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Uncharted Territory... As a research hub for the innovative study of diverse histories and civilisations, the School of Culture, History & Language (CHL) prides itself in leading the way for cultural engagement with Asia and the Pacific. By enhancing research-led education in the region, the School is well-positioned to provide an ideal platform to enhance digital learning and strengthen cultural engagement with the peoples of Asia and the Pacific. And now, in a year that’s thrown up significant adversity and logistical difficulty, learning and engagement via the digital medium has never been more critical.
Against this backdrop, CHL was faced with the challenge of reinventing its events program, including its National Institutes Grant (NIG)-funded annual flagship programs. How possible was the integration of CHL’s NIG goals, the overarching aspiration to network and connect, and the educational need to exchange knowledge on a shared platform? Was it possible to revolutionise the way we held events altogether and actually reform our platform of knowledge and discussion so as to achieve connection and continuity beyond timelines, boundaries and borders?
With this new aspiration and vision in mind, the CHL team set out to herald a new format of flagship event management as part of the process – and one of the key facets of this was the development of an online showcase of resources and a research hub that students, teachers, and relevant stakeholders could globally access anytime, anywhere for ongoing knowledge exchange that’s dynamic and real time.
The year 2020 saw the genesis of The Global Festival of Asia and Pacific Language and Culture Education, a series of online language-focused seminars and workshops hosted and organised by the School. It was a fresh approach to continuing the conversation initiated in 2019, with the Innovative Language Education Symposium.
This involved facilitating the development of CALE (Culture and Language Education), a dynamic hub of resources and research to support the innovative study of the languages and cultures of Asia and the Pacific. The CALE website is designed to benefit educators, scholars and students of all levels. The platform fosters and shares specialised knowledge to enhance digital language learning and cultural engagement with the peoples of this region.
Resources include a collection of language-specific toolkits, which will continue to evolve on an ongoing basis, to support language learning and teaching; a library of events and recorded discussions on topical challenges and innovative practices in language and culture education; and eLearning exercises for less commonly taught languages.
The Asian and Pacific region is a site of increasing importance in contemporary global affairs, be they social, political, environmental or otherwise. By fostering deep knowledge of Asia and the Pacific through a platform for language and culture education, CALE (Culture and Language Education) seeks to promote opportunities and practices for engaging in and with this dynamic and diverse region at a critical time in its history. The expertise showcased here and at the School covers many Asian and Pacific languages less commonly taught in Australia or elsewhere, as well as major and classical languages of the region.
“Decolonising the Academy: Trans-Indigenous Possibilities” is a project that brings together Indigenous scholars from across Australia, the Pacific and Asia, in an evolving and expanding dialogue about what it means to practice decolonial academic work.
Across the world, the university system has advanced colonial modes of education and research through its intrinsic relationships with the nationalist project of the settler-colonial state. As a result, universities exist as haunted sites of neo/colonial power and violence. They have historically functioned as imperial observatories to study and construct knowledge about Indigenous people, rather than producing work by, for and with Indigenous people.
Indigenous theorists and educators have increasingly responded to this problem by furthering decolonial academic work in many forms. This project seeks to encourage critical conversations about this work – what it does, why it’s necessary, and what its possibilities and limitations might be. This collaboration is framed through the concept of ‘remix’, which highlights a widening trans-Indigenous regional dialogue, and the ways in which many Indigenous scholars weave customary values, beliefs and forms of knowledge production with disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches, while underscoring the need for historical and political justice.
This website is a platform through which further conversations can emerge. Dissatisfied with the ways that university research attempts to control and master knowledge, the vision behind Decolonial Possibilities is to put into practice something quite different. The platform features a host of resources that help provoke conversations in communities and universities. This includes a path-breaking film and Dialogue, a space hosting monthly conversations centred on BIPOC voices on issues within and outside of the academy.
We would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions on this evolving bouquet of online resources, so we can keep the conversation and the knowledge sharing alive, irrespective of time, borders, boundaries, restrictions and physical distancing. Please do share your perspectives with us via firstname.lastname@example.org.