Share the Mic: Indigenous Knowledge–Aboriginal Artists & Law
To complement our current exhibition, Aboriginal Screen-Printed Textiles from Australia’s Top End, the Fowler is honored to bring together a group of cultural ownership experts in the fields of law, education, copyright, and the art market to discuss the biggest challenges indigenous Australians face in their attempts to maintain control over their intellectual property.
Case studies shared by three Australian panelists will illuminate the work they do to protect Indigenous art, and the ways in which they rely on one another. Their presentations will be followed by a conversation moderated by Lauren van Schilfgaarde, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Director, Tribal Legal Development Clinic, Native Nations Law and Policy Center, UCLA School of Law. The speakers will discuss what, if any, cultural knowledge should remain internal and confidential, how the history of Australian-Aboriginal relations impacts the policies in place today, and what immediate and longer-term solutions are being applied to a variety of concerns in this field.
This program is co-presented by UCLA School of Law’s Native Nations Policy & Law Center.
Patricia Adjei is a Wuthathi, Mabuiag Islander, and Ghanaian woman from Sydney, Australia. She holds Bachelor degrees in Arts and Law from UNSW and currently works at the Australia Council for the Arts as the Head of First Nations arts and culture. Previously, she worked at the Copyright Agency l Viscopy as the Indigenous engagement manager; served on the City of Sydney, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advisory panel; and has been a Board member of the Contemporary Pacific Arts Festival and the Moogahlin Performing Arts Board. As a 2018 Churchill fellowship recipient, Adjei investigated the practical application of laws protecting Indigenous cultural rights in the US and Panama.
Robyn Ayres has been a lawyer for over 20 years and has served as the CEO of Arts Law Centre of Australia since 2002. She is committed to ensuring that artists and arts organizations properly understand their rights as well as their legal responsibilities, and are fairly rewarded for the work they do. Prior to joining Arts Law, Ayres spent a significant part of her legal career working to achieve social justice for different groups in the community: she was a lawyer with Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (1988-91); a public interest lawyer at the Aboriginal Legal Service WA (1993-98); and executive director of the Mental Health Law Centre WA (1998-2002). In 2004, under her direction, Arts Law established the Artists in the Black service, which focuses on offering legal advice to Indigenous artists.
Stephanie Parkin belongs to the Quandamooka People of Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island). In her role at the Copyright Agency, she assists Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists with licensing and resale royalty queries. Parkin is also chairperson of the Indigenous Art Code, a voluntary code of conduct aimed at promoting fair and ethical dealings between art dealers/licensors and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. Both roles have a strong focus on artist advocacy, including the launch of the Fake Art Harms Culture campaign in 2016. Parkin is involved in lobbying for stronger Indigenous cultural and intellectual property protections.
Lauren van Schilfgaarde (Cochiti Pueblo) supervises live-client projects concerned with tribal governance and justice systems, ethics, cultural resources protection, voting, child welfare, and more. She received her undergraduate degree at Colorado College and her law degree from UCLA School of Law. Previously, van Schilfgaarde served as the Tribal Law Specialist at the Tribal Law and Policy Institute (TLPI) in West Hollywood, CA, where she worked with over 80 tribal nations; coordinated training and technical assistance at tribal courts; and focused on Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts, restorative justice, tribal court infrastructure, and federal Indian law.
Share the Mic
We at the Fowler believe in the civic duty of museums to give forum to multiple points of view. This series features thought leaders—artists, activists, and allies—who are guiding us along the arc of justice.
Image credit: Jennifer Wurrkidj (b. 1973) of Bábbarra Women’s Centre, Kunronj (Freshwater story), designed 2007, printed 2018; screen print; three stencils, linen and ink; Fowler Museum at UCLA, X2018.15.8; Museum purchase with Fowler Textile Council funds