NAIDOC Week 2019

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NAIDOC Week 7 July – 14 July 2019

‘Awaken’ artwork by Kaurna and Narungga woman Charmaine Mumbulla.  Charmaine cares deeply about the 2019 National NAIDOC theme, and about the celebration of Indigenous art and history.

“Early dawn light rises over Uluru, symbolising our continued spiritual and unbroken connection to the land.  The circles at the base of Uluru represent the historic gathering in May 2017 of over 250 people from many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nations who adopted the Uluru Statement from the Heart.  Our message, developed through generations, is echoed throughout the land: hear our voice and recognise our truth.  We call for a new beginning, marked by a formal process of agreement and truth-telling, that will allow us to move forward together.”

Learn more about poster winner Charmaine Mumbulla.

Download a copy of the National NAIDOC Poster and Teaching Guide.

Website https://www.naidoc.org.au/

Indigenous Network https://www.indigenous.gov.au/regional-network

As a National NAIDOC poster winner, Charmaine Mumbulla is excited to be part of NAIDOC history.  Charmaine plans to celebrate NAIDOC Week by taking her children to the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and achievements with a community BBQ and entertainment.  Charmaine will also be doing some workshops at her children’s school and making their favourite morning tea…Johnny cakes with lilly pilly jam.

NAIDOC Week 2019 Artist Mumbulla News

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

NAIDOC Week ‘Because of Her, We Can’

NAIDOC Week 2018 Poster

Artwork:  tarmunggie-woman
Artist:  Cheryl Moggs

The 2018 National NAIDOC Poster was designed by Cheryl Moggs, a Bigambul woman from Goondiwindi, Queensland.  Cheryl drew on the history, courage and resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to educate others.  The artwork (tarmunggie – woman) has three overlaying images, connecting dreamtime, culture and knowledge.

BECAUSE OF HER, WE CAN!

Theme:  NAIDOC Week 2018 celebrates the invaluable contributions that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have made – and continue to make – to our communities, our families, our rich history and to our nation.

“This artwork portrays the courage and resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.  From the ripples of fresh water and salt water, across the travel pathways and song lines of our traditional lands and skies”.

NAIDOC WEEK 8-15 JULY 2018

Background:  NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.  NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life.  The week is a great opportunity to participate in a range of activities and to support your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

Origin:  NAIDOC originally stood for ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee’.  This committee was once responsible for organising national activities during NAIDOC Week and its acronym has since become the name of the week itself.  Find out more about the origins and timeline history of NAIDOC Week.  Find out the history of the Australian Aboriginal flag and the Torres Strait Islander flag under Australian Flags.

Awards:  Each year there is a different focus city for the National NAIDOC Awards Ceremony.

  • Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Person of the Year
  • Female Elder of the Year
  • Male Elder of the Year
  • Caring for Country Award
  • Youth of the Year
  • Artist of the Year
  • Scholar of the Year
  • Apprentice of the Year
  • Sportsperson of the Year

This year the focus city of Sydney will start NAIDOC Week with the 2018 National NAIDOC Awards announced at a black tie ceremony and ball.  National NAIDOC Poster Competition and the NAIDOC Awards recipients are selected by the National NAIDOC Committee.

Websitenaidoc.org.au
Facebook:  facebook.com/@NAIDOC
Twitter:  #NAIDOC2018 #BecauseOfHerWeCan

To learn more about NAIDOC Week activities in your area, contact your nearest Regional Office.

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

NAIDOC Poster Facebook Banner 2018

NAIDOC Week Statement 01

Silent Reading and Socio-Cultural Development

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Among scholars, says Thu-Huong Ha, there is a surprisingly fierce debate around when European society transitioned from mostly reading aloud to mostly reading silently.  Thu’s latest article for Quartzy shines a light on the evolution of reading silently––

Finding Space
“The beginning of silent reading changed Westerners’ interior life”
By Thu-Huong Ha
Tuesday 19 November 2017

People think of reading as the introvert’s hobby: A quiet activity for a person who likes quiet, save for the voices in their head.  But in the 5,000 or so years humans have been writing, reading as we conceive it, an asocial solo activity with a book, is a relatively new form of leisure.

For centuries, Europeans who could read did so aloud.  The ancient Greeks read their texts aloud.  So did the monks of Europe’s dark ages.  But by the 17th century, reading society in Europe had changed drastically.  Text technologies, like moveable type, and the rise of vernacular writing helped usher in the practice we cherish today: taking in words without saying them aloud, letting them build a world in our heads.

