Arts-based projects provide rich ground for meaningful Indigenous language and cultural revitalisation. Noongar Wonderland’, a feature event of song and performance in the 2022 Perth Festival, along with productions of Shakespeare in Noongar and film translations,  are vibrant examples led by our colleague Clint Bracknell (Bracknell et al. 2022).  Visual arts and storytelling offer a further platform for language revitalisation. Two exhibitions in the 2019 Tarnanthi Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, Ankkinyi Apparr, Ankkinyi Mangurr (Our Stories, Our Designs) (Disbray et al. 2019) and Painted Stories: Linking country, art and culture for language revival sprung from language-focussed community projects, with rich visual and multimodal arts outputs. Such projects often involve the discovery, return and repurposing archival materials to nourish community learning and creative expression, while adding archives and holding institutions to the mix. University researchers are frequent collaborators in such enterprises, with art-based practice and research a framework to understand and examine experience by both researchers and the people involved in such studies (Leavy, 2015).

This presentation explores the nature and value of collaborations between researchers and the GLAM sector (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) in interdisciplinary language-arts projects, through the case study the ‘Illustrated Literature of Papunya and Strelley’. This ARC funded project draws together partners including community members, artists, authors and story tellers, community art centres and organisations, videographers, archives, libraries and galleries and academics and its goals are manifold; community language and cultural maintenance and revitalisation, collection return and documentation, arts creation, exhibition and the celebration of language, culture and creativity. The presentation also examines non-traditional research outputs in universities, important for positioning collaborative and creative research in academic life.


Bracknell, C., Horwitz, P., Ryan, T., & Marshall, J. W. (2022). Performing kayepa dordok living waters in Noongar boodjar, South‐Western Australia. River Research and Applications, 38(3), 404-411.

Disbray, S., Plummer, R., Morrison, S., & Morrison, R. (2019). Ankkinyi Apparr, Ankkinyi Mangurr. In N. Cumpston (Ed.), Tarnanthi Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art 2019. Adelaide: Art Gallery of South Australia.

Leavy, P. (2015). Method meets art: art-based research practice. New York, London: The Guildford Press.

About the presenter

Samantha Disbray is Lecturer in Endangered Languages in the School of Languages and Cultures. She worked and lived for many years in Central Australia, as a community, research and education linguist. As a community linguist she collaborated with Warumungu speakers on language documentation projects in Tennant Creek, in the Northern Territory, creating resources including a learner’s dictionary. Warumungu children’s language development and repertoires was the focus of Samantha’s PhD study.

With greater insight into children’s languages and an earlier background in languages education, Samantha worked for the Northern Territory Education Department for 5 years as the regional linguist, supporting teachers in Bilingual, Language and Culture and English as an Additional Language programs, before returning to academia and researching education and languages education.

With the Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Languages (2016-2019) she carried out further Warumungu language documentation, branching into arts-based language work, which resulted in a national exhibition of language inspired multi-media artworks. In 2019 she came to the University of Queensland, and in 2020 she awarded an ARC Discovery Grant, ‘The illustrated Literature of Papunya and Strelley’ a project that brings together language, education and arts.   

About Linguistics Seminar Series

The Linguistics Seminars are an opportunity to hear from guest speakers, UQ staff and HDR students working on topics of interest in Linguistics, Language Revitalisation and Applied Linguistics. If you would like to present in our series, please contact Linguistics Cluster Co-ordinator, Samantha Disbray.

Seminars are generally held fortnightly during semester on Friday afternoons, and are free to attend. UQ staff and students, staff and students from other universities, and members of the general public are welcome to attend. If you would like to receive invitations to our Linguistics Seminar Series, please complete this form.


Gordon Greenwood (32) Room 309 or Via Zoom