The Cultural Interface

Cultural Protocols

Indigenous Methodologies


Right of Reply to the Archive


Ngara is a resource created for HDR students at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music at the University of Sydney. Structured around six interconnected themes, it invites students to listen to Indigenous ways of thinking, learning and understanding culture. It introduces the ideas of key Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander scholars and their Indigenous research methodologies; understanding of Country; how to position oneself in research; the “cultural interface” (Nakata 2007); cultural protocols; and the “right of reply” to archives holding records of Indigenous peoples and cultures.

All research projects undertaken at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music campus unfold on unceded Aboriginal land. This resource encourages students, regardless of their research topic or approach, to sit with this idea and contemplate how they are situated in relation to the scholarship as they seek out new ways of understanding musical practice and our musical world. The videos and texts provided on this website are not meant to be worked through systematically. They are offered as sites of contemplation, as opportunities for listening and learning, as a way of knowing this place more fully.


We encourage students to visit this website often, to listen to and read through the material curated here more than once, and to embrace the concept of Ngara by making space for learning through still, open, and attuned attention.

Ngara was collaboratively created by Shannon Foster, Jo Kinniburgh (partners at Bangawarra), Amanda Harris, Christopher Coady and Laura Case.

Filming and video editing by Cornel Ozies, Iman Irannejad, additional video recording by Jodie Kell, additional video editing by Jade Guadalupe. 

Original artwork by Shannon Foster.

Thanks to all participants: Rhiannon Brownbill, Chloe Ngelebe Ford, Emily Tyaemaen Ford, Payi Linda Ford, Shannon Foster, Amanda Harris, Eden Tjunggalamuriny Harkins-Ford, Jo Kinniburgh, Matte McConnell, Nathan Mudyi Sentance, Nardi Simpson, and Jacinta Tobin.

This resource was funded by One Sydney, Many People Project Funding from the University of Sydney’s Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Indigenous Strategy and Services.


Nakata, Martin. Disciplining the Savages – Savaging the Disciplines. Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press, 2007.