Training at UTS

UTS work in this space


The University of Technology Sydney does research in how we can improve the sharing Indigenous Knowledges through stories, languages and understanding. There are protocols for sharing knowledge between people in Aboriginal culture and we want to preserve the sentiment of these when online. When designing your technology you need to consider respectful sharing.

We will provide some support for your product with a brief introduction to aspects of data management and data collection that you need to know for your project. We will demonstrate the software Mukurtu as the IndigiHack website that was built to help develop web sites for Indigenous data sharing, and you can use this site for your project material to experience how this works.

Governance and Open Source Data

When you use material provided by other people, you need to both ensure they agree to how you use this data, but also you store the data in a way it cannot be misused by others. While indigenous peoples claim sovereignty over their lands and territories, there are now calls for ‘data sovereignty’. 

With national governments and multinational corporations this discussion has focused on issues of legal jurisdiction. Yet we consider the concern in data sovereignty is the inherent and inalienable rights and interests of Indigenous peoples relating to the collection, ownership and application of data about our people, lifeways and territories. These principles of OPAC - Ownership, Control, Access and Possession are crucial for Indigenous people to maintain the use of their data for their purposes. The issues that arise include:


  • Collecting relevant information is a vital for developing adequate policy responses to inequalities and to monitor the effectiveness of these measures to overcome discrimination

  • Data sovereignty or managing information in a way that is consistent with the laws, practices and customs of the nation-state in which it is located. Privacy laws, for example, vary from one country to another. 

  • With colonialization, indigenous peoples’ data systems were replaced, at least in the public discourse, with those of the colonists. We need to reinstate Indigneous approaches and respect these.

Language Learning

We use many ways of learning language, and you will have some ideas from how you learnt language yourself, but mostly when we teach we want to have the students working only in their language for the entire lesson. This means people are talking and listening to only their language while learning This immersion in language allows us to build up the ability to communicate in language not just repeat words. 

Also the learning process needs to be enjoyable. We want more games that can be linked to different languages and engage students in exercises around certain words or themes.

On Country

Language learning and storytelling is best done on country as they provide a better understanding of what is being heard and the context of the knowledge sharing. We are developing games using extracts from Google Maps so that the player is ‘on country’ while they play.

But also we are looking at making language lessons link back to country. Consider what are the significant features of your country, what are your language totem, the main land features, etc

Then can you draw a ‘map’ of your country and image you are moving around the land. What are the words you would need to describe what you see, what you do. 

For instance you may fly in to country as a bird, or swim in as a fish or whale, or bound in as a kangaroo. To tell this story you need words of greeting, of simple motion. For a bird you might include words about the sky, stars and weather. Then you might arrive at an important mountain or river, and talk about what you see. You will need words about animals and plants in that area as well as maybe more words on motion, maybe continuous motion.

In this way you can build up your language as you move around the country, but always have in front of you some visual of what you are talking about, so you can learn to think in language directly describing the images  in front of you and what you are doing.

Language Data

There is more and more language material going online. See for a range of examples of spoken language. This is a good site to start on

When designing Information technology products, we try and design for many similar cases, so that all the work we do can be used in many languages. We look at the similar needs across may communities or language groups and design a way of supporting many of these at once, through the same resources. This is called the ‘functionality’ of the software.

Then we can spend more time on designing the interface and collecting the data for each community and language, making the look and feel of the software tailored to the community vision.

For example the web sites under are all based on the same functionality. That is, they can do the same thing with data. However, each language group uses this tool in a different way. 

Dharug from the Sydney region talks a lot about the history of the people and has some written archival material, but no readable text and a short wordlist as a dictionary

Bundjalung, Yugambeh and the dialects from the northern coast of NSW and Queensland has archival recordings, some transcribed, worksheets from teachers and other material You can look over these sites when you have time.

Also these sites provide access to the dictionary and sound resources for your application. You can collect this data as a “json” file by calling the following urls: Cat to complete


Also you can collect the following lessons on each site:






For your projects you will be using


Final Judging


How will we judge your work? Remember when you are doing software development, always keep the end goal in sight:


Did you follow cultural protocols? How have you ensured ethical considerations for the use of culture in your design?

5 points


How creative was the team in developing an innovative solution for the challenge?
Is the idea defensible or unique?

5 points


Did the team create an product that can have a real global impact?


5 points


What is the growth potential of this product and is it scalable globally?


5 points