Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Unit

Ipsos Public Affairs has undertaken research projects involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for well over 15 years. In early 2016 we created the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Unit.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Unit

A different perspective

The mission statement is to do research the “right way” and build a pathway to develop innovative research and evaluation practice that has Ipsos’s core values of integrity, entrepreneurialism, client first, collaboration and curiosity reflected through an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lens.

Genuine inclusivity

Our work within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Unit is done so that we work “with” and “as” Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and not do research or evaluations “on” and “for” Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This is outside the norm of most research and evaluation methodologies undertaken in Australia to date. We are steadily changing clients’ perspectives on procurement for co-design.

We employ local Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people within their communities, provide them with training, support, mentoring and supervision to succeed in becoming local researchers for their communities and allowing them to tell the story their way.

Making a difference

Ipsos formally announced the creation of the Ipsos Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group in July 2016. The Advisory Group was formed to support the Ipsos Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Unit on ethical and culturally sensitive research projects and to give advice on the diversity among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and societies in Australia, each with its own mixture of cultures, customs, laws and more than 120 surviving languages. Membership of the Advisory Group is comprised of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a diverse knowledge of culture and understanding of ethical guidelines to support and share knowledge with Ipsos.

The committee

Co-chaired by ANU’s Professor Mick Dodson AM and Professor Maggie Walter from the University of Tasmania, Advisory Group members include: Dr Blaze Kwaymullina (WA), Dr Lawurrpa Maypilama (Elcho Island NT), Ms Vanessa Davis (Central NT), Ms Denise Foster (Central NT), Ms Eunice Yu (Broome WA), Ms Debra Reid (TAS), Mr Roland Wilson (SA), Ms Katrina Fanning (ACT), Mr Eliziah Wasaga (Horn Island/Townsville QLD), Mr Aven Noah (Torres Strait QLD), Ms Sharon Barnes (ACT/NSW, Ipsos staff member), Mr Michael Barnes (ACT, Ipsos staff member).

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Unit Committee
Missing from photo; Dr Lawurrpa Maypilama & Ms Debra Reid.

Ipsos CEO Simon Wake, Ipsos Public Affairs Managing Director Mark Davis, Ipsos Director of Public Affairs Queensland Kylie Brosnan and Ipsos Director Julia Knapp also sit on the Advisory Group.

Milestones

Since the Unit was established it has achieved some huge milestones. Projects completed or currently underway include:

  • The Community Development Program Evaluation • Stronger Communities for Children Programme Evaluation
  • Remote School Attendance Strategy Evaluation
  • Formative research into Indigenous School Attendance
  • Mental Health First Aid Training Evaluation
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Practise Reforms Evaluation (A family led decision making trial)
  • Opportunity, Choice, Healing, Responsibility, Empowerment (OCHRE) - a response to recommendations of the Ministerial Taskforce on Aboriginal Affairs, the NSW Auditor General and NSW Ombudsman
  • Managing affairs after the death of a loved one – research to inform digital transformation of government services
  • Research to inform communications on applying for and complying with Domestic Violence Orders • Torres Strait Islander Regional Council Community Perceptions Survey
  • Impact assessments of fee for service activities for Indigenous Land and Sea Management Programme
  • Formative co-design research in remote communities to inform Women’s Safety Net Package intervention
  • Murri Court Evaluation
  • Businesses such as Winangali, Coolamon Advisors, Yalu Marngithinyaraw, I-Jah Consulting and Two Ladies consulting

Some of these are/were in partnership with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander small businesses such as Winangali and Coolamon Advisors.

The Ipsos Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Unit is able to work across Australia with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. We have a vast network of local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers that we have trained, supported and mentored to be able to undertake research the right way for their own communities.