Revitalising Indigenous Languages at UQ

15 March 2023

The 2023 Indigenous Languages Revitalisation Summer Intensive program at UQ brought together 14 Indigenous people from around Australia to build and share their skills for the work they do to revitalise their own languages.

The Indigenous Revitalisation Program attendees

The program was held at the St. Lucia campus in February and ran over seven days. During the program, the group focused on building networks to support language work; language learning; spelling languages; and locating, navigating, and repurposing archival and descriptive materials, like word lists and grammars. For the module on archives and collections, the group spent time in the UQ Fryer Library working with its collection, supported by the Library staff.

The School and the team have developed good governance with an Indigenous Steering Committee, led by Indigenous Industry Fellow Robert McLellan. Together they are networking with communities and industry to create a sustainable and responsive program of Indigenous Languages Revitalisation teaching, learning, research and engagement.

The workshop was important for the School’s Indigenous Languages Team, allowing the group to review the content, materials and pedagogy, and the roles and strengths of its members.

The program’s teaching team is made up of Indigenous Industry Fellow Des Crump, Professor Clint Bracknell, Gari Tudor-Smith, Paul Williams, and Dr Samantha Disbray.

Des comes with long experience researching and supporting community research through the State Library Queensland. Professor Clint Bracknell brings a great depth of expertise in language revitalisation through creative arts and performance. Paul Williams and Gari Tudor-Smith are UQ linguistics graduates and now Research and Teaching Associates in the School. Program Coordinator, Samantha Disbray is an experienced community and education linguist. 

“The Summer Intensive was a great success, with participants enthusiastic and committed for the 7 intensive days of sharing and learning. All reflected deeply and positively on the new skills, relationships and confidence they developed through the workshop, and the motivation it generated in them to carry through the work they are undertaking. Everyone was pleased to meet the UQ VC and President at the closing afternoon tea.” said Dr Samantha Disbray, coordinator of the Indigenous Languages Revitalisation Program.

The Summer Intensive group will continue to meet on-line monthly, to continue to support each other in their Language Revitalisation work. School of Languages and Cultures will soon promote a Winter Intensive, with a new group undertaking the 4 Shorter Form Credentials. The team continues to build the program and its connections to community, industry and government, with the aim of offering a Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Language Revitalisation in the coming years.

Click the below image to view the full event gallery.

2023 Indigenous Languages Revitalisation Summer Intensive Program