How can we use innovative tech to create a living, breathing view of Aboriginal culture?

Aboriginal Victoria

Currently in progress.
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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander* people have the longest continuous cultural history of any group of people on Earth extending back more than 65,000 years. Aboriginal Victoria is calling on startups to help preserve, celebrate and bring to life this rich history through cutting edge tech.

This challenge seeks a new approach to creating Aboriginal cultural markers beyond conventional plaques or statues around cities. Exploring the ‘realities’, Virtual, Augmented and Mixed as well as Voice, the solution will provide an experiential understanding of place from an Aboriginal perspective.

This has the potential to contribute to Aboriginal spiritual and cultural renewal and contemporary identity as well as the whole community's sense of self and to the process of reconciliation.[1]

*referred herein as Aboriginal

Contact us if you have any questions, check out our FAQs page or join us for Office hours.

What’s the problem?

There is a lack of visibility of Aboriginal people and culture in Victoria and a misconception of what Aboriginal culture is, and where it is located.

Many of us have no idea of the cultural significance of sites like the MCG, the William Barak Bridge and Gertrude St pre-colonisation, and as a result, there’s a perception that we have to travel to Central Australia to have a genuine cultural experience.

We also don’t understand the significant achievements of Aboriginal Victorians, both past and present, who have made a profound contribution to both their community and to Victoria.

This is a missed economic and educational opportunity to engage and enrich Victorians, Australians and visitors in our living Aboriginal history and to pay due respect to the culture of Aboriginal people.

What are we looking for in a solution?

We are looking for a solution that will transform and renew old mindsets and enable people to really connect with Aboriginal Culture through interactive cultural markers that celebrate people and place. It is Australia’s richest inheritance and in the present climate of Reconciliation there has never been a better time to draw upon the wealth of wisdom found in Aboriginal Culture.

We are looking for a solution that can be scaled across different locations and will work for a variety of content. We are particularly interested in applications from Aboriginal startups.

There are a number of other criteria to consider;

Accessible for all

Provides an inclusive service with different types of technology such as but not limited to visual, audio or sensory to enable access by all. For example, neuro-diverse people, people with disabilities, school groups and older people.

Time flexible

Enables people to choose how and when they engage with the experience. For example, do you have one day or one hour in Melbourne? Are you on your way to work? On your lunch break?

Reveals rich culture

Uses a range of artistic imagery and creativity to bring to life what heritage sites and landscapes looked like previously, revealing Aboriginal culture and history in a way that is not obvious as we move around the CBD. For example, the ability to see what your walk to work would look like hundreds or even thousands of years ago.

Focuses on key figures

Tells stories in an engaging manner so people learn about the members of the Victorian Aboriginal Honour Roll and the significant contributions they have made to their community and to Victoria.

Gives back to the Aboriginal Community

Provides reciprocal benefits to Victorian Aboriginal communities in recognition of their sharing of culture, histories and traditions.

Recognises and respects ownership

Acknowledges that Aboriginal people are entitled to protect and manage the use of their cultural heritage and expression.

Builds for scale

The solution has the potential to scale to other parts of the Tourism industry in Victoria, as well as nationally and abroad.

What does success look like?

Our aim is to drive impact and reach as many people as possible. Ideally the solutions would:

Who are the customers and end-users?

The end user ultimately is everyone who would encounter these Cultural Markers. It is the public and Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, who either live in or visit Victoria.

What assets are available to build the solution?

This is an opportunity to consult and connect with Aboriginal community members, drawing on their knowledge and cultural heritage to develop the solution.

Aboriginal Victoria will connect the startup with key subject matter experts to assist in the development or re-use of existing cultural assets.

[1] (Malone, 2007)

What is the opportunity for the successful startup?

This challenge would have up to $185,000 in funding which includes:

How does the program actually work?

At CivVic Labs, we go out to government departments and agencies and look for big problems that would benefit from new technology.

These challenges are broadcast to the Victorian startup ecosystem and the best solutions progress to an accelerator experience where you develop a Minimum Viable Product in collaboration with a government customer.

At the end of the program, you're in the running to secure up to $185k to fully develop the solution and we support you along the way with co-working space, coaching, workshops and mentoring.

For more on how this works, head here.


Contact us at or check out our FAQs page.

And if you missed our Information session on the 23rd of June 2020, you can watch it here.

To view the presentation for this challenge, go to time; 18.59.

Further Resources + FAQs

Which community partners will we work with?

The successful start-up will work collaboratively with Aboriginal Victoria with relevant stakeholders identified by Aboriginal Victoria including:

Is this a "work for hire" arrangement?

Instead of a work for hire arrangement, the goal is very much to create a product that can scale to different parts of the country and one you can build a business behind.

Who will decide which cultural markers are included?

The content of the cultural markers is not yet decided and requires collaboration with identified stakeholders, Traditional Owners, local Aboriginal communities and Local Aboriginal Honour Networks. Ideally, the content of the Cultural Marker will promote the heroes inducted into the Victorian Aboriginal Honour Roll, Victorian Aboriginal owned businesses and places of cultural significance within the City of Melbourne. As the preference for this Challenge is to develop a Cultural Marker within the City of Melbourne, the content of the Cultural Markers will depend on which location within the City of Melbourne is finally approved by Aboriginal Victoria, in collaboration with identified stakeholders, Traditional Owners, local Aboriginal communities and networks.

Who owns the cultural IP?

Aboriginal Victoria will seek to ensure that Cultural IP used in the project belongs to the appropriate Aboriginal Traditional Owner(s), community member or individual. However, the cultural IP owner will be dependent upon a number of factors: final location of the cultural marker, type of technology and contributions from relevant stakeholders identified by Aboriginal Victoria.

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