Tatoli ba Kultura (Passing on Culture, in Tetun language) was a research project by Griffith University (Australia) in collaboration with the former Secretary of State for Culture in Timor-Leste. Funded by the AUSAID Australian Development Research Awards, the project operated in Timor-Leste for 3 years and 9 months. It was led by Prof Tony Fry—MA Design Futures program leader at QCA (Griffith University)—,  and coordinated by David Palazón in Dili between March 2009 and December 2012. Tatoli ba Kultura aimed at gaining the necessary materials and knowledge to establish the basis for a future Academy of Creative Industries in Timor-Leste. The research identified products and skills, historic materials and artefacts, tangible and intangible culture, through fieldwork research and access to inter/national collections and databases. The research provided the basis to develop an indigenous focused curriculum for an educational institution that would centre on conservation and innovation.

As the country coordinator of the project, David had a wide range of responsibilities, for example: carrying out fieldwork in remote areas of the country; documenting, editing and designing outcomes with the resulting data; as well as day-to-day administration and setting up and maintaining the project’s website. Today you can still browse through some of the online video channel (YouTube) and photo archive (Flickr) linked to the original project site ( kindly funded by the US Embassy in Timor-Leste, but now expired.

David also managed a team of freelance researchers, collaborators, volunteers, as well as liaised regularly with government staff (from ground level to senior political officials). Some of the project’s findings were showcased in a large event titled Akademia Arte no Industria Kriativa (Academy of Arts & Creative Industries) in July 2011. David is extremely grateful to the long list of people who contributed and supported the project throughout almost 4 years.

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