Outhouse features at NSW Indigenous cultural summit

Museums & Galleries NSW (M&G NSW) re-used the Outhouse Storycatcher research tool at its 2011 summit (19 to 20 September) for Indigenous cultural leaders to discuss existing and future models for Indigenous knowledge centres in NSW as part of culture and heritage planning, 'Keeping Places and Beyond: Building Cultural Futures in NSW'.

In 2010 Lisa Andersen from CAMRA at the University of Technology, Sydney, worked with Brian Cohen and TRAX Arts to successfully develop and pilot the Outhouse Storycatcher as a tool with an 'excitement factor' for resarch with an over-researched community in the far west of NSW.

Outhouse Storycatcher

The Outhouse Storycatcher is a portable videobooth. Last year Lisa and her team did a research tour of the Central Darling Shire where locals were invited to enter the videobooth to be interviewed about what is 'cool', 'inspirational', and 'creative' about their  community. 

M&G NSW had followed the Outhouse research and, with an upcoming statewide summit of Indigenous cultural leaders and workers, the organisation was interested in taking advantage of a rare opportunity to collect knowledge and ideas about ways to keeping Indigenous culture strong and preserving heritage.

Michael Huxley, General Manager M&G NSW, approached CAMRA and TRAX as he felt the Outhouse was an exciting method to collect data from this audience 'beyond the organised sessions'.

Brian Cohen from TRAX Arts attended the summit to manage the latest version of the Outhouse (Mark V) and encourage people to participate in the research.

CAMRA senior researcher, Lisa Andersen, worked with Michael Huxley and M&G NSW to develop the questions for the videobooth resarch and will sit on the steering group to consider the findings.

'I see this is a validation of the method of approach I took for research in rural-remote Australia; which was high risk in development.

'Let's face it, some people - including me at times - thought it would never "get off the ground"

'But the Outhouse as a research tool - when it was working in Ivanhoe, White Cliffs and Wilcannia - was successful in attracting research participants to be interviewed.

'This re-use of the Outhouse for research by Museums & Galleries NSW to better understand how Indigenous NSW can share culture and preserve heritage is another excellent 'public good' contribution from the CAMRA project's research,' says Lisa.

Caption: Brian Cohen (TRAX Arts) and Lisa Andersen (UTS) with the Outhouse Storycatcher at its research 'debut' at Kilfera Field Day, near Ivanhoe NSW, September 2010

Read more about the Outhouse Storycatcher in the Central Darling