Tag Archives: community

Visit to Ngukurr community

Living Archive project manager Cathy Bow reports on her visit to Ngukurr.

It was such a delight to visit Ngukurr and spend a week with the wonderful staff at the Ngukurr Language Centre. I was able to go and meet a number of people in the community and show them the materials in the Living Archive, and talk about how they might be used in community.

As it says on their website:
Ngukurr is a large Aboriginal community in southern Arnhem Land, situated on Ngalakgan land. Formerly a mission, the community population covers 8-10 heritage languages that are all now endangered. The main language spoken in Ngukurr today is Kriol but within the community, traditional languages are held in high esteem. The Ngukurr Language Centre is a small, independent, non-profit organisation. The goal of the Ngukurr Language Centre is to revitalise, document, teach and promote the traditional languages of the community via a range of community-based language programs.

I had wonderful chats with the staff at the language centre, who are all passionate about their languages.

Grant Thompson and Cherry Daniels and I looked at the Marra and Ngandi materials that were produced at the Language Centre and are now available on the Living Archive. They enjoyed reading the stories and looking at the photos. As a senior elder, Cherry was able to give permission for all the materials in those languages to be made public on our website, even those which don’t name the contributors.

Angelina Joshua has her own story to tell about how her passion for Marra language ended up as an award-winning website for SBS called “My Grandmother’s Lingo.” I had the pleasure of watching Angelina teach a language class to a group of year 2 students from Ngukurr Community School – they were completely captivated by her, and were able to put together short sentences in Marra about animals and their own totems.

Dean Austin Bara looked at the materials in Wubuy language from Numbulwar and considered how he could use them in teaching Wubuy at the school. He’s also keen to make his own new materials that will eventually go on the Archive site.

I showed some of the Kriol materials to teachers and others from the school, who enjoyed reading the language that is most widely spoken in Ngukurr. Native speakers of either English or Kriol were able to read the stories, as Kriol is written very phonetically and the stories in the Archive are easy and fun to read.

Talking with a number of people around the community, we found very positive attitudes to Kriol, and everyone we spoke to agreed that non-Indigenous people living in Ngukurr should learn to understand and use Kriol to build better relationships in community.

I was pleased to be able to attend the Ngukurr Festival, where the Language Centre was selling water bottles with the word for ‘water’ in all the local languages. The bottles were filled with local bush medicine, and were especially popular with the ‘munanga’ (non-Indigenous) in the community.


Making a Warlpiri audiobook

This is a guest post from Barbara Martin, Samantha Watson, and Gretel Macdonald from Yuendumu School. They sent us a fantastic video produced from a book available in the Living Archive collection, and we asked them to share how they made it, so others can try as well.

Of course an audiobook can’t replace the skill of a Warlpiri teacher, but it is still a valuable resource. How did we make the audiobook…? Well we started by choosing a book that is popular with kids and adults. We had a think about how we would put the images and the text together using Adobe Spark, and decided that we wanted to add a few more images to bring this story to life. Otherwise the hungry mulyurlinji (perentie) just eats each lizard he meets and the story is all over too quickly!

That’s the great thing about making an audiobook – you can be the director and be as creative as you want to be. Once we had all the images figured out, and Barbara had learned from us younger ladies how to use an iPad along the way, we had to record our voices reading the book. This was challenging, and Barbara had to help us younger ladies to practice, and practice and practice (!) and think about the rhythm of Warlpiri, and how we would use our voices to play different characters. Now that we have made one audiobook we want to make more, and most importantly we want to get kids at Yuendumu School involved in making their own audiobooks.


You can also view this on the Living Archive website – go to http://laal.cdu.edu.au/record/cdu:34270/info/  and click on WATCH (go full screen to get the whole effect!) And send us your ebooks or audiobooks when you’ve created them.

Katherine visit

Project officer Haidee McKittrick visited Katherine recently to share about the Living Archive project. She writes:


It was wonderful being in Katherine again, sharing the Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages with friends, family and old acquaintances. Their response was overwhelmingly positive; people were excited about having access to the resources and were relieved that these precious stories were being preserved.

I met with people from many different groups in the region, including arts centres, cultural associations, health centres and training providers, covering everyone from pre-schoolers to aged care. While a number of people had not heard of the archive before, many had connections with the languages and stories in the archive, or even with the authors and illustrators of the materials on the site. Their minds were buzzing with innovative ways to use the books with their clients in their programs, and they were inspired to find or create more materials to add to the archive. Some made suggestions about improvements to the website, or recommended other people to contact, and we hope they’ll also be telling their friends and colleagues about the site.

Participants at the NT Library’s RIPIA workshop were also introduced to the archive by Trevor van Weeren, who encouraged them to engage with the materials in innovative ways, such as recording audio, creating video or animation, or adding information about the materials in there, such as English translations, or the names of people involved in creating these books.

Since this second stage of the project is all about engaging people with the materials in the archive, I can’t wait to see what comes of these fantastic connections. With all the exciting new partnerships discussed and great ideas and new possibilities shared, we’re very keen to follow up and help people make these ideas a reality.