[ASC-media] Indigenous astronomy: Canberra workshop and exhibition launch, 27 November

Helen Sim Helen.Sim at csiro.au
Mon Nov 16 04:25:40 CET 2009

Media contacts

AIATSIS: Chris Ryan, AIATSIS Communications m: 0408 688 026 or  
chris.ryan at aiatsis.gov.au;

Curtin University: Professor Steve Tingay; Professor of Radio  
Astronomy; 0425 771 856; s.tingay at curtin.edu.au OR Shaun Ratcliff;  
Public Relations Coordinator; Curtin; 08 9266 9085; 0401 103 755;  
s.ratcliff at curtin.edu.au;

CSIRO Australia Telescope National Facility: Helen Sim ph:  02 9372  
4251 or Helen.Sim at csiro.au


Indigenous Astronomy practitioners and experts will meet for the  
first time in Canberra on November 27 for a symposium that coincides  
with the launch of an original art exhibition by Aboriginal artists  
from the Mid West region of Western Australia.

Hosted by AIATSIS in partnership with the CSIRO and Curtin  
University, the Indigenous Astronomy Symposium will explore this  
rapidly growing field of research and Indigenous Knowledge.

“AIATSIS is proud to co-host the first national meeting of  
researchers and knowledge holders of Indigenous Astronomy and to be  
able to coincide it with the launch of such an impressive Indigenous  
art exhibition,” AIATSIS Principal Russell Taylor said.

The art exhibition, Ilgarijiri – things belonging to the sky, is a  
joint project between Curtin University of Technology’s Professor  
Steven Tingay and staff and artists of Yamaji Art, Geraldton. As part  
of International Year of Astronomy festivities, Ilgarijiri showcases  
and celebrates the unique culture of the traditional owners of the  
land on which Australian scientists hope the next generation radio  
telescope — the Square Kilometre Array — will be built.

“I think it is important that all Australians get to know and  
recognise these aspects of Indigenous culture, the strong connections  
to the sky and the wonderful stories describing those connections,”  
Professor Steven Tingay, a Premier’s Research Fellow, and Co-Director  
of the Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy, said.

The year 2009 is the 400th anniversary of Galileo turning a telescope  
to the sky. To mark this, the International Year of Astronomy 2009 is  
a year-long, community-based celebration of the science, history and  
cultural impact of astronomy for people throughout the world, and a  
celebration of the night sky as the common heritage of humanity.

"Much has been written about the astronomy of Native Americans, and  
of the builders of Stonehenge in Britain. But we don't hear very much  
about the astronomy of Indigenous Australians," symposium Program  
Coordinator, Professor Ray Norris, said.

"Yet Indigenous Australians have at least 50,000 year-old cultures  
with strong astronomical threads, and they may be the world's first  

For more information on the Ilgarijiri exhibition, visit http:// 
ilgarijiri.wordpress.com or for details of the workshop visit http:// 

Helen Sim
Public Relations and Media Liaison
CSIRO Australia Telescope National Facility (email: Helen.Sim at csiro.au)
Anglo-Australian Observatory (email: hsim at aao.gov.au)

Single Point of Contact (SPOC) in Australia for the 2009  
International Year of Astronomy

Tel: +61-2-9372-4251
Mob: +61-419-635-905

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