The Cultural Atlas

The Cultural Atlas is a collaborative project between SBS, International Education Services (IES), and Multicultural NSW. Created in 2016 as a supplementary resource to the Cultural Competence Program (CCP), it aims to inform and educate the public in cross-cultural attitudes, practices, norms, behaviours, communications and business skills. The goal is to enhance social cohesion in Australia and improve outcomes for individuals and organisations operating in an increasingly culturally diverse society.

All published content in the Cultural Atlas is the result of a collective effort between researchers, editors and members of the Australian community that have cross-cultural identities or familiarities. We would particularly like to acknowledge the contribution of many of Australia's multicultural community members, who took the time and effort to provide relevant information about their culture.

By gathering such knowledge into one resource, the Cultural Atlas provides a unique opportunity for users to gain a broad understanding of the norms and behaviour that would generally be familiar to people from the culture of description. The cultural observations are contextualised with up-to-date statistics about Australia’s migrant populations and stories of cultural differences experienced by those who were new to Australia. At a personal level, we hope the Cultural Atlas offers it’s users the chance to inform their judgements of cross-cultural experiences with a deeper understanding.

The Cultural Competence Program

The Cultural Atlas was developed to supplement the Cultural Competence Program (CCP) - a mobile App course. Thus, while the Cultural Atlas will provide users with meaningful insight into the cultural norms of other countries, undertaking the Cultural Competence Program will ensure a more structured knowledge of cultural features. It develops understanding around key elements of cultural communication, and emphasises the importance of effective cross-cultural relations. It features real life stories, engaging learning activities and provides practical support in working within Australia’s diverse cultural landscape. For more information on the Cultural Competence Program, please visit http://cultural-competence.com.au

Determining Culture

The Cultural Atlas itemises cultures by country. Using national cultures as the point of reference allows consistency and gives contextual history. However, it is important to acknowledge that cultures are not confined by national borders, nor are they homogenous within them. Every country contains a myriad of microcultures that differ from the dominant culture in identifying traits or characteristics. Therefore, the observations provided in the Cultural Atlas should not be strictly applied to all people of a country or misconstrued as stereotypes. Though many features of culture are persistent, culture continues to evolve.

An Australian Audience

The Cultural Atlas and the Cultural Competence Program have been designed for an Australian audience. Therefore, information on cultural communication alludes to an Australian norm to describe verbal and non-verbal behaviours. However, Australia is not the standard by which other cultures should be judged. You can visit our information on Australian Culture here

Is the Cultural Atlas finished?

The Cultural Atlas is a work in progress; its information is constantly being reviewed, updated and expanded. Presently, there are just over thirty countries published on the site. These cultures comprise of twenty largest migrant populations settled in Australia, or are among the biggest fifty. Altogether, approximately 79% of Australia’s migrants and 20% of Australia's permanent residents are born in one of the countries currently published (ABS, 2015 estimate) . Subsequent countries will continue appearing on the site in order of the size of their migrant population in Australia. It is our intention that this schema avoids the appearance of showing favouritism for one culture over another whilst the content is still being developed. We encourage you to contribute your thoughts regarding the site’s content by visiting the Feedback page.

The Team

Project Leaders: Nina Evason & Chara Scroope
Consultant: Robert Bean of Cultural Diversity Services Pty Ltd.
Team: Robert Macias, Leon Coningham, Linda Karlsson, Arun Malik, Justin Endacott & Luke Latimer.


The following are a selection of people that assisted in contributing their knowledge to the Cultural Atlas:
Adam Cauchi & the Cauchi family, Adbul Celil Gelim, Ahmad Shuja, Aleks Milinkovic & the Milinkovic family, Amir Bukic, Andrea van Doore-Nave, Andrew Bolton, Anneke Mackay-Smith, Anurodh Khana, Arahat Sundar Tuladhar, Archford Kahondo, Arliss Adou, Arun Malik, Behrooz Farahnakian, Brody Willys, Bunu Gautam, Chan Then Chap, Chen Shuyu, Christian Froelicher, Christophe Mallet, Cuthbert Kahondo, Daniel Grima, Daria Karasyova, Dasha Moskalenko, Dimitrija Krstevski, Efthymios Kallos, Elizabeth Willys, Elsa Tsang, Emily Scroope, Emily Westmoreland, Holly Qi, Hayan Mezher, Humaira Gul Saeed, Huyam Hamid, Iti Memon, Imane Belayachi, James Yu, Jeff Chau, Juliana Santos Abrao, Kaylee Brussow, Kulasegaram Sanchayan, Kumud Merani, LiLi Zhou, Malgosia Zlobicki, Mandy Brussow, Maria Bui, Marie Myssy, Marina Gendy, Marta Bartovak, Martina Vuckovac, Maxime Jaulin, Mehdi Zakerhossein, Merry Ha, Mersija Mujic, Michael Ngatama, Michael Willys, Michelle Willys, Moe Hasani, Nila Achia, Nontaporn Kukuntod, Oli Stoj, Omar Ibrahim, Radica Bojkovska, Raghull Morty, Raquel Leiva Velasco, Renata Buziak, Richard Bent, Ricky Onggokusumo, Robert Macias, Ronald Manila, Rose Rillera, Sahib Nazari, Sam Finerty, Seng Long, Shad Ali, Sikshya Rajyalaxmi Rana, Simon Chap, Sonet Chap, Sonia Caton, Swaleha Ali, Takuya Katagai, Tatiana Murasheva, Veta Taufu & the Taufu family and Yang Joong Joo.

In addition to the support received from SBS, SBS Radio and Multicultural NSW, we would also like to particularly thank the Queensland Intercultural Society, Syrian Australian Association of Queensland the University of Queensland South Pacific Islander Association, the UQ Nepalese Society, 4EBFM Ethnic Community Radio and the Federation of Indian Communities Queensland for their input.