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Is Aboriginal language revival a valid health and wellbeing therapy?

PhD Scholarship co-funded with La Trobe University

Sharon Atkinson

Sharon’s thesis will use Indigenous research methodology to investigate Aboriginal language revival in Shepparton, Victoria. Aboriginal language revival has not only increased a resurgence in cultural activities, it has also created a greater interest in collaborative projects from Aboriginal community and the public at large. The interest in Aboriginal language revival accommodates a broader range of communication skills, confidence building, and self-esteem as attached to pride of speaking one’s language.

Apart from the expected social connotations of language revival, there is something visible in the transformation of participants who invest their time in language revival. The ‘something’ is a phenomenon, intangible and elusive, but clearly of value. This thesis will argue that language revival is in fact a valuable tool that supports the holistic health and wellbeing of colonised peoples. The outcomes of this communal collaboration method of holistic language revival will also argue for the adoption of this methodology in planning language revival projects.

Sharon is a mature age student who has been teaching community language revival for the past five years. Prior to that, she worked in Aboriginal Community Health for 15 years, and in various sectors of education in Victoria also for 15 years. She has also worked in the areas of drugs and alcohol diversionary practice, with young people in recovery from mental illness, in tourism, and with government bodies and local shire councils.

The language revival project has, so far, produced the greatest number of positive community outcomes to date. Delivering language revival projects to mainstream has been inclusive of the amount of engagement within community frameworks. In Sharon’s past experience in many facets of community development and working with young people and socially isolated groups, language revival continues to break down communication barriers.

Created: 27 February 2018 - Updated: 28 February 2018