Special Issue "Australian Indigenous Art and Cultural Tourism"

A special issue of Arts (ISSN 2076-0752).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (25 March 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Sally Butler
Website
Guest Editor
Associate Professor, School of Communication and Arts, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia
Interests: contemporary art; indigenous art; cross-cultural aesthetics; visual politics; cultural diplomacy; cultural tourism

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Cultural tourism and the visual arts industries are both global enterprises that potentially advance cross-cultural understanding and sustain cultural diversity, particularly when working in unison. As the impact of mass tourism approaches crisis point, we see new trends emerging in culturally immersive experiences shaped by intimate bonds between local people and their place of belonging. Art galleries, exhibitions, tours, studio visits and workshops attract people seeking sensory and often participatory encounters, and now indigenous art is setting new standards for cultural tourism. The term indigenous signifies a belonging to place that has globally inspired a century of indigenous land rights movements, and now motivates new forms of economic self-sufficiency and cultural sustainability. Art’s unique sensory and intellectual qualities play a significant role in the cultural tourism exchange in ways that can breach linguistic barriers.

Australian indigenous art’s involvement in cultural tourism exemplify these trends. In less than 40 years and at less than three percent of the national population, indigenous Australians have essentially rebranded the national cultural symbolism with indigenous aesthetics. Public and private art galleries, internationally and domestically, register this impact and an increasing number of indigenous owned and managed art and cultural centres welcome visitors in various participatory and immersive formats. Subsequent innovations involving art practice, display, and interpretive strategies are complex, unprecedented, and demand scholarly attention.

We invite researchers and industry stakeholders working in the field of Australian indigenous art and cultural tourism to contribute papers responding to questions such as: What indigenous perspectives motivate art and cultural tourism initiatives? How is the art curated differently by art centres, galleries, tourism facilitators, and visitors themselves? Can the quality of spectatorship for indigenous art be advanced through cultural tourism? How is the relationship between artistic innovation and cultural heritage negotiated by artists and perceived by visitors? What is the global appeal, or relevance, of indigenous art? How is art production impacted by tourists’ aesthetic and cultural expectations?

Dr. Sally Butler
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Arts is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Australian indigenous art
  • cultural tourism
  • aesthetics
  • cross-culturalism
  • indigenous tourism
  • exhibitions
  • spectatorship
  • cultural heritage
  • rock art

