Our purpose is:
· To provide opportunities and linkages for Indigenous and Western sciences to collaborate on sustainable sciences.
· To create generations of inventors, scientist and entrepreneurs that seek sustainable approaches to living on the planet.
· To create and demonstrate positive social impact and development within science, technology and digital innovation for Indigenous communities.
The principal activities of the Association are to design and adapt modern technical applications to assist in the community communication and training process. This will support personnel in their to work with the community in the development and communication of policy that is relevant to existing cultural, economic and educational needs of the community.
The aim is to utilise technology, training and communication to encouraging Aboriginal people in the community to adopt responsibility for developing service provision in their community. While these services are generally implemented by the government sector, community organisations will be able to perform a policy overview role as they are not under the same accountability of government, which is tied by regulatory legislation. Such organisations are responsible to community agreement, so are more flexibility to propose new and innovative policy to deal with the unique situation under which Aboriginal people live.
In practice, our role has been to provide IT services as requested by the community. We work with community and government organisaitons to develop these services in a way that ensures they provide a secure, culturally sensitive and user friendly resource to community, as well as to government organisations servicing the Indigenous Community.
The centre at present works on the basis on contracts to projects requested by community groups in Sydney. Often the staff obtain the funding themselves with the organisation, the carry out the relevant part of the work on contract. This will continue until the centre builds a firm basis.
The initial focus is the need in the community for the development of successful community services through: sharing information with the community on policy and development; the development of resources to educate and share in Indigenous knowledge and history in Sydney; support language reclamation in school and community; and organising appropriate training where required to include the community in such developments.
The following diagram shows relationship between CITIES and other organisations involved in knowledge management, including the proposed Knowledge Centre in Sydney, and SALC Sydney Aboriginal Languages and Computing. The Knowledge Centre has been proposed for Sydney for many years and is supported by Jumbunna, UTS. The diagram shows the three centre, Knowledge Centre, Sydney Aboriginal Language and Computing, and CITIES, with possible shared projects, and possible funding sources.
The Centre was set up to supply initially IT needs to the Sydney Aboriginal community to assist with community development and education. The first projects were run developing programs relating to learning IT and languages in schools. These were run in conjunction with the Computer Science Teachers Association and Biambul Indigenous Language Business Institute in Sydney. The Centre has also acted as consultant to the Sydney Koori Interagency Network to develop their communication web site. This incorporates features designed specifically for the needs of the Interagency and its members. The Centre is also consulting with the Sydney Metropolitan Catchment Management Authority on opportunities for land management training and employment. Such training can be developed online and the sale of produce carried out on the internet in future. Much of the work has been done as free consultancies, and it is hoped that funding will come in more in future through such projects. For instance we are developing a site for sharing historical sites around Redfern on the internet. This may be incorporated in the Eora Journey by the City of Sydney. The Centre aims to continue this work to set up a consistent program of resource development for Indigenous people in urban areas, particularly Sydney
Internal Functions CITIES incorporates Aboriginal Elders with expertise in community project development and policy development in line with community aspirations. Also working for CITIES is a non-Indigenous IT developer with long experience in training in the Indigenous sector and interest in advancing reconciliation and respect for Indigenous Knowledge.
Cultural functions The projects being run at present are aimed at sharing Aboriginal culture in schools and community through cross-cultural training and language learning.
Community functions The Sydney area is a large area to cover, and there are many projects which would like IT support. At present most such projects cannot fund this. The aim of each project run by CIITES is to develop software which is adaptable to new communities, languages or users so that the resources can be used by many organisations.
Stakeholders At present CITIES and its members are liaising with: Redfern Community Centre developing IT training programs at the centre Tempe High School developing language resources for their extended Indigenous language program Tranby College developing computer literacy Muurrbay Aboriginal Language and Culture Co-operative to develop language teaching resources in Gumbaynggirr Cultural Trainers to develop cross-cultural training online using her workshop design Sydney Metropolitan Catchment Management Authority for training and employment of Aboriginal people in land management