About 60 people attended 2018 Frank Archibald Memorial Lecture at the Armidale Bowling Club on Thursday, November 8 to listen to this year’s speaker, Dr Lou Bennett, outline her work with Indigenous languages.
Dr Bennett told the audience her passion was the reinstatement or repatriation of Indigenous language through song and the teaching of song, and that her system of Sovereign Language Repatriation applied Indigenous methodologies and practice-led research to the task.
“The project brings together collaborative processes of song arrangement, composition and notation to develop and evaluate an Indigenous song pedagogy for language repatriation, that aligns with the diverse contemporary learnings and contexts and the needs of individual Indigenous communities, or as they’re seen as cultural heritage communities, in academia,” she said.
Dr Bennett said work on Indigenous languages was at a very exciting and vital stage and was delivered to Indigenous communities through multimedia, Internet and mobile applications. However, she said sometimes these platforms were not produced with Indigenous communities in mind and were perhaps too complicated.
“It’s about learning how to cut through that linguist language [and] to be able to bring some access to our communities,” she said.
Dr Bennett explained her research methodology, including the importance of context; of looking at language in a practical and cultural manner; meaning it needed to be viewed through Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander eyes.
This University of New England’s lecture series commenced in 1986. It was dedicated to Frank Archibald, his family and Aboriginal people of the New England region. It is presented by leading professional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander speakers in fields such as education, law, social justice, government and the arts, and this year’s live stream of Dr Bennett’s lecture can be found here.
Dr Lou Bennett was a terrific speaker. This year, her insight into Australia’s Indigenous languages epitomised the original concept of the Frank Archibald Memorial Lecture Series, perhaps more than any other.