This project was funded by the federal government’s Office of Learning and Teaching.
The project was proposed in response to the limited opportunities for university students to learn Indigenous languages in Australia.
From the announcement of the initial funding grant:
Project Leader: Professor Michael Christie
Abstract: There are currently few opportunities available for university students to learn Indigenous languages in Australia. Development of new courses and their delivery requires ongoing engagement with Aboriginal language authorities, as well as sufficient time and funding to properly negotiate the process, and to develop appropriate pedagogies, resources and administration. This project aims to develop a digital ‘shell’ through which Aboriginal language owners can share their languages, histories, art and other knowledge and culture forms with university students, on their own terms via the internet. Australian tertiary students could access on-line study resources, and engage with knowledge authorities, through arrangements negotiated by their own universities. A sample program will be developed in Bininj Kunwok, under the authority of traditional knowledge owners from Western Arnhem Land.
With the approval of the Bininj Kunwok Language Reference Committee, the original course remains open to people wanting to learn Kunwinjku language and culture.
At the invitation of ANU, and the additional support of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language (through a Transdisciplinary and Innovation Grant), the pilot course is being expanded into a full semester unit for university students. The course will be offered through ANU and Charles Darwin University in 2019.
People interested in receiving updates about the future development of the Bininj Kunwok course should subscribe to the mailing list here
The digital shell is also available for other language groups to adapt to their own purposes. The shell was created using free, open-source materials, and is available at no cost.
For more information, contact us
Bininj Kunwok Language Project Reference Committee:
- Rev Lois Nadjamerrek
- Jill Nganjmirra
- Seraine Namundja
- Donna Nadjamerrek
- Andrew Manakgu
- Julie Narndal
- Roseanne Nawirridj
- Frank Nadjalaburnburn
- Cheryl Garnarradj
- Cathy Bow
- Marcella Maloney
- Dr Murray Garde (ANU)
- Andy Peart
Others who provided assistance at various stages:
- Professor Michael Christie (CDU)
- Professor Jane Simpson (ANU)
- Professor Gillian Wigglesworth (UniMelb)
- Professor Steven Bird (CDU)
- Dr Maïa Ponsonnet (UWA)
- Dr Steve Etherington for permission to use material from his Kunwinjku Kunwok textbook
- Barbara White (CDU)
- Hina Siddiqui
- Michael Lawrence-Taylor
- Alexandra Marley
- All the volunteer learners who participated in the pilot project in 2016