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
‘Art for a New Understanding’: An Interview with Valerie Keenan, Manager of Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre
Arts 2019, 8(3), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8030091 - 15 Jul 2019
Abstract
A network of Indigenous art and culture centres across Australia play a significant role in promoting cross-cultural understanding. These centres represent specific Indigenous cultures of the local country, and help sustain local Indigenous languages, traditional knowledge, storytelling and other customs, as well as [...] Read more.
A network of Indigenous art and culture centres across Australia play a significant role in promoting cross-cultural understanding. These centres represent specific Indigenous cultures of the local country, and help sustain local Indigenous languages, traditional knowledge, storytelling and other customs, as well as visual arts. They are the principle point of contact for information about the art, and broker the need to sustain cultural heritage at the same time as supporting new generations of cultural expression. This interview with Dr Valerie Keenan, Manager of Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre in northern Australia, provides rare insight into the strategies, challenges, and aspirations of Indigenous art centres and how the reception of the art impacts on artists themselves. It provides a first-hand account of how Indigenous artists strive to generate a new understanding of their culture and how they participate in a global world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Australian Indigenous Art and Cultural Tourism)
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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Indigenous Rock Art Tourism in Australia: Contexts, Trajectories, and Multifaceted Realities
Arts 2019, 8(4), 162; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8040162 - 06 Dec 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
This paper focuses on Australian Indigenous rock art tourism, a field that has received limited research attention. Our aim is to identify aspects which are invisible in tourism promotions. We note trends in rock art tourism and related research, survey the Australian situation, [...] Read more.
This paper focuses on Australian Indigenous rock art tourism, a field that has received limited research attention. Our aim is to identify aspects which are invisible in tourism promotions. We note trends in rock art tourism and related research, survey the Australian situation, and employ a case study approach to outline the development of Indigenous rock art tourism in Kakadu National Park (KNP) and parts of the Quinkan (Laura Cooktown) region. In both regions, Aboriginal communities inherited legacies of top down decision-making and bureaucratic methods. Although the Laura people transitioned to a community-based system and a successful ranger program, they face challenges in achieving their aspirations for sustainable rock art tourism. KNP communities, subsumed into an unwieldy joint management arrangement for the World Heritage listed National Park, are faced with competing values and perspectives of the dominant government system. A centerpiece of the Balnggarrawarra tourism initiative is the ranger/tour guide system of the type which operated for some years at Laura and was introduced briefly at KNP. The model incorporates key elements of sustainable Indigenous tourism–traditional owner control and jobs, land care, conservation, cultural preservation, partnerships, and public education. Notwithstanding contemporary challenges and realities, a unifying theme is caring for rock art. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Australian Indigenous Art and Cultural Tourism)
Open AccessArticle
Inalienable Signs and Invited Guests: Australian Indigenous Art and Cultural Tourism
Arts 2019, 8(4), 161; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8040161 - 06 Dec 2019
Abstract
Australian Indigenous people promote their culture and country in the context of tourism in a variety of ways but the specific impact of Indigenous fine art in tourism is seldom examined. Indigenous people in Australia run tourism businesses, act as cultural guides, and [...] Read more.
Australian Indigenous people promote their culture and country in the context of tourism in a variety of ways but the specific impact of Indigenous fine art in tourism is seldom examined. Indigenous people in Australia run tourism businesses, act as cultural guides, and publish literature that help disseminate Indigenous perspectives of place, homeland, and cultural knowledge. Governments and public and private arts organisations support these perspectives through exposure of Indigenous fine art events and activities. This exposure simultaneously advances Australia’s international cultural diplomacy, trade, and tourism interests. The quantitative impact of Indigenous fine arts (or any art) on tourism is difficult to assess beyond exhibition attendance and arts sales figures. Tourism surveys on the impact of fine arts are rare and often necessarily limited in scope. It is nevertheless useful to consider how the quite pervasive visual presence of Australian Indigenous art provides a framework of ideas for visitors about relationships between Australian Indigenous people and place. This research adopts a theoretical model of ‘performing cultural landscapes’ to examine how Australian Indigenous art might condition tourists towards Indigenous perspectives of people and place. This is quite different to traditional art historical hermeneutics that considers the meaning of artwork. I argue instead that in the context of cultural tourism, Australian Indigenous art does not convey specific meaning so much as it presents a relational model of cultural landscape that helps condition tourists towards a public realm of understanding Indigenous peoples’ relationship to place. This relational mode of seeing involves a complex psychological and semiotic framework of inalienable signification, visual storytelling, and reconciliation politics that situates tourists as ‘invited guests’. Particular contexts of seeing under discussion include the visibility of reconciliation politics, the remote art centre network, and Australia’s urban galleries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Australian Indigenous Art and Cultural Tourism)
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Open AccessArticle
Australian Indigenous Art Centres Online: A Multi-Purpose Cultural Tourism Framework
