Place and Space: Indigenous knowledge and innovation in geospatial technologies

Place and Space: Indigenous knowledge and innovation in geospatial technologies

20th November 2018, 1-4pm
RMIT University, 080.10.13


Digital spatial technologies, such as GIS and mapping software, have delivered amazing new innovations over recent decades, making spatial data more usable and accessible for all. Human knowledge of place, however, is much more than simply data about space. Spatial technologies are acknowledged to be much less well-adapted to helping people work with platial knowledge, such as Indigenous Australian knowledge of place. This SCCAR Workshop aims to bring together researchers from across all disciplines at the university with interests at the intersection of human knowledge of place and spatial technologies. Drawing on the amazing diversity of expertise and experience at RMIT and in SCCAR, workshop participants can expect to have the opportunity to gain new insights and forge new multidisciplinary collaborations in the area, supporting the development of further research and impact.


There is a long history of work that lies at the intersection of data about space and knowledge about place. In addition, this workshop will draw upon our unique indigenous history and connections. Some previous approaches to the topic area have attempted first to identify problems faced by indigenous people connected with knowledge of place, and then to develop new spatial technologies that aim to “fix” those problems. The approach in this workshop will instead aim to focus on indigenous innovation and technologies as solutions, as a basis then to begin to “fix” the problems, witting or unwitting, caused by spatial technologies.


We’re asking all participants to consider what words, images, and experiences come to mind when you think of “place” and also “space”, and how these concepts relate to your own work and research. As part of the workshop activities, you will work together on different place and space images, words etc.

Outline program

1:00pm Introduction, Welcome, and Acknowledgement of Country
1:10pm Presentation: Prof Mark McMillan, “How Mark views place” (working title)
1:30pm Presentation: Dr Olivia Guntarik,  “How Olivia views space and place” (working title)
1:45pm Presentation: Prof Matt Duckham, “How Matt views space” (working title)
2:00pm Presentation: Dr Adam Nash, “Settler designer and indigenous place in digital space: knowledges and practices” (working title)
2:15pm Presentation: Fiona McConachie, “Mapping and traditional knowledge of changing water regimes and land use with the Barapa community” (working title)
2:30pm Plenary discussion: Your Place and Space
3:00pm Break-out group activity: Technology fixes or fixing technology?
3:40pm Group report back and next steps
4:00pm Reception: Afternoon tea, informal networking and discussion

Bundyi Girri

Staff may also be aware of Bundyi Girri: the University-wide change strategy which supports non-Indigenous people into an awareness of their place, role and ongoing responsibility in their relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Visit the Bundyi Girri web site to find out more about the strategy.