Engaging in research on Indigenous lands and with Indigenous people requires specific considerations and clearances. This Protocol provides guidelines for working within communities which can be adapted to adhere to each community’s specific protocols.

Filming On Country

There are many different Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and communities within Australia. Each of these communities will have rules and protocols relating to use of their cultural knowledge and for working within the community. All researchers must seek Free Prior Informed Consent for filming and research relating to Indigenous people and their communities.

It is important for all researchers, academics and filmmakers involved in the project to ensure that the information and materials relied upon in the Project are relevant to the Indigenous community involved.

Location Permits

State/ Territory Aboriginal Land Rights legislation requires filmmakers to have a permit when working on Aboriginal lands. These permits must be sought from the relevant land council:

Federal and State/Territory legislation require permits for any filming or research to be undertaken in national parks.

(Refer to the NSW government index of contacts for national parks, available at for more information)

Death Protocols and Deceased Warnings

In many Indigenous communities, the use of an image or the name of a deceased person can offend cultural mourning practices. Customary law regarding mourning practices will differ between communities. As such, it is best to consult with each community when discussing how the image and name of deceased community members will be treated in the research project. For the Deepening Histories project, the following protocol will be followed:

(1)  If a person dies during the course of the project, before the final publication, the relevant Project Partner will consult the family to discuss options for concealing that person’s image or use of alternative names.

(2)  If a person is dead and the Project Partners wish to use and publish his or her image in the Project, the family will be consulted if known, but if a family member is not known, the relevant Project Partner will consult an Aboriginal organisation either from the region the deceased comes from, or from an Indigenous organisation such as a land council or national organisation.

(3)  If a person dies after publication, the Project Partners may not be able to make any changes to the film as included in the published website and materials, but a notice will be placed on all publications warning of the inclusion of an image of the deceased person.

Updated:  5 April 2013/ Responsible Officer:  Centre Director/ Page Contact:  Web Development Officer about this site