ECDI Update: February 2023 activities

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


Diary of the archaeology and cultural heritage field school run by Ben Shaw and Catherine Frieman.

Carmel O’Shannessy and Warlpiri woman, Zindzi, are interviewed about Light Warlpiri in a podcast, ‘Radiolingo’, by Crooked Media. You can listen to “Radiolingo” on Apple Podcasts or Spotify (or any other app you listen to podcasts on). See the episode “Congrats! It’s a language!” to hear about Light Warlpiri, Nicaraguan Sign Language, and conlangs (constructed languages). Go to 15:58 mins to hear the section about Light Warlpiri. 

Carmel O’Shannessy worked with 7 Summer Research Scholars Nov – Jan on her ARC project: Little Kids Learning Languages. Students worked in several areas of the project including annotating use of gesture and hand signs, varieties of English spoken to children, linguistic glossing of Warlpiri speech and young children’s earliest productions of meaningful sounds in Warlpiri. 




Upcoming SYNAPSE Seminars:

  • Understanding human history from ancient & modern genomes – Joao Teixiera – Monday 27 Feb, 2pm AEDT – register via Eventbrite
  • The global variability and recurrence of kinship terminology – Sam Passmore – Monday 27 Mar, 2pm AEDT – register via Eventbrite
  • Flow piracy and percolation in a hydropower watershed: interceptions of Indigenous languages in upland Laos – Nick Enfield  Monday 17 Apr, 2pm AEST – register via Eventbrite

The seminar series will be held monthly in-person and via zoom. Previously recorded seminars are available on our YouTube channelAll available seminars for registration can be found on our Eventbrite collection.

Please also share our upcoming seminars with your networks.

Statistics Boot Camp
Sam Passmore is assisting in a Statistics Bootcamp held for ANU PhD and MPhil students. Students will have the opportunity to develop a Data Analysis Plan (DAP) to structure the quantitative parts of their projects, starting from outlining the problem, right down to a skeleton outline of results. The course will be advertised in early March.  

Vanuatu Fieldschool July 2023 – Peeling back the layers in Melanesia: Archaeology, heritage and history in Vanuatu
This is a heads up to advise you that the ANU Vanuatu fieldschool is happening again in July 2023. More detail is coming soon but start planning for it now. The fieldschool will be investigating a newly discovered colonising settlement on Efate Island, in central Vanuatu. This phase relates to what is known as the Lapita period, beginning some 3000 years ago. Initial investigations at the site indicates that settlement in the area continues for at least 1600 years following later pottery traditions recorded across the site. Preliminary excavations have confirmed that huge mound features at the site represent midden dumping by large numbers of people over a short time. They compose of shellfish, bone, pottery and other discard. The fieldschool will investigate these mounds and the wider landscape, defining the period of initial arrival and tracking transformation in material culture and settlement over time. We expect to recover substantial collections of Lapita and later pottery, terrestrial faunal remains including extinct species along with abundant fishbone and shellfish. Visits will be undertaken to other important sites on Efate, including the Roi Mata UNESCO World Heritage site and the National Museum. The fieldschool is coordinated by Stuart Bedford (


Seminars, Workshops, Conferences

International Symposium on Bilingualism 14 – Diversity Now 
26-30 June 2023

The 14th International Symposium on Bilingualism will take place on 26-30 June 2023 at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. The theme of the conference is Diversity Now. The United Nations General Assembly has declared the period between 2022 and 2032 as the International Decade of Indigenous Languages to draw attention to the critical status of many Indigenous languages across the world and to encourage action for their preservation, revitalisation, and promotion. ISB14 especially encourages submissions of work involving lesser-studied bilingual communities and interdisciplinary work examining bilingualism across cultures, societies, and the life-span. 

We invite abstracts for two categories of submissions: individual papers and posters. Find more information here 

2023 LSA Institute – Linguistics as Cognitive Science: Universality and Variation
19 June-14 July 2023

The Institute will offer 88 courses, including introductory and advanced courses. The theme for this Institute is “Linguistics as Cognitive Science: Universality and Variation”. It will be hosted by the Department of Linguistics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, from June 19 to July 14. It will be a great opportunity for graduate students and advanced undergraduate students to deepen their expertise, explore new topics, and interact with an amazing community of students and professors from many colleges and universities. You can find information about the 2023 Institute and the courses here.  


Job/Funding Opportunities

Postdoctoral Researcher, MPI for Psycholinguistics
Deadline: 15 March 2023
Join MPI Psycholinguistics for a 5 year full-time postdoctoral position in data analysis and statistical modelling and child language development. More information here.



Abel, S., Frieman, C. 2023. On gene-eaology: Identity, descent, and affiliation in the era of home DNA. Anthropological Science.

Ash, J., Denham, T., Ballard, C., Muke, J. & Crouch, J. 2022. Frontier archaeology: excavating Huli colonisation of the Lower Tagali Valley, Papua New Guinea. Cambridge Archaeological Journal  

Ballard, C. 2023. Stones in motion: monuments and chiefly title histories in Central Vanuatu. Archaeology in Oceania

Ballard, C. 2022. Marginal history. In Bronwen Douglas and Chris Ballard (eds) Material Encounters. Special Issue of History and Anthropology 33(1): 86-103.  

Ballard, C. 2022. The meaning of ditches: an ethnography of field systems and other networks in a New Guinea landscape. In Ian J. McNiven and Bruno David (eds) The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Indigenous Australia and New Guinea. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Bedford, S. 2023. Austronesian Colonization of the Pacific Islands, 1200 BCE-1250 CE. In P. D’Arcy (ed.), The Cambridge History of the Pacific Ocean, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, Volume One (Matt Matsuda and Ryan Jones, eds.), pp. 434-456.

Douglas, B. & Ballard, C. 2022. Contact tracing: the materiality of encounter. In Bronwen Douglas and Chris Ballard (eds) Material Encounters. Special Issue of History and Anthropology 33(1): 1-16. 

Hardy, K., Ballard, C. & Leclerc, M. 2023. Agarabi pottery production in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 69: 101479  

O’Connor, S., Kealy, S., Reepmeyer, C., Samper Carro, S. & C. Shipton. 2023. Terminal pleistocene emergence of maritime interaction networks across Wallacea. World Archaeology.

O’Shannessy, C. & D. Angelo. 2023.  Insights from the perspective of language ecologies and new contact languages in Australia. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism.

Trau, A. & Ballard, C. 2023. Community management of cultural tourism at a World Heritage site: intersections of the ‘local’ and ‘global’ at Chief Roi Mata’s Domain, Vanuatu. In Marcus L. Stephenson (ed.) Routledge Handbook of Tourism and Small Island States in the Pacific. London: Routledge, pp. 205-218. 

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