Cultures, Values and Communication

Communication can tie us together or drive us apart. It is central to human life and permits us to understand cultures and the values which underlie them.

Group of young people talking around a bench

The Faculty of Arts at The University of Adelaide is leading research into cultures, values & communication by supporting various communities to develop creative new strategies documenting, maintaining and growing their diverse cultures, as well as fostering better communication within and across cultures, including during times of conflict and crisis.

Communication is essential for transmitting cultural values both across societies and social groups, and from one generation to the next within cultures. Our shared values are fundamental to how we can function together effectively as a community. Enhancing intercultural communication allows us to develop deeper understandings of each other and the societies in which we participate, as does documenting the history of diverse cultures including indigenous communities. Our interdisciplinary research focuses on creating effective transcultural communication in various formats such as language, music, and performance, and on the history and values underlying our diverse cultural practices.

Through the JM Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice (JMCCCP), National Centre for Aboriginal Language and Music Studies (NCALMS), the Mobile Language Team (MLT), Applied Communications Collaborative Research Unit (ACCRU), the School of Humanities, and the School of Social Sciences, we focus on bettering our understanding of our shared humanity, relationships with our environments, diverse histories, values and world experiences to help us to build more unified and sustainable societies into the future.

JMCCCP focuses on research into cultural transformation through the arts, using a range of media such as the written and spoken word, music and visual art. ACCRU explores transformative social impacts of new communication technologies, and their potential particularly in developing countries facing rapid change.

One of our most prominent areas of research and development in cultures, values and communication is our continuous work within Indigenous communities through NCALMS and the MLT. The Indigenous cultures, music and languages of Australia are globally unique and supporting Indigenous communities to maintain and revive them is immensely important to our global identity. Many Indigenous music, cultures and languages in Australia are now critically endangered and need knowledgeable people to provide this kind of support. NCALMS specifically collaborates with Indigenous communities Australia-wide to research and promote their languages and music, and to develop creative new strategies for cultural survival in the digital age. The MLT is guided by an Aboriginal policy and advocacy committee that represents the interests of its Indigenous partner communities. The University of Adelaide has long been a leading provider of education and research training opportunities that are responsive to Indigenous community needs and concerns.

Located in the heart of one of the southern hemisphere’s most active and vibrant arts and festival cities, The University of Adelaide was recognised recently as the only United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) City of Music in Australia and a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. It attracts leading artists and public intellectuals year round, and is a dynamic international hub for arts production and research.

Our key researchers in this field:

  • Professor Aaron Corn - Director of NCALMS and CASM, Aaron’s research speciality is Australian Indigenous music, knowledges, and cultural heritage.
  • Professor Jennifer Rutherford - Director of JMCCCP, Jennifer’s research speciality is sociology, literary criticism, and creative practice.
  • Professor Andrew Skuse - Head of Anthropology & Development Studies, Andrew’s research speciality is information and communication technologies, educational media, and media and communication policy.
  • Professor John West-Sooby - Professor of French Studies, John’s research speciality is French literature, French history, and French–Australian relations.
  • Associate Professor Robert Amery - Manager of Kaurna Warra Pintyanthi, Rob’s research speciality is Australian Indigenous languages, language revival, and Kaurna dictionary production.
  • Dr Aaron Humphrey – Lecturer in Media Studies. Aaron’s research combines critical analysis with creative practice to investigate the relationships between images and texts, and between media and society.
  • Dr Paul Monaghan - Manager of the Mobile Language Team, Paul’s research speciality is Australian Indigenous languages, language worker training, and language maintenance.


Our research groups working in this area


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