Mapping local indigenous communities to sustain cultural heritage in the Pacific: Australia, New Caledonia & NZ
About the project
This project aims to map what activities three indigenous communities, based in Australia', New Caledonia and New Zealand, are engaging in to sustain their cultural heritage despite facing rapid changes. UOW has a mission to understand the social, cultural and economic changes that are transforming lives in local communities. The three local communities to which researchers will be engaging with are: the Shoalhaven Aboriginal community on the South Coast of New South Wales, the Melanesian community outside Noumea (New Caledonia), and the Maori lwi in the Waikato area (New Zealand).
One of the main challenges faced by younger generations in indigenous communities is the loss of customs and traditions of everyday life as their parents migrate to urban areas in search of employment. The cultural and linguistic knowledge of the community remain with the Elders, who often reside in enclosed rural communities where they are unable to fully engage with the younger generations.
About the researchers
This project brings together a number of disciplines including linguistics, human psychology, and information technology.
Dr Anu Bissoonauth-Bedford is senior lecturer in French and discipline head for Languages and Linguistics program in the Faculty of Law, Humanities & the Arts. She has published in the areas of Language Contact in French multilingual societies and Technology Enhances Language Learning. She was awarded two grants to investigate patterns of language use and language attitudes in New Caledonia, where French comes in contact with indigenous Melanesian languages, Tayo, a local French Creole and English the global language of the Pacific. She is currently researching global challenges faced by local Melanesian languages in New Caledonia as the territory prepares for an independence referendum to be decided by 2018.
Dr Michael Matthias is a Lecturer in Psychology in the Faculty of Social Sciences. He specialises in human psychology and he has taught on Shoalhaven campus on the new social science and social work degrees. Prior to joining the University, he worked on several projects in metallurgical research, quality management and training. His overseas experience include training programmes in Kashmir, Thailand and Malaysia, where participants and organisations worked together to improve the wellbeing of individuals, their families and the organisations they were involved in.
Dr Holly Tootell is senior lecturer in the School of Computing and Information Technology within the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences. She obtained her PhD in Information Systems at the University of Wollongong in 2007. She has experience in technical translation and social impact of technology research. Holly has been awarded two grants to develop interactive whiteboard resources for preschool children. She has published in the area of gamification in early years’ technology and is currently researching the socio-material experiences of early years educators and technology.
Rebecca Campbell is a PhD candidate in the Australian Centre for Cultural Environmental Research within the Faculty of Social Sciences. Her research interests centre on issues of gender and ethnicity, using feminist, post-structuralist, and qualitative frameworks. Her PhD research focuses on minority migrants in Australia. She is from New Zealand and studied at the University of Waikato.
Jade Kennedy works within the Teaching and Learning division at UOW.