Aboriginal community-controlled art centres: Keeping Elders strong and connected. Articulating an ontologically situated, intergenerational model of care

Paulene Mackell, Kathryn Squires, Jessica Cecil, Melissa Lindeman, Scott Fraser, Roslyn Malay, Maree Meredith, Michelle Young, Lynley Nargoodah, Belinda Cook, Chrischona Schmidt, Briony Dow, Frances Batchelor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
124 Downloads (Pure)


Objective: To articulate how Aboriginal community-controlled art centres support the role of Elders and older people within an ontologically situated, intergenerational model of care. 

Methods: In this paper, we draw on stories (data) generated through interviews involving 75 people associated with three Aboriginal community-controlled art centres and field notes taken during a Participatory Action Research (PAR) study. The study was undertaken in collaboration with three community-controlled art centres and two aged care providers over almost 4 years, in diverse Indigenous sovereignties, all located in geographically remote Australian locations. 

Results: Engaging with decolonising and Indigenous theoretical frameworks, our analysis identified three interwoven meta-themes. These include connection to law and culture; purpose; and healing. Each theme had important subthemes, and all were central to upholding the well-being of older people and their families, as well as the art centre workforce, Country, and their broader communities. 

Conclusions: Our analysis articulates an ontologically situated model of care within Aboriginal community-controlled art centres. The model sees that older people receive care from art centres and provide care to each other, to younger generations, to art centre staff, to Country, and to their broader communities. In this model, those in receipt of care, many of whom are older people, art centre directors, and important artists, govern how care is conceptualised and delivered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-301
Number of pages9
JournalAustralasian Journal on Ageing
Issue number2
Early online date2023
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge the many Countries throughout what is now known as Australia, on which we live and work. We pay our respects to the First Peoples of these Countries and to their ancestors and Elders past and present. In particular, we acknowledge the Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara, Yankunytjatjara Countries and peoples of Tjanpi Desert Weavers, Pintupi-Luritja Countries and peoples of Ikuntji Artists, and Bunuba, Gooniyandi, Walmajarri, Wangkajunka and Nyikina Countries and peoples of Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency for their methodological and ethical leadership during this study. We also acknowledge and thank everyone involved in this study, including members of our Project, Advisory, and Methodology Fidelity Groups for their expertise and generosity. Open access publishing facilitated by Charles Darwin University, as part of the Wiley - Charles Darwin University agreement via the Council of Australian University Librarians.

Funding Information:
This study was funded with support from the Australian Government, via a Dementia and Aged Care Innovation Grant; the Dementia Australia Research Fund; and the AAG Research Trust.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Australasian Journal on Ageing published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of AJA Inc.


Dive into the research topics of 'Aboriginal community-controlled art centres: Keeping Elders strong and connected. Articulating an ontologically situated, intergenerational model of care'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this