ECDI Update: July 2022 activities

This is a monthly update about the Evolution of Cultural Diversity Initiative (ECDI) activities and upcoming events.


  • Kuwae – the Volcanic Eruption that Launched the Modern World
    The Engaged ANU Pilot Project supports academics to communicate their research to the people and communities where it matters – in an imaginative, creative and engaging way. The Pilot is sponsored by the Vice-Chancellor and sets out to maximise the visibility and reach of the research we do here at ANU. The pilot received over 60 submissions showcasing the incredible and brilliant projects around campus, and among the few final selections is Kuwae – the Volcanic Eruption that Launched the Modern World, led by Chris Ballard.
  • Nick Evans was recently in Paris for the opening of the exhibition Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori at the Fondation Cartier. You can read one interesting account of this here, by Aussie expat journalist Ollia Horton, and you can now also see the online version of the exhibition here
  • The trees that make you sneeze, ANU website, 21 July, interview with Simon Haberle.



  • It is all looking good for the next field school with Ben Shaw – Papua New Guinea Archaeology Field School – we will have 9 students taking part (ANU and UPNG) in archaeological research on Panaeati Island in the visually stunning island province of Milne Bay, from 4 to 21 September.
  • The Vanuatu field school – Archaeology, Heritage and History in Vanuatu – will also be happening on Tongoa Island from 3 to 18 September with Stuart Bedford. 8 students so far have made initial applications.
  • The next SYNAPSE seminar is Monday 1 August 2022, 2:00pm (AEST). No community is an island: Unpacking a tricky terminology using Oceanic examples, James L. Flexner. Register to attend online
    As part of a new initiative associated with the Synapse seminars, presenters will be hosting brief reading group discussions around the topic of their research, usually just prior to the seminar. If you want to explore this topic further, share a coffee and some lively discussion, please join us together with James in the Vanilla Bean cafe at the John Curtin School of Medical Research from 10:30 to 11:30 on Monday 1 August. James has identified a few short papers that you might want to read beforehand, which are attached here.


Conferences, Workshops

Foundation for Endangered Languages (FEL) XXVI Conference 2022 
Abstracts due: 1 August 2022 
Foundation for Endangered Languages (FEL) XXVI Conference will be held at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico from November 2-4, 2022. The theme of the conference is ‘Community ownership of language education for endangered language revitalization’. 
Find more information here


Job Opportunities

Postdoctoral Research Fellow (1), School of Culture, History and Language, ANU 
Applications close 7 Aug 2022 
This position is part of a collaborative project with the Defence Science and Technology Group that aims to compile enriched language resources for the three Pacific creole languages – Tok Pisin (PNG), Solomon Pijin (Solomon Islands) and Bislama (Vanuatu) – to develop automatic language processing tools. This position will involve fieldwork and has a documentation focus.
More details here


Postdoctoral Research Fellow (2), School of Culture, History and Language, ANU 
Applications close 7 Aug 2022 
This position is part of a collaborative project with the Defence Science and Technology Group that aims to compile enriched language resources for the three Pacific creole languages – Tok Pisin (PNG), Solomon Pijin (Solomon Islands) and Bislama (Vanuatu) – to develop automatic language processing tools. This position is focused on computational resource building.
More details here


Indonesian Studies Associate Lecturer / Lecturer (Education Focused), University of Sydney 
Deadline: 16 August 2022 
The Indonesian Studies Discipline within the School of Languages and Cultures is seeking to appoint an Associate Lecturer or Lecturer in the field of Indonesian Studies. This role is a great opportunity for an early career teacher/scholar with a strong profile in Indonesian content-based language teaching and curriculum design. 
Find more information and apply here


Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the isotropic Research Group, Max Planck Institute for Geoanthropology 
Deadline: 31 August 2022
The isoTROPIC Research Group at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History (MPI-SHH), Jena, Germany is pleased to announce a new open vacancy for a postdoctoral researcher position exploring human history in the tropics. The fulltime position will be for a period of up to 3 years and based in Jena, Germany working with Patrick Roberts.
Find more information and apply here

PhD projects, Charles Darwin University 
Deadline: 31 October 2022 
We have PhD projects for students with backgrounds in computer science, human-computer interaction, machine learning, linguistics, language acquisition, anthropology, and other language-related fields. We have relationships with several Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory and Western Australia which may serve as field sites. 
Find more information here


Funding Opportunities

ELDP grant round 2023 now open 
The Endangered Languages Documentation Programme (ELDP) is delighted to announce a call for applications for the 2023 grant round
ELDP is announcing the 2023 call for applications for the documentation of endangered languages. Funding is available for documentation projects globally. 
Please get in touch with ELDP if you would like to discuss project design in more detail or have any questions that are not addressed in the guidance materials.
ELDP provides grants for the documentation of endangered languages creating audio-visual recordings with transcriptions, translations, and annotations. Four types of grants are available for such language documentation projects: 

Small Grants (up to 10,000 Euros)
Individual Graduate Scholarships
Individual Postdoctoral Fellowships
Major Documentation Projects (more than 10,000 Euros) 

The Legacy Material Grant is for the digitisation of analogue legacy materials like for example  recordings of endangered languages in private holdings of retired colleagues. 
Applicants are asked to carefully review the guidance materials for the different grant types.
Applications must be submitted online by 15th of October 2022, 5pm CEST.
The online application system is now open accessible through the ELDP website. 
ELDP will set up online drop-in sessions for potential applicants. These sessions will be announced on the ELDP Website and ELAR’s social media in due course.
All ELDP-funded projects can be found here.

