FASS Academic and PhD candidate, Amy Thomas, wins award
Amy Thomas, PhD candidate and casual Academic in the School of Education and Research Assistant in the School of Communication and School of International Studies, has been awarded a Northern Territory Literary Award.
Selected out of 300 submissions, Amy’s essay, ‘Unviable languages: colonization, assimilation and bilingual education the NT’, received the Charles Darwin University Creative Non-Fiction Award.
“The central argument of my essay is that the NT’s living Aboriginal languages are threatened by the bipartisan policy approach of marketisation and mainstreaming in Aboriginal affairs, associated with which is ongoing neglect of bilingual education” said Amy.
I argue that we can trace some of the underlying attitudes here back to the assimilation period. This essay is informed by the work I am doing on my PhD thesis, and my fieldwork with Aboriginal language speakers and teachers in the Northern Territory. I will be donating some of my prize money to the family of David Dungay, who died in custody in Long Bay Jail in 2015.
A factually-accurate work written with attention to literary style and technique, the award includes $500 in prize money, a Northern Territory Writers’ Centre Membership and Masterclass.
Having occurred for more than 35 years, the annual Northern Territory Literary Awards celebrate the achievements of a wide range of emerging writers.
Distinguished Professor of Language, Society and Education, Alastair Pennycook, says Amy’s work explores the deep historical neglect of Indigenous languages in Australia, from the days of first settlement through eras of assimilation to current emphases on English literacy at the expense of other languages.
"The reversal of bilingual education policies in the Northern Territory and the continuing decline and loss of the original languages of Australia is something all Australians should be ashamed of and concerned about," he says.
Amy’s clear and persuasive writing is helping to bring an understanding of these issues to wider audiences.
Distinguished Professor of Language, Society and Education
It is part of a special program of annual events at the Northern Territory Library that celebrate the achievements of established and emerging writers, storytellers and prominent Territorians.
The Department of Tourism and Culture’s Senior Director of the Northern Territory Library and Archives, Patrick Gregory, said on their website that “the Library is always impressed by the high level of quality submissions received each year from across the Northern Territory”.
See the original article online here.