Principles and multimedia tools for sustainable language documentation, maintenance and revitalization

Phillip Cash Cash
Gail Woods

Course days, time, and location:
6/22, 6/23, 6/24, & 6/28
1:30 - 3:15
Pacific, Room 113

Course Information:
Art and multimedia are powerful vehicles for language and cultural maintenance as they enable people to explore, express and reaffirm traditional knowledge, to restate where traditional strengths lie. By taking advantage of the ubiquitous digital technologies with which community advocates and fieldworkers/linguists interact, we can create multimedia products that are a blend of cultural continuity, innovation and transformation; products that excite, inspire, document and promote language and Indigenous ecological knowledge.

The workshop
The workshop is aimed at both ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’- that is, both language activists and also fieldworkers/linguists who are external to the language community. It will be a mix of hands-on activities, mini lectures and discussions.

We will offer a series of hands-on tasters in:

For each taster session we will also present and discuss example projects, whereby we will investigate the effectiveness of combining elders, youth, media and art practices with respect to cultural knowledge preservation and language documentation. The discussions will consider:

The workshop series will be suitable to beginners and intermediates.

Course Documents:
Using PowerPoint to Make Language Resources  
iStopMotion Manual  
iStop Software  
Boinx iStopMotion Manual  
About iStop Motion Animation  

Instructor(s) Bio:
Phillip Cash Cash is currently a PhD Dissertator and adjunct at the University of Arizona, USA.  Phillip is a younger speaker of Nez Perce, an endangered language, and is an enrolled member of the Cayuse/Nez Perce tribes of the southern Columbia Plateau of western North America.  In 2009, Phillip developed and delivered the course Documentary Filmmaking for Indigenous Language Communities at the annual American Indian Language Development Institute (AILDI) at the University of Arizona.  The course provided training to native scholars and community practitioners in video production with a key emphasis on ethnographic and language documentary techniques. 

In 2005, Phillip received a Documenting Endangered Languages (DEL) fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH). This DEL fellowship allowed him to complete a year of video-based language documentation fieldwork focusing on Nez Perce and Sahaptin in five reservation communities in the southern Columbia Plateau.  More recently, he received an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation & American Council for Learned Societies Dissertation Completion Fellowship for 2007–2008.  Upon completion of his dissertation, Phillip plans to continue advocating for the documentation and revitalization of endangered languages in the Columbia Plateau region and elsewhere through teaching and fieldwork.

cashcash[at], pasxapu[at]

Gail Woods
is a lecturer at the Centre for Australian Languages and Linguistics (CALL), Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education (BIITE), Australia. Gail is committed to the promotion, maintenance and revitalisation of Indigenous languages and cultures particularly through the development of Indigenous linguists and community-based Language Workers. Based in Alice Springs (which is 1500kms in any direction from the nearest capital city), Gail has been working in remote central Australian communities for 10 years.

At CALL we have developed Certificates I and II in Own Language Work to assist in building capacity in remote Indigenous communities to maintain, strengthen and preserve Indigenous languages. The courses provide grassroots training in language worker skills including vernacular literacy development, audio and visual recording, language analysis, transcribing and translating, language management and planning, language teaching skills and resource development. We take a 'project based', interdisciplinary approach to course delivery, responding specifically to community needs and aspirations and drawing on existing strengths: thus laying the foundations for community-based documentation initiatives. In a model such as this, the external practitioners are neither the sole researchers nor the leading researchers but rather, co-collaborators participating in a skills exchange with community members.

Currently, Gail is continuing in the co-facilitation of the Utopia Bush Medicine project, a community-based language and cultural documentation project that simultaneously combines youth, visual arts, media, and language worker training with the intergenerational transfer of Indigenous ecological knowledge. (Utopia is a de-centralised community of 16 outstations situated 300kms North-east of Alice Springs.)

Here, community members comprising young women, young men, senior knowledge holders and elders are collaborating with linguists, art practitioners and youth media trainers to document traditional knowledge about bush medicines.

Other Community language projects that Gail has been involved in include:
•    Utopia story books, cassettes and Talking books CDs (Alyawarr, Eastern Anmatyerr, Kaytetye), 2004
•    Colouring Book series (Alyawarr, Eastern Anmatyerr, Kaytetye), 2004
•    Anengkerr Angkety Dreaming Stories (Central Anmatyerr), 2005
•    ‘Intem-antey anem: these things will always be’. Bush medicine at Utopia - An exhibition of art and language including text, sculpture, etchings, installations and digital media, Araluen Gallery, 2008
•    Intem-antey anem DVD, 9 short films, 2008
•    Utopia Claymation project, 9 animations, 2009
•    forthcoming Language and arts exhibition, 2010, Peta Appleyard Gallery, Alice Springs


                                             Updated July 19, 2010 at 11:14 pm