Digital Land Rights and Reconnecting Indigenous Communities: a workshop at OzCHI 2017


Can technology close the gap for Indigenous Australians and improve their health and wellbeing? That is one question Associate Professor Dr Christopher Lawrence and his University of Technology Sydney team will explore with other researchers based at The University of Melbourne. This workshop will share the background and methodology of this ARC funded research to create new pathways to help Indigenous communities, developers, entrepreneurs and start-ups to develop and operate Indigenous-owned technology. We will share and develop techniques and projects to help to address one of the key causes of disadvantage and vulnerability in Indigenous communities—social and cultural dislocation. As part of this workshop, Dr Lawrence and his team of researchers will present their work to be used in designing a new app called #thismymob that will enhance social, health and wellbeing outcomes, and improve the connectedness of Indigenous Australians. The workshop will provide the opportunity for others in the domain to collaborate and develop a strong network in the use of participatory design methods and its engagement with Indigenous participants from design through to implementation.


This research area applies the framework of Postcolonial Computing (PC) (Irani et al. 2010) and Participatory Design (PD) (Iversen et al. 2012) to guide the design and leadership of national-scale, Indigenous-led technology development projects in Australia. We aim to work with others to establish the notion of digital land rights, which asserts the right of Indigenous peoples to a safe online space that they control. Through a project to design and evaluate a mobile app, the workshop aims to investigate how social technology can enhance wellbeing by connecting Indigenous communities, and how we can design culturally appropriate and sensitive technologies that afford a safe refuge for Indigenous peoples and their communities. In creating and testing useful technology that will improve connectedness and wellbeing for Indigenous Australians, this Indigenous-led process will develop a national framework for technology research and development. Also we want to consider how this research will inform the development of post-secondary curricula for Indigenous software engineering, and create pathways towards an environment that supports Indigenous developers, entrepreneurs and start-ups to manage the development and ongoing operation of Indigenous-owned technology. The workshop will help develop a nationally coordinated approach to working with Indigenous communities in this space to avoid duplication and to share successful research.

930 arrive at room P505, P block, QUT Gardens Point campus
1000 welcome, aims, introductions
1020 presentations x2
* Chris Lawrence and Tuck Leong, UTS
* Jennyfer Taylor, QUT
1100 morning tea
1130 presentations x3
* Dana Bradford and Aimee Woods, CSIRO
* Sojen Pradhan, UTS
* Valerie Gay, UTS
1230 lunch, informal discussion, healthy walk in the fresh air
1330 presentations x3
* Aimee Woods, UTS
* Greg Wadley, Uni of Melbourne
* Paul Dourish, UC Irvine
1430 all-group discussion
 “How can Irani et al.’s ‘Postcolonial Computing’ perspective inform our research?”
1530 afternoon tea
1600 wrap-up
optional dinner or drinks (at attendee expense)


  • A/Professor Dr Christopher Lawrence
  • Dr Tuck Wah Leong
  • A/Prof Valerie Gay
  • Indigenous honors student Aimee Woods

Centre for Indigenous Technology Research & Development (,
Faculty of Engineering & IT
University of Technology Sydney

  • Dr Greg Wadley

School of Computing & Information Systems,
University of Melbourne.


Researchers are invited to join a one day workshop on Computing and Indigenous Wellbeing to be held at OzCHI 2017 Brisbane.

The workshop will focus on research and education to create new pathways to support Indigenous communities, developers, entrepreneurs and start-ups to develop and operate Indigenous-owned technology

We invite participants who are researching in the area or interested in learning more about technologies and Indigenous communities, and those who are educating students in the design and development domain. This will include academics, app developers and industry partners wanting to make a real difference for Indigenous Australians.

Submissions are sought that address Postcolonial Computing (PC) (Irani et al. 2010) and Participatory Design (PD) (Iversen et al. 2012) approaches in their research dealing with aspects of technology for Indigenous cultural sharing and wellbeing. These might cover: cultural protocols, positive computing, and knowledge sharing, and emerging technologies. We call for expressions of interest of those participants who wish to present their existing work or ideas in an outline paper; only those who do will be invited to give presentations. Papers will be selected according to their quality, relevance to the workshop theme, and likelihood to provoke discussion.

Papers should be 2 to 4 pages long and include the topic, aims and objectives, methodologies and timeline, in the “CHI Extended Abstract” format provided at

Papers will be made public on the workshop website, unless otherwise requested.

Papers are to be submitted by Sept 30, 2017 through email to

We will request to overview slides at least a week before the OzCHI Conference to develop themes and ensure the discussion is well focused. Further information can be found at the workshop website:


Irani, L. Vertesi, J. Dourish, P. Kavita, P. & Rebecca E. (2010) Grinter3 Postcolonial Computing: A Lens on Design and Development, Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems: HCI For All. ACM.

Iversen, O. S., Halskov, K., & Leong, T. W. (2012) Values-led participatory design. CoDesign, 8(2-3), 87-103.