Among scholars, there is a surprisingly fierce debate around when European society transitioned from mostly reading aloud to mostly reading silently—some even say the ancients read silently just as much as they read aloud—but there is one scene in literature they agree is crucial.  In St. Augustine’s Confessions, the titular professor describes the reading habits of Ambrose, the bishop of Milan:

“But when Ambrose used to read, his eyes were drawn through the pages, while his heart searched for its meaning; however, his voice and tongue were quiet. Often when we were present—for anyone could approach him and it was not his habit that visitors be announced to him—we saw him reading in this fashion, silently and never otherwise.”

The fact that this was so remarkable to Augustine, some scholars argue, is because in the 400s, silent reading wasn’t really a thing.

Other researchers say that this passage is meant more to point out Ambrose’s rudeness.  “It’s really that Ambrose would go on reading silently while he was there, like someone going on texting while you’re trying to talk to them,” says D. Vance Smith, a medievalist in the Princeton English department.  “[Augustine is] surprised by his rudeness at not reading out loud to share with him.”

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“The default assumption in the classic period, if you were reading around other people, you’d read aloud and share it,” says Smith. “For us, the default is we’ll read silently and keep it to ourselves.”

If silent reading was in fact rare or rude in ancient times, then at some point the expectation of readers in society shifted.  As late as the 1700s, historian Robert Darnton writes, “For the common people in early modern Europe, reading was a social activity.  It took place in workshops, barns, and taverns.  It was almost always oral but not necessarily edifying.”

But by the time Marcel Proust was writing in the late 1800s, his narrator hoping for time to read and think alone in his bed, reading privately had become more of a norm for wealthy, educated people who could afford books and idle bedroom rumination.

This came with the spreading of literacy and diverse kinds of reading material.  Writes Darnton, records from until as late as 1750 showed that people who could read had only a few books: perhaps the Bible, an almanac, and some devotionals, that they read and re-read. But by 1800, he writes, people were reading more voraciously—newspapers and periodicals—and by the late century they had branched out into children’s literature and novels.

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As reading shifted away from the social, some researchers believe this helped create what we now call an interior life.

Writes Alberto Manguel in his 1996 book, A History of Reading:

“But with silent reading the reader was at last able to establish an unrestricted relationship with the book and the words.  The words no longer needed to occupy the time required to pronounce them.  They could exist in interior space, rushing on or barely begun, fully deciphered or only half-said, while the reader’s thoughts inspected them at leisure, drawing new notions from them, allowing comparisons from memory or from other books left open for simultaneous perusal.  And the text itself, protected from outsiders by its covers, became the reader’s own possession, the reader’s intimate knowledge, whether in the busy scriptorium, the market-place or the home.”

“Psychologically, silent reading emboldened the reader because it placed the source of his curiosity completely under personal control,” librarian Paul Saenger writes in his 1997 book, Space between Words.  “In the still largely oral world of the ninth century, if one’s intellectual speculations were heretical, they were subject to peer correction and control at every moment, from their formulation and publication to their aural reception by the reader.”  As Saenger writes, asocial reading helped facilitate intellectual rigor, introspection, criticism of the government and religion, even irony and cynicism that would have been awkward to read aloud.

This strange new trend of reading to oneself naturally had its detractors.  Sceptics thought silent reading attracted day-dreamers and the “sin of idleness,” as Manguel writes.  And worse: it let people learn and reflect without religious guidance or censure.  Silent reading by the late 19th century was so popular that people worried that women in particular, reading alone in bed, were prone to sexy, dangerous thoughts.

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There isn’t much consensus between historians on why people would have started reading silently.  Saenger hypothesizes that a shift in the way words were laid out a page facilitated the change.  Latin words once ran all together, makingithardtoparsethem. Saenger argues that Irish monks, translating Latin in the seventh century, added spaces between words to help them understand the language better.  This key design change, he argues, facilitated the rise in silent reading.

M. B. Parkes, in his 1992 book “Pause and Effect: Punctuation in the West” argues something similar.  He writes that a “grammar of legibility”—the visual changes made to texts, like punctuation and word spaces—changed the way we read.  This early book technology was premised on the idea that the scribes, the people writing, didn’t know who their readers would be, or how fluent they might be in reading Latin, and so had to find a standardised way of telling them how to read: pause here; these are two separate words; this is a long “a.”

This scholarship applies for the most part to the Latin-based writing and reading of Europe.  In other major reading cultures of the world like Chinese, whose script doesn’t have spaces between words, and whose literature depends heavily on prosody, silent reading may have developed differently.

Mainstream historical accounts would have us think that the end of oral reading in the Middle Ages was part of the Renaissance, a new European preoccupation with the individual.  But it’s possible humans’ desire for privacy, the carving out of a little pocket in which to escape by way of a book, was there all along.  We just needed a little help getting there.

Written by Thu-Huong Ha for Quartzy newsletter, a weekly dispatch about living well in the global economy.  Original webpage The Beginning of Silent Reading was also the Beginning of an Interior Life.

Gretchen Bernet-Ward