Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts are a rich contribution to the world’s culture, and to Australia’s diverse contemporary culture and national identity.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts include classical, traditional and contemporary practice, including all new forms of cultural expression. This is applied across all art forms and in urban, regional and remote areas.

The Australia Council for the Arts regards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures as living forces with their own strengths and influences, not as remnants of the past. We aim to make these cultural expressions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people a source of pride for all Australians.

The value of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts activity to individuals, families and communities is significant culturally, socially and economically, and its potential is significant in all communities. Research by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) and the Telstra Foundation about the role of Indigenous festivals highlighted not only the economic benefits but improved well-being, as people reported that they had an increase in cultural pride and self-esteem stemming from a sense of inclusion and cultural identity.

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Policy 

Keeping Culture Strong

Protocols Working with
Indigenous Artists


Funding is dedicated to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, groups and organisations. This funding is assessed wholly by Indigenous peers.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, groups and organisations are welcome to make applications for activities with vibrancy in artistic and cultural expressions.

Need help with your application? Contact a Grants Officer now

Annual Report 2016 - 17

First Nations arts are contemporary expressions of rich knowledge systems and unbroken storytelling stretching back for millennia. They are a source of strength, resilience and pride for First Nations peoples and are central to Australia’s narrative and identity. The vast majority of Australians agree that First Nations arts are an important part of Australia’s culture, and more Australians than ever are attending First Nations arts across art forms.

The Australia Council is committed to long-term support for First Nations arts, as one of the four goals of our strategic plan for a culturally ambitious nation. The Council undertakes a broad range of activity to support First Nations arts and cultural expressions, including investment through project grants and Multi Year organisational funding; targeted investment through the Chosen and Signature Works programs; capacity building and strategic development nationally and internationally; the National Indigenous Arts Awards; and research which investigates the First Nations arts ecology and promotes greater access and participation in First Nations arts experiences by all Australians.

Click here to continue reading on the Annual Report 2016 - 17.

Annual Report 2016 - 17
Annual Report 2016 - 17


2017 Featured Grants

Featured Media

‘Our’ nation’s audiences

‘Our’ nation’s audiences
Panelists: (Stage Right - Left) Frank Panucci - Executive Director, Arts Funding. Australia Council for the Arts, Rachel Griffiths, Archie Roach, Lydia Miller (Moderator) - Executive Director, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts. Australia Council for the Arts
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