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Revitalising Australia’s First Languages
The Centre for Australian Languages and Linguistics (CALL) celebrates the richness of Australia’s first languages. It supports projects and provides services, initiatives and advocacy in language maintenance and revival. The work of the Centre is underpinned by Batchelor Institute’s vision:
To be the First Nations institution of choice, where truth, knowledge and wisdom meet (Batchelor Institute Strategic Plan, 2020).
As a Language Centre based in the Faculty of Tertiary Education and Research at Batchelor Institute, and closely connected with Batchelor Press, CALL’s language support work includes language recording and documentation, resource production and supporting the growth of the next generations of language workers through providing opportunities for intergenerational work and learning.
Operating as something of a service hub, CALL brings together resources, expertise, networks and knowledge from over 30 years of work with Australian languages. CALL works with communities, cultural leaders, academic organisations, researchers, students, language centres, education programs and publishers. The work of CALL is grounded in the Both-Ways philosophy and participatory methodologies, recognising that Indigenous language maintenance, revival and salvage must be embedded in community-based engagement.
The Centre benefits from the corporate and administrative stability and support of Batchelor Institute but works beyond academic and institutional paradigms; CALL’s scope of services is based on working with Australian languages from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander worldview. This enables CALL to respond to circumstances and opportunities for the benefit of clients and communities and ensures the best combination of expertise is provided in support of language research, documentation and preservation.
CALL has a presence in the Top End and in Central Australia. In Central Australia are Angela Harrison (Manager), and Vanessa Farrelly (Pertame Language Project Officer), and a number of casual staff working on language projects. In the Top End, Maurice O’Riordan (Publication Manager) works for Batchelor Institute Press. Maree Klesch, former Director of CALL and Batchelor Institute Press is currently completing language projects.
In addition to the CALL staff are the many Batchelor Institute staff with whom CALL collaborates. These include Research, the library, VET - Art, Conservation and Land Management and Media staff - and other admin and support staff. CALL is grateful for their support and collaboration.
CALL also collaborates widely with language experts, linguists and others who through their commitment, interest and various skills have provided great support for CALL work and projects. If you are interested in working with us, please contact our research division at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Angela Harrison at email@example.com.
In the words of Jeanie Bell, linguist, activist, educator and long-time Batchelor language custodian:
I believe that the strenuous efforts of most Indigenous language workers are primarily about sustaining our linguistic survival and a determination to ensure that our cultural heritage continues to be passed on even if in a modified form to what it was 100 or 200 years ago. We do it to stay connected to our country and the old ways of our Ancestors and we need it to stay strong in ourselves. We also need to work out the best ways we can take it into the future.