The opportunity

There are continuing frustrations about the distance between outcomes for remote Aboriginal communities and other Australians, defined by:

  • significantly lower school attendance rates 
  • poor outcomes in national literacy and numeracy benchmark test scores and year 12 completions 
  • lower life expectancy  
  • higher rate of death from chronic disease 
  • lower employment rates.  

How can we work towards bridging the language, cultural and knowledge divide that underscores the continuing inequity for remote Aboriginal Australians? 

The solution

UniSA has a 30-year strong relationship with Anangu (Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara) (APY) communities through teaching and learning of language and culture, remote teacher training, and research. Our work in APY communities has become even stronger through a collaborative partnership with Iwiri, a corporation of Anangu members in Adelaide. 

Iwiri strengthens the community through a focus on language, community and cultural engagement. This includes the establishment of a first language choir, teaching children inma (traditional dance), and translation work.  


The University adopts the principles of reciprocity and mutual benefit (ngapartji ngapartji) to guide the partnership. We support Iwiri to build commercial and organisational capacity. In turn, Iwiri’s high-quality language services, cultural support and advice, and strong community focus helps us provide authentic and meaningful language and cultural experiences to students and local community. 

Aboriginal language translation and interpreting is not new. However, UniSA APY Hub’s partnership with Iwiri is unique in that it brings Elders and accomplished language workers into dialogue and employment with our language and research work.  

For Aaron Ken, Co-chair of Iwiri Aboriginal Corporation, this partnership made these services to Anangu communities possible.  

“This work is only possible because of UniSA, which worked closely with us to get started. This included supported conversations with government and other organisations, supporting the establishment of good governance practices, making connections with financial management organisations, and supporting our major projects and events,” Mr Ken said.

For Dr Sam Osborne, this partnership can address some of the concerns in relation to the provision of services and generate opportunities for Anangu employment and service transformation.

“UniSA’s partnership with Iwiri continues to extend the range of community services including advice and cultural support to local, State and Federal governments with translation services, innovative first language education resources, and virtual language classes on Zoom.

By providing the tools and knowledge to improve translation services and cultural appropriateness of the school, health and employment system, we can address the disparity in wellness outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.”

Partners involved


Project outcomes

Providing cultural support, leadership and advice in small and large scale projects

Upskilling remote teachers to support Aboriginal students

Provide high quality first language services for the development of education resources, research and service provision

Related services

Contact the Enterprise Hub

Get in touch with us to find out how we can support your business needs.

Make an enquiry online or call us to discuss your idea