This report is the first published output from the Strong Culture, Strong Place, Strong Families Research and Evaluation Project. This project is a co-design partnership between the Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre (KALACC), the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR) at the Australian National University (ANU), and communities in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. The project partners are working with participating Aboriginal groups and communities to co-design and co-produce an outcomes measurement framework for culture and wellbeing, drawing on the lived experience and perspectives of Aboriginal people and communities in the Kimberley.
This report presents the results of a review of the literature on the measurement of culture and wellbeing in Australia and internationally, with a focus on Indigenous examples. This literature review aims to complement the collection of primary data to support the development of a set of culture and wellbeing indicators that will ultimately form part of an outcomes measurement framework to evaluate cultural initiatives. To ensure that the indicators are centred on Kimberley Aboriginal peoples’ lived experience and perspectives, they will be developed primarily from one-on-one interviews and focus groups conducted by KALACC Community Research Practitioners with members of their communities.
This report highlights evidence of how culture contributes to the wellbeing of Indigenous peoples in Australia and elsewhere. It identifies key examples of research and analysis that has sought to identify domains, determinants, and indicators of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing – including those that have identified cultural indicators and validated their association with wellbeing outcomes.
The report shows how a growing evidence base and related advocacy driven by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and community-controlled organisations has informed key Australian government frameworks around Closing the Gap, health, and mental health and social and emotional wellbeing. This report notes that there is still significant work to be done to convert recognition into action at a whole-of-government level. This work involves the development of rights-based, strengths-based and evidence-based responses that support the implementation of cultural determinants of health and wellbeing with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.