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This paper presents the case that the Aboriginal arts industry in the Northern Territory is deeply connected with the history of community-based adult education. The paper traces the history of Aboriginal adult education in the Northern Territory from the 1940s through to the 1960s - a period dominated by the assimilation policy. Many adult classes in Aboriginal communities during this period were art-related, which, it is argued, laid the foundation for the development of the Aboriginal arts industry. This is illustrated by examining the history of adult education at Papunya in central Australia and the beginnings of Papunya Tula. Other examples are also briefly described.

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Open Access Conference Paper

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Open Access