Arts 2019, 8(4), 145; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8040145 - 26 Oct 2019
Abstract
In early 2019, Australia’s Northern Territory (NT) government announced the $106 million funding and promotion of a new state-wide Territory Arts Trail featuring Indigenous art and culture under the banner “The World’s biggest art gallery is the NT.” Some of the destinations on [...] Read more.
In early 2019, Australia’s Northern Territory (NT) government announced the $106 million funding and promotion of a new state-wide Territory Arts Trail featuring Indigenous art and culture under the banner “The World’s biggest art gallery is the NT.” Some of the destinations on the Arts Trail are Indigenous art centres, each one a nexus of contemporary creativity and cultural revitalisation, community activity and economic endeavour. Many of these art centres are extremely remote and contend with resourcing difficulties and a lack of visitor awareness. Tourists, both independent and organised, make their travelling decisions based upon a range of factors and today, the availability of accessible and engaging online information is vital. This makes the quality of the digital presence of remote art centres, particularly their website content, a critical determinant in visitor itineraries. This digital content also has untapped potential to contribute significant localised depth and texture to broader Indigenous arts education and comprehension. This article examines the context-based website content which supports remote Indigenous art centre tourism and suggests a strategic framework to improve website potential in further advancing commercial activities and Indigenous arts education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Australian Indigenous Art and Cultural Tourism)
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Open AccessArticle
Teaching the Whitefella—The Role of Cultural Tourism in Opening Remote Indigenous Art Centres to Non-Indigenous Visitors
Arts 2019, 8(4), 135; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8040135 - 15 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
This article explores how a remote Aboriginal-owned and -run art centre, Ikuntji Artists in Haasts Bluff, has developed grassroots-level cultural tourism. While not many remote Indigenous art centres engage with the tourism industry, Aboriginal tourism engagement has only recently been identified by the [...] Read more.
This article explores how a remote Aboriginal-owned and -run art centre, Ikuntji Artists in Haasts Bluff, has developed grassroots-level cultural tourism. While not many remote Indigenous art centres engage with the tourism industry, Aboriginal tourism engagement has only recently been identified by the Northern Territory Government as a major business development area. Steered by the member artists and the board, the art centre has been able to create a range of workshops and activities that can be offered to small-scale tour operators. Over the past five years, an arts festival and various workshops for university field students and other small tour operators have been hosted. Member artists, staff and the board as well as the community see cultural tourism as an opportunity to share their culture by way of teaching visitors about the Luritja language, culture and country. Thus, this article argues that art centres can engage meaningfully in cultural tourism and support remote Indigenous communities in the sustainable development of cultural tourism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Australian Indigenous Art and Cultural Tourism)
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Open AccessArticle
Cultural Tourism: Imagery of Arnhem Land Bark Paintings Informs Australian Messaging to the Post-War USA
Arts 2019, 8(2), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8020066 - 20 May 2019
Abstract
This paper explores how the appeal of the imagery of the Arnhem Land bark painting and its powerful connection to land provided critical, though subtle messaging, during the post-war Australian government’s tourism promotions in the USA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Australian Indigenous Art and Cultural Tourism)
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Open AccessArticle
Australian Indigenous Art Innovation and Culturepreneurship in Practice: Insights for Cultural Tourism
Arts 2019, 8(2), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8020050 - 09 Apr 2019
Abstract
Indigenous cultural tourism offers significant future opportunities for countries, cities and Indigenous communities, but the development of new offerings can be problematic. Addressing this challenge, this article examines contemporary Australian Indigenous art innovation and cultural entrepreneurship or culturepreneurship emanating from Australia’s remote Arnhem [...] Read more.
Indigenous cultural tourism offers significant future opportunities for countries, cities and Indigenous communities, but the development of new offerings can be problematic. Addressing this challenge, this article examines contemporary Australian Indigenous art innovation and cultural entrepreneurship or culturepreneurship emanating from Australia’s remote Arnhem Land art and culture centres and provides insight into the future development of Indigenous cultural tourism. Using art- and culture-focused field studies and recent literature from the diverse disciplines of art history, tourism, sociology and economics, this article investigates examples of successful Indigenous artistic innovation and culturepreneurship that operate within the context of cultural tourism events. From this investigation, this article introduces and defines the original concept of Indigenous culturepreneurship and provides six practical criteria for those interested in developing future Indigenous cultural tourism ventures. These findings not only challenge existing western definitions of both culture and culturepreneurship but also affirm the vital role of innovation in both contemporary Indigenous art and culturepreneurial practice. Equally importantly, this investigation illuminates Indigenous culturepreneurship as an important future-making socio-political and economic practice for the potential benefit of Indigenous communities concerned with maintaining and promoting their cultures as living, growing and relevant in the contemporary world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Australian Indigenous Art and Cultural Tourism)
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