Advanced Indigenous Development Approaches (AIDA)

This three-day intensive short course will support staff working in Indigenous Affairs and Social Services to build their proficiency to work developmentally. Participants will develop skills in place-based approaches, locally-led decision making, frontline leadership, institutional brokering, and adapting to complexity.

Developmental approaches

Policy makers and practitioners – whether employed in the public, private, NGO or Indigenous sectors – have realized the importance of taking a developmental approach when tackling challenging problems in Indigenous and other disadvantaged contexts. They are looking for locally-led solutions to complex problems that supplement and strengthen existing service delivery and funding efforts.

Key topics covered in this course include:

  • Place-based and locally-led approaches
  • Cultural competency in relationships
  • Advanced participatory methods
  • Strengthening community governance
  • Program logics
  • Dealing with complexity and iterative adaptation
  • Strengths-based and problem-driven approaches
  • Brokering institutional collaboration
  • Political economy, gendered & stakeholder analysis
  • Personal challenges and coping strategies
Participatory and experiential learning

Participants benefit from a teaching style that reflects the application of theory to practice, and focuses on skills development. Using a case-study approach, participants develop new capabilities to tackle real world issues and dilemmas. They study and critically analyse current development challenges, and consider how these lessons can be applied to their own challenges. Some pre-workshop reading is required.

The course is divided into 12 modules, which builds over three days.  Each module is typically divided into four components:

  1. description of the case study challenge;
  2. teaching of theory and practice frameworks;
  3. workshopping in small groups; and
  4. an epilogue or reflection.

The learning is interpretative and generative of new ideas. Rather than passively listening to lectures for the duration of the course, participants (and facilitators) learn from each other. Policy makers have the opportunity to learn from frontline workers, and vice versa. Non-Indigenous staff have the opportunity to learn from Indigenous staff, and vice versa. The course also builds comradery and a professional network for participants to draw on when they are back at their jobs.

Who should attend?

The course is beneficial for government staff at all levels, and for staff working with NGOs, Indigenous organisations, mining companies or other private sector employers. Many of the case studies are drawn from remote Indigenous communities, while others look to disadvantaged urban localities, country towns and international development. Participants also bring their own experiences and knowledge, which we draw on to maximise relevance.

The course is restricted to a maximum of 30 participants to create a dynamic space for learning and collaboration, so early registration is advised. Register now as space is limited.

Course date and fees 

This course is currently only available for custom delivery of groups of 10 participants or more. Please email us to discuss your options further.


Professor Mark MoranProfessor Mark Moran has extensive research and practical experience in a range of developing contexts, including governance, public finances, community participation, town planning, social housing, and infrastructure. He is an experienced project manager and evaluator, including institutional analysis and stakeholder management in complex and politicized contexts. Professor Moran has worked in Indigenous and international development contexts, including Aboriginal Australia, Native America, Bolivia, China, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and Lesotho.