, signifies advancing as one as we look towards a reconciled future; and the vibrant artwork of Gubbi Gubbi artist Maggie Douglas encourages connecting with one another, understanding and continuing to move forward.  

The 2024 theme design incorporating the artwork is by Carbon Creative.