I am pleased to have undertaken an Aurora internship with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) in Canberra. The experience exceeded my expectations and I am significantly better prepared for professional practice in work contexts. The institute offered me an invaluable opportunity to contribute, in a meaningful way, to a project which will be of great benefit to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. In doing so, AIATSIS provided me with a rewarding and fulfilling experience. I chose AIATSIS as the organisation through which to undergo my internship because I have long considered the work which they do in preserving, strengthening and renewing Indigenous languages and cultures across Australia to be of critical importance. I also wanted to gain experience working in a governmental organisation, in order to broaden my knowledge and capabilities. Most importantly, during my placement I undertook meaningful and impactful research and was able to contribute new knowledge to the organisation as well as to the Indigenous sector more broadly.
During my time at AIATSIS I worked within the research department in the Indigenous Research Exchange Unit. The Indigenous Research Exchange is a new unit which aims to further Indigenous data sovereignty and governance, and improve accessibility for Indigenous peoples to their knowledges. It will do this by developing a digital database which aggregates and disseminates Indigenous data, and by developing a grants program which will increase research into areas of key priority for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. My role within the Exchange was to undertake research to address a specific gap in the institutes knowledge of how Indigenous communities currently, or could potentially, use government data to influence planning, research or other decision-making processes. This research was important for the Exchange as it would lay the foundation for the design of the digital database and provide preliminary insight into areas of research priority. For AIATSIS more broadly, the Exchange is an important development because it is offering new knowledge in the emerging field of Indigenous data governance and sovereignty.
The internship was an opportunity to expand my professional workplace skills and build on my professional development. I learnt both generic and specific skills to take with me into the professional world of work and guide me through my career in the Indigenous sector.
I would highly recommend applying for an Aurora internship for an invaluable experience working in the Indigenous sector.