Research Associate recipient of Travel Grant

2 Jul 2021

Congratulations to School of Languages and Cultures Research Associate, Lowana Tudor-Smith, on being the recipient of Round 6 of The Neilma Sidney Myer Travel Fund, receiving $10,000 to conduct research in the Northern Territory for ‘Bina: First Nations Languages Old and New’. Over the course of the two and a half week trip, Lowana will visit communities and conduct interviews with consultants at Yuendumu, Kalkaringi and Ngukurr, accompanied by Paul Williams and Felicity Meakins. The fund, launched in 2017, was named in honour of poet, novelist and short story writer Neilma Gantner (1922-2015). In partnership with the Myer Foundation, the Travel Fund supports emerging, midcareer, and established writers and literary sector workers in pursuing professional development through travel.  

‘Bina: First Nations Languages Old and New’ is a book which aims to outline the state of First Languages and new language contact varieties in contemporary Australia. The authors want to broaden the general public’s perspectives on First Nations languages beyond the pre-colonial language situation. Prior to 1788, 350+ languages were spoken across the continent — now only 18 languages are still being learnt by children. Yet in their place is a complex array of restructured language varieties, Kriols/Creoles, unique English dialects and fusions of traditional languages with English.  

Tudor-Smith, Williams and Meakins are consulting with First Nations groups across the continent and connecting their perspectives with the academic literature in a way that is accessible to the general public. First Nations linguists, Lowana Tudor-Smith (Baradha, Yiman, Gureng Gureng) and Paul Williams (Gomeroi) bring unique perspective and understanding of cultural sensitivity and norms, along with non-Indigenous linguist, Felicity Meakins, who has over two decades of experience working with First Nations groups.