Joint call for applications: ELDP & DLCE Glottobank grants 


The Endangered Languages Documentation Programme (ELDP) and the Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (DLCE) are collaborating to document linguistic diversity. The initiative focuses on contributing data from languages of Latin America and Oceania to the Glottobank project.
The DLCE is providing 20 grants at 5,000 Euro each, for work contributing to Grambank, Lexibank, and Numeralbank ( If you are working on a language of Latin America or Oceania (broadly construed to include Micronesia, Polynesia, the Western Pacific, New Guinea, and Island Southeast Asia), and can contribute data on the grammar, lexicon or numeral system to the Glottobank databases, please apply.
The grants are for up to six months and can be used for travel and subsistence costs, recording equipment or equipment for remote/distributed fieldwork, and consultant payments. Grants will be awarded to a host institution who will administer the funds (e.g.; University, NGO). Please ensure that your institution agrees to the administration of the grant. Note that no overheads will be provided.
Please fill in the online application form here.
Submission deadline for the online application is September 15th 2022.
Complete the form, print, sign, have the research office sign and send a scan of the signed form to by October 15th 2022. You may also use electronic signatures.
Notification of results: November 15th 2022.
Successful applicants will be paired with a Glottobank coder who will train them in the coding system and support them throughout the grant period.
Importantly, given the global pandemic applications must demonstrate the viability of the documentation project. Applications should address the Covid situation in the country of documentation as well as provide information on the measures you will take to safeguard your health and the health of your collaborators in the community. ELDP and DLCE will not support any project that jeopardises the welfare or health of communities and/or grantees. Protective measures and careful planning must be demonstrated in your application to ensure the viability of the project.
If you have any questions please get in touch with ELDP at

Workshops Program, Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia 
Deadline: 14 October 2022 
The Academy Workshops Program offers Australian social scientists financial assistance to host multidisciplinary workshops to advance research and/or policy agendas on important national issues. The Academy supports up to eight workshops each year with funding to a maximum of $9,000 (excl GST). The Workshops Program aims to be a catalyst for innovative social science ideas, to build capability amongst early and mid-career researchers and foster networks across social science disciplines and with practitioners. 
Find more information and apply online (or this link for non-follow applicants). 

Support offered for plant entries in Australian languages dictionaries 
Are you compiling a dictionary of an Australian language and need some support with plant/fungus entries? 
I’m a linguist currently working on a project at the Australian National Herbarium (National Collections and Maritime Infrastructure – NCMI) to make its collection more useful to Indigenous communities. One avenue of this is to link Indigenous plant names to vouched specimens in the herbarium.
Plant names do not have one-to-one correspondences across languages and scientific names are somewhat esoteric and are liable to change due to taxonomic reclassification. Likewise, what may be identified as a single species in the Western taxonomy may correspond to different plants in an Indigenous taxonomy.
For example, the Kunwok plant manbardbard refers to grevillea plants that grow in the lowlands, while mandjenkererr refer to grevillea plants in the highlands. Both terms refer to at least two species of grevillea in the Western taxonomy: Grevillea decurrens and G. Heliosperma. Linking a plant name to a physical specimen ensures that despite changes to Western scientific nomenclature or language shift in a community, we have vouched and corroborated connections between plant and knowledge systems. 
If you’re interested in using the National Herbarium or the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) to support your dictionary work, please get in touch! Check out the Noongar Budjarplants and animals encyclopaedia for an example of an ALA/NCMI + language centre collaboration. 
This project is a CSIRO funded post-doc fellowship and will be running until Dec 2023.

Honours project, Ablation study: What level of linguistic detail is needed for word-level modelling? (Australian National University)
As NLP (Natural language processing) tools are expanded to include new languages one of the big bottlenecks is labelled data availability. This issue is particularly acute for low-resource languages. So the question of annotation detail and quality is important. How much detail is needed for supervised learning? Is there a minimum number of labels to capture linguistic patterns? Find more information here



Evans, Nicholas. 2022. The eye of the dolphin: Sally Gabori and the Kaiadilt vision. In Sally Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Gabori. Paris: Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain. Pp. 13-32. 

Kim Sterelny and Ronald J. Planer; “From Life in a Group to Life in a Community “. To appear in: Stephanie Collins, Brian Epstein, Sally Haslanger, and Hans Bernhard Schmid (eds) Oxford Handbook of Social Ontology. 


Articles of interest

Recognising Indigenous knowledges is not just culturally sound, it’s good science, 4 July, The Conversation 

New research in Arnhem Land reveals why institutional fire management is inferior to cultural burning, 22 July, The Conversation

Liu, Y., et al. 2022. Ancient DNA reveals five streams of migration into Micronesia and matrilocality in early Pacific seafarers. Science. 377(6601)DOI: 10.1126/science.abm6536

Bowman, D., et al. 2022. Population collapse of a Gondwanan conifer follows the loss of Indigenous fire regimes in a northern Australian savanna. Sci Rep 12, 9081 (2022).

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