21st Century Innovation in Conserving the Rock Art of Northern Australia
Paul S.C. Tacon [+]
Rock art conservation requires a holistic approach and should be maintained continuously. It is not simply using science to understand weathering processes that affect the art directly, but importantly involves other factors such as social, cultural and tourism concerns. These aspects need to be dovetailed so that information gained in one study can be disseminated to all other components. This idea underpins the Rock Art Protection Research Program that began in 2011. It has eight guiding principles: (1) Direction by, and involvement of, Indigenous owners and local communities; (2) Intellectual property and protocols for documentation; (3) Ethics and standards for conservation practice; (4) Ongoing communication and collaboration; (5) Raising public and political awareness; (6) Creating effective rock art management systems; (7) Training and support for conservation practice; (8) Realising community benefits. The overall aim of the research program is to collaboratively develop new, innovative ways to conserve and manage the rock art of northern Australia and beyond with and for the benefit of Indigenous peoples and local communities. In the process, new knowledge about rock art and its conservation will be obtained and Indigenous communities will be empowered.