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Forum on the 2020 National Indigenous Languages Report (NILR)

You are cordially invited to join a discussion around the implications of the 2020 National Indigenous Languages Report (NILR) for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, educators, policy-makers, policy implementers and policy evaluators. The discussion is hosted by the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language (CoEDL), the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR) Australian National University, the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), and First Languages Australia (FLA).

The online forum will be held on Tuesday, 24 November 2020 2 pm - 5.30 pm AEDT

Speakers will provide briefings on the research that underpins NILR and the need for a new national Indigenous Languages framework. This will be followed by small group discussions of the potential of the NILR findings and the new approach to language data for areas of work (e.g. education, interpreting, policy evaluation), and for the new Closing the Gap targets, especially Target 16 ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and languages are strong, supported and flourishing’).

A general briefing paper is here.

Please go to the forum website to register, and you will be sent a Zoom link before the meeting. If you need help using Zoom please contact us.

We gratefully acknowledge support for the forum from the ANU Policy Greenhouse Fund.

SCHEDULE (as of 9 November 2020)
2.00 – 2.05 Acknowledgment of country, introduction
2.05 – 2.20 AIATSIS: National Indigenous Languages Survey
2.20 – 2.35 CoEDL: NILR: Language ecologies
2.35 – 2.50 CAEPR: NILR: Language and wellbeing
2.50 – 3.00 General discussion
3.15 – 3.30 DTDRC: Office for the Arts
3.30 – 3.45 First Languages Australia
3.45 – 4.15 Other speakers and general discussion
4.30 pm Small group discussions and questions
5.00 pm wrap-up

Please note the briefing sessions will be recorded on Zoom, and some may be posted on the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Languages (CoEDL) website. Snippets/stills of speeches may be used for the CoEDL website and annual report. Speaker and attendee approval of the material would be sought before publishing. You are welcome to turn your video off if you prefer not to be recorded.

First languages industry skills registry

As part of our ongoing work in the area of training and career development for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people working in language programs, we are interested in creating a registry of people currently engaged in this work. This will cover all roles from language experts to administration, research and project managers and will include volunteers, contractors, part and full time employees.

The aim of the registry is to help us provide support for people in whatever role they fill - through targeted information services, training opportunities and the chance to meet and share with others working in a similar role. The registry could also potentially be a way to connect language centres with employees holding specialised skills and interests. We are also keen to hear about any new skills or training you would like to access if the opportunity comes about.

This will help our organisation to provide support, information and skills development appropriate to the needs of the different worker groups in this industry. Sharing of your details publicly will be optional.

Please feel free to give us a call if you have any questions or suggestions about the registry.

Contribute your details here via this online survey, or on this PDF form.

Discussion notes: Training and career development for language workers

First Languages Australia have started work on an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages project which has been funded by the Commonwealth Department of Education, Skills and Employment. This is to be run jointly with the Training and Career Development for Language Workers project, funded by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications–Indigenous Languages and Arts program. 

These projects will build on the information in our 2016 Report Nintiringanyi: National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Language Teaching and Employment Strategy. The result of the new joint projects will be a comprehensive Government-backed strategy for the learning and teaching of languages, and training and career development covering all areas of language work. The content of the final report will reflect the knowledge, aims and ambitions shared by the language centres and community programs, supported by research and innovation from a pool of partner organisations.

One of the first steps is to hold a national video conference for language centres and programs, to begin talks around training and career development for language workers. As a starting point, we have compiled a list of the relevant training opportunities currently available into a summary document that can be downloaded here

A video conference to initiate the conversation was held on Thursday, 11th of June at time 11.30 EST. The discussion agenda is below, and meeting notes are available here for reference.

Read more: Discussion notes: Training and career development for language workers

Supporting language programs in these difficult times

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Minyahgu to all of you in our network who are trying to continue with such important work while facing the necessary restrictions around contact and travel.

We would like to invite you to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you feel that we can be of any help at all, but in particular we can offer support in the following ways:

Read more: Supporting language programs in these difficult times

Language classes at a distance

Notes from language programs video conference held Friday, April 2020.

First Languages Australia and the Pertame Language Project invited people to participate in a video conference to connect, hear and learn from each other about creative ways we can continue our language teaching through digital platforms. COVID-19 presents a huge threat to our old people, who often are the sole holders of our precious language knowledge. Keeping our old people safe is the number one priority. How can we also make the most of this extra time many of us have to learn and teach our languages?

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Read more: Language classes at a distance

Career Development and Language Teaching Project

First Languages Australia has been funded for a national project to support the career development of Indigenous language workers and to research resources and tools for the teaching of Indigenous languages.

This will allow us to expand on the work that went into the publication of Nintiringanyi: National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teaching and Employment Strategy. 

A project outline can be downloaded here.

As we begin the next round of discussions we would like to hear from you about which parts of the project are most relevant to your region. We would also appreciate your advice as to who would be key individuals to contact within your state or territory. 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like to be involved in the discussions, or for further details. 

Two-way Linguistics: Working together for Indigenous Languages

First Languages Australia Committee Member and Central Queensland language worker, Melinda Holden, joined interpreter and early childhood teacher Josie Lardy, linguist Ilana Mushin, and linguist Felicity Meakins and musician Eleanor Dixon from the Mudburra Language Project, at the Australian Society of Linguistics Conference for a panel conversation about best practice in the ways academic linguists and community-based language workers and linguists are working together.

Read more: Two-way Linguistics: Working together for Indigenous Languages

Language lessons at Woordford Folk Festival

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To celebrate the International Year of Indigenous Languages First Languages Australia has been invited to host a selection of speakers, local language lessons and panel discussions at the Woodford Folk Festival.

If you are one of the 130,000 plus people planning to attend, look out for us there.


ABC Elevate Reconciliation Action Plan

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We are very pleased to have been a partner in the work that has seen the ABC launch its first ELEVATE Reconciliation Action Plan. Continuing to embed our languages across the network is the key feature of the RAP. As ABC Managing Director David Anderson and Chair of the board Ita Buttrose state "The Elevate RAP aims to embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, voices and names within our vocabulary and style so that they may, in turn, become an everyday part of the vocabulary and voices of the nation".

Read more: ABC Elevate Reconciliation Action Plan

SBS National Languages Competition

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We were pleased to partner with SBS in the fourth SBS National Languages Competition, which aims to inspire all Australians to embrace language learning and retention. The competition asked language students to answer the question: "How does learning a language make a world of difference to you?". Forty-four Aboriginal language learners entered, doubling last years’ count. We look forward to seeing that number double again in 2020.

Read more: SBS National Languages Competition

Indigenous Language Song Competition awards six schools

ABC Education and First Languages Australia have selected a record six winners for the 2019 Indigenous Language Song Competition.

 In this the International Year of Indigenous Languages, the competition entries were very strong with the judges deciding to award all contributors as well as highlighting six exceptional entries.

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Bold Park Community School students performing Marrin Gamu in Noongar.

Read more: Indigenous Language Song Competition awards six schools

Contact us

Phone  +61 2 4940 9144  or  1300 975 246
Visit  2 Milton St, Hamilton, NSW, 2303
Post PO Box 74, Hamilton, NSW 2303

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