The Australian Centre fosters world-leading research on the settler state, its culture, institutions, sovereignty and identities across several different disciplines, including history, sociology, literature, politics, visual arts and anthropology. Building upon the foundational work of the Indigenous Settler Relations Collaboration, a Research Unit in the Faculty of Arts (2018-2021), the Centre’s research programs are guided by an ethical imperative to consider what must be done to inform, shape and give life to more just relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples on this continent we now call Australia.
Originally established in 1989, the Australian Centre has a long history of supporting scholarship on colonial and contemporary Australian society and culture. We focus on deepening our understanding of the challenges inherent in our colonial history and engage in research and education that drives a more engaged, responsible and respectful approach to Indigenous-Settler relations.
What we do
The Australian Centre aims to foster a critical examination of Australian society, culture and history, with an interdisciplinary focus on settler colonialism and its institutions.
The Centre offers a rich program of research and activity that includes:
- Research that critically engages with settler colonialism and its institutions
- Events and critical conversations that inform and shape more just relations between Indigenous and settler peoples
- An education program that enables others to take up the work of advancing a critical understanding of Australia as a colonial project and engage in the transformation of the nation
- Partnerships and projects and work closely with industry, government, NGOs, and community organisations.
Our program is shaped by a series of provocations that consider how Australia’s founding as a settler colony informs our capacity to engage with the central challenges of our time:
- How, where, and for whom, does “Australia” (and other settler states) manifest and sustain itself?
- The connections between sovereignty, Country, land and environment, focusing on the relationship between colonisation and climate change.
- Who is a host and who is a guest in this place? How does the ongoing colonisation of Australia impact our ability to welcome others to these shores?
Preparing for Treaty
An important part of our work is the education we provide to individuals and organisations in preparing for treaty negotiations.
- Understanding Treaty: Gain the skills and knowledge to engage with contemporary treaty negotiations
- Indigenous and Other Sovereignties: Extend your understanding of Indigenous sovereignty and explore how it can shape treaty negotiations.
- Lawful relations with Indigenous peoples: Explore the concept of lawful relations and the role of Indigenous rights in treaty processes
- Recognition, reconciliation, refusal: explore the place of Indigenous recognition, reconciliation, and refusal in contemporary treaty processes
The Professional Certificate in Treaty
- Add Indigenous Governance Principles to this series of Melbourne MicroCerts and you will complete Australia’s first Professional Certificate in Treaty
Donate to our Treaty Education Fund and support First Nations people participating in this education program.
Engage our services
The Australian Centre brings together scholars, graduate researchers and other stakeholders from across the University and around the world who are addressing the multifarious harms arising from the history of Indigenous settler relations in Australia and who share the Centre’s principles and priorities. The activities of the Centre will be centred around four key areas of work – research, research training, education and engagement.
The Centre is always open to developing new research partnerships and projects, and works closely with industry, government, NGOs, and community organisations. If you think the Australian Centre is a suitable fit for your initiative, we encourage you get in touch with us!