World Archaeological Congress


Newsletter: Volume 27 April 2009

Contributions to the next WAC Newsletter due 18th May 2009

Archaeologists Without Borders Workshop

Report on the website of the World Archaeological Congress

Archaeologies of Art Podcast Series Launched!

Call for WAC members to nominate Indigenous people

World Archaeological Congress honors Larry Zimmerman

Dr Andree Rosenfeld

Recommendation on ERA Draft Quality Ranking

WAC-6 Media Releases

WAC-6 Closing Ceremony Speech

Portuguese WAC-6 Media Releases

German WAC-6 Media Releases

Spanish WAC-6 Media Releases

Turkish WAC-6 Media Releases

Czech. WAC-6 Media Release on Iran



Cultural Heritage & Indigenous Cultural & Intellectual Property Rights

A World Archaeological Congress Symposium

Click here to view photos and video from the Symposium

Venue: Burra, South Australia
Dates: 3-5 December 2006
Convenors: Claire Smith and Heather Burke, Department of Archaeology, Flinders University
Conference Co-ordinator: Tim Ormsby


This cross-disciplinary international conference will address the history of and contemporary developments in the intersections between cultural heritage and cultural and intellectual property rights in Indigenous customary and academic worlds. Key speakers include Julie Hollowell and George Nicholas, Canada and Sven Ouzman, South Africa. The conference will be held in the heritage town of Burra, South Australia, in the traditional country of the Ngadjuri people. Burra is a significant location for discussion of this topic, since it was the site where the Burra Charter (the Australia ICOMOS charter for places of cultural significance) was developed. The significance of this charter is recognized internationally, and our planned conference also will be addressing issues of international significance. We expect that selected papers from this conference will form the core of an edited book.

Claims to the ownership and use of cultural and intellectual property rights and associated or intrinsic rights are rapidly emerging in most, if not all, research disciplines and in many policy contexts, as the economic, scientific, political and cultural uses and values of traditional and Indigenous knowledge demand mounting attention. Concerns about intangible heritage and cultural and intellectual property rights span diverse disciplines - from law, information technology, and art to applied research ethics, bioprospecting and human rights, and especially in archaeology, as an academic discipline whose scholars are deeply enmeshed in both policies and practices of cultural heritage. These issues cut across both disciplinary and geographic boundaries, and stakeholders include individual researchers, local communities, federal agencies, universities, museums and international organisations, as well as developers, tourism firms, and media producers as well as the public at large.

Over the past two decades this discussion has prompted new interpretations of cultural property rights, which in turn have provoked major shifts in the policies and practices adopted by archaeologists, bio-anthropologists, descendant communities, governments and museums around the world. To date, however, these discussions have focused largely on issues of material or physical property, and practices associated with this property such as physical repatriation of people and material culture, of collection and curatorial practice, trade in antiquities and heritage management , such as repatriation, museum and curation practices, the antiquities trade, and heritage management. At this point, discussions need to move beyond ' Who owns the past?' to examine the diverse and divergent uses of past knowledge systems, and who does and does not benefit materially. Markedly less attention has been given to the intangible and intellectual aspects of scholarly research or cultural knowledge, and its representation, although this promises to be the next wave in policy research. Accordingly, this conference will address the following key questions:

  • How are people employing concepts of cultural and intellectual property to lay claim(s) to the past, present and future?
  • What examples do we have of successful uses and applications of the intellectual property system or, conversely, of the intellectual property and cultural heritage hindering success, especially in cross-cultural contexts?
  • What forms of legal and/or customary protection exist for intellectual property and cultural heritage? How do these apply to knowledge produced by academic research? What kind of variation exists in this, world-wide?
  • In what areas do problems tend to arise? How might such problems be avoided?
  • What are the key elements of successful, equitable resolutions of cultural and intellectual property rights issues, and what examples exist of how to translate these into workable policy and protocols?

This conference will take an international perspective to examine in depth the cultural and intellectual property issues facing Indigenous, customary and academic communities, and examine critically the successes and failures of efforts to resolve such issues. This conference will use used to identify core issues. Our ultimate aim is to inform protocol- and policy-making at individual community, national and international levels. The overall goal of this research is to provide foundational knowledge and data to assist scholars, Indigenous communities, and other stakeholders in developing more equitable and successful resolutions and policies regarding the cultural and intellectual property rights issues that are fast emerging.

This conference is one facet of a global project being co-ordinated by George Nicholas, Julie Hollowell and Kelly Bannister, which has received seed funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Canada.

Entry Formalities

A valid passport or similar certificate of identification is required of all people wishing to travel to and enter Australia. Everyone, except holders of Australian and New Zealand passports, requires a visa to enter Australia (New Zealand passport holders can apply for a visa upon arrival). Americans may enter with an Australian visa or, if eligible, through Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). This replaces a visa and allows a stay of up to three months. It can be obtained for a small fee at Airlines and travel agents can also issue ETAs. More information about ETAs and other entry requirements can be obtained from the Embassy of Australia,1601 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036, or via the Australian Embassy home page at For information on Australian visas requirements go to the web site of the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs* ( For the location of your nearest Australian consulate go to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's* website (

Working Holiday Maker

Australia has reciprocal Working Holiday Maker (WHM) arrangements with a number of other countries. This allows young people on holiday to earn cash through 'incidental' employment, as long as they meet visa requirements. The word 'incidental' is interpreted pretty broadly, and includes any kind of work of a temporary or casual nature. Currently, Australia has reciprocal WHM arrangements in effect with 19 countries: the UK, Canada, the Netherlands, the Republic of Ireland, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malta, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, the Republic of Cyprus, Italy, France, Belgium, Estonia and Taiwan. If you obtain a WHM visa, you can stay up to 12 months from the date of your initial entry into Australia, regardless of whether or not you spend the entire period in Australia. To qualify for a WHM visa, you need to be aged between 18 and 30 and without dependent children. You must be visiting Australia primarily for a holiday and you must have a return ticket or sufficient funds to pay your return or onward fare, should the need arise, as well as sufficient money to cover the first part of your stay. The intention of this scheme is to allow you to work in Australia to fund a holiday, not to obtain semi-permanent employment, so you are not allowed to work with any single employer for more than three months. Remember, you must apply for a WHM visa outside Australia and before you turn 30. Information about the WHM scheme can be obtained from the website of Australia's Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA) (