Course convenor: Dr Sarah Holcombe - Sarah's research focuses on the social dimensions of mining, mine closure, and broadly the anthropology of the local Indigenous / extractive sector interface.

Course coordinator: Dr Lynda Lawson

Delivery: Online, 24 hours across 6 weeks with a live introductory session and a final wrap up session with Q&A. The content will be delivered using UQ’s edX on line platform with short lectures, readings, case studies and interactive and reflective activities.

Cost: $2000 (excl GST)

Participant Profile: Professionals, trades, management and consultants engaged in the resources sector

Overview: Running for a second time due to overwhelming positive reception, the course will address the foundational processes, practices and requirements for ensuring that cultural heritage is managed effectively and respectfully throughout the life of an operation. The course will draw upon a diverse range of Australian good practice approaches, practical approaches, practical examples and international standards. This six week course includes opportunities to learn from experts in the field, Indigenous leaders and from each other via interactive activities.


Learning Objectives

Participants learn about cultural heritage management (CHM) principles, relevant legislation and standards as they apply to an operating extractives site and the broader areas of impact. This course is relevant to all stages of an operations life, including exploration.

  • Gain a practical understanding of the value of working constructively and respectfully with cultural heritage custodians
  • Acquire initial tools and skills to enhance social performance in CHM with the aim of ‘democratising’ the CHM process to enable wider community participation
  • Establish a network of peers for knowledge-sharing and support.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course participants will have developed the ability to be able to:

  • Recognise both the intrinsic and business value of a cultural heritage management plan (CHMP)
  • Understand tangible and intangible aspects of CH in the context of Indigenous Australia
  • Distinguish between compliance drivers and more nuanced approaches to CHM
  • Ensure that the cultural heritage management requirements of protection and mitigation are met
  • Understand key elements of a stakeholder engagement plan
  • Identify the native title holding representative bodies or other collective structures representing Indigenous interests.
  • Select and engage third-party expertise and support for CHM
  • Prepare a scope of works for CHM related projects and articulate the business case for the need to undertake CH work.

Program overview

Modules 1 and 2: The Australian Indigenous context and Cultural Heritage (weeks 1 and 2)

These modules introduce the course, its aims and key concepts, for example the importance of early and continuous engagement. We provide context to the ‘deep time’ histories of the Australian continent, and the complexity and diversity of Indigenous languages and customary land tenure.        

Definitions of tangible and intangible elements of CH, and the relationships between them, are also introduced in these modules. While the knowledge base for understanding the roles of the disciplines of archaeology and anthropology in the management of CH will be developed through short lectures. The importance of engaging with gender across CHM will be taught, and highlighted here and across the course.

An Indigenous perspective on cultural heritage management by practicing archaeologist Dave Johnston is also presented.

Modules 3 and 4: What is cultural heritage management (CHM) and why it’s an important element in social performance (Weeks 3 and 4)

These modules will develop participants’ understanding of CHM and the deep inter-connection between land, sites and people. The rationale for strong and respectful CHM in the resource sector will be examined, considering for example the national and international industry standards and guidelines, the business case for CHM and its place as a core activity in social performance.

You will also learn more about CHM’s foundational disciplines – anthropology and archaeology – and the methods they use.  You will learn about CHM implementation with an innovative example from Lihir (Papua New Guinea). You will then critically engage with the criteria and requirements for preparing a Cultural Heritage Management Plan, through reviewing 3 Plans provided. 

A practical introduction to planning and implementing of CHM Plans will be provided using the PDCA (Plan, Do, Check and Act Cycle) as an integral element in life-of-mine planning. The course includes teaching on the implementation of CHM from experienced practitioners in the resource sector.

Modules 5 and 6:  Agreements, Engagement and CHM (Weeks 5 and 6)

These modules begin by examining elements of the legislative frameworks for Indigenous cultural heritage management across several states: including Queensland, Western Australia, Victoria and the Northern Territory (NT). This discussion frames a consideration of the adequacy of compliance-based approaches to CHM.

CHM is also an important element in negotiated local agreements, including Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs). We will discuss a range of approaches that incorporate varying levels of CH protection. 

We provide a case study, over two lectures, of a sacred site in the NT that was desecrated, despite the existence of an agreement, and the area’s legal designation as a sacred site. You will be tasked to critically engage with this case.

The importance of effective Indigenous and non-Indigenous stakeholder engagement will be emphasised, as well as appropriate and effective approaches for preparing stakeholder engagement plans. You will hear from experienced Indigenous social performance practitioner, Vanessa Elliot, on collaboration and co-design in CH management approaches and what cultural heritage means to her.   

The issue of cultural awareness training for staff is also briefly considered. The course will also outline the use of risk management tables in CHM plans and the practicalities of preparing a scope of work for a CHM plan. 

Essential and ‘Deep Dive’ Readings

Throughout the course, there are essential readings for each module and, also further extension readings – which we refer to as ‘deep dive’ readings – if further learnings are sought. All of these readings can be downloaded and a CHM library established by each participant.

Discussion Boards and Activities

Though this is an on-line course, it is interactive. We expect the course participants to engage with the discussion boards and the ‘blackboards’ for the various topics, to share their experience and learnings with the other course participants. While it is not formally assessed, all participants are required to engage with the activities to successfully complete the course.                     

About Social Performance in the Resources Sector

Developed in response to demand for more modular, intensive workshops and flexible study options, our social peformance masterclasses and courses offer those working in the mining and social performance field the opportunity to learn alongside peers in the sector and to hear from experts in the field.

The Masterclass Series are led by highly qualified and skilled practitioners working around the globe. These courses focus on specialised topics and offer participants the opportunity to develop new skills, gain exposure to latest practice and make key contacts in the field.

CSRM also delivers Customised Workshops, enabling teams to develop new knowledge, explore innovative concepts and practices, and to unpack complex sustainability scenarios. Workshop objectives can be tailored to the needs of individual organisations and can be facilitated at The University of Queensland, your corporate office, or on-site with social performance teams.

Registration for courses and masterclasses is done through an online payment form. 

Mastercard, Visa and American Express is accepted, as well as the option to create a Proforma Invoice that can be paid via BPAY or EFT.