The Orality Centre was established in December 2016 due to the overwhelming interest in Lynne Kelly’s book The Memory Code from educationalists in all sectors and adults wanting to implement the memory methods learned from indigenous cultures. It occupies space at The Campus in Castlemaine, formerly the Senior Campus of Castlemaine Secondary School.
Orality refers to the complex of knowledge techniques used by oral cultures who relied entirely on memory to store their encyclopedia of knowledge on which their survival depended, both physically and culturally. Through literacy, the value of orality has been lost but the foundational principle of TOC is that the extraordinary memory techniques of Australian Aboriginal and other oral cultures can be hugely valuable in a contemporary literate world.
Director, orality specialist Dr. Lynne Kelly, will draw on her 40 years of experience in mathematics, science and gifted education in the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors. She will continue her current research into orality at Latrobe University. Lynne will be involved with all aspects of TOC, including running seminars and memory workshops while working with schools, educators and members of the public. Her dream is that TOC will not only explore the implications for education but redress the misconception that we have nothing to learn from the intellectual achievements of nonliterate cultures. We have a great deal to learn.
Deputy Director, Paul Allen, is an artist in his own right who also teaches in primary schools. Through Paul, Malmsbury Primary School has been awarded a Creative Victoria grant to employ Lynne Kelly at the school to implement ideas from The Memory Code across the primary school curriculum. Paul will also run workshops and seminars and document implementation experiences for TOC. Paul coined the term Rapscallions for our narrative characters.
Committee member, Damian Kelly is experienced educator at secondary and tertiary levels who is also qualified in commerce, information technology and librarianship. For many years he ran large computer systems for universities, with special skills in security. Damian returned to university to study archaeology. During his undergraduate years he dug at Lake Mungo and conducted postgraduate work into Aboriginal fish traps of the Murray-Darling Basin.
Committee member, Judith McLean, will be Deputy Principal of CSC in 2017. More commonly known as Rex, she has 10 years experience teaching in remote Aboriginal communities and will take a leading role in the Orality Centre. Rex comes from a secondary mathematics and science teaching background but has a wealth of experience learned from the Elders she worked with. Judith has been instrumental in securing our premises as part of the educational cooperative at The Campus, Etty St, Castlemaine.
Committee member, Alice Steel is a qualified scientist with a background in biology, microbiology and genetics. She’s also a practising artist who is bringing a lifelong belief to the table: science and art should work together in the curriculum. She has the experience of many years running classes with children blending those two disciplines.
Tom Chippindall is a curator, conservator and luthier. He replicates traditional memory devices to enable us to explore their application in contemporary life. Tom is working with the committee members sharing his practical skills in exploring the range of memory devices from indigenous inspirations, medieval mnemonic art and our own slightly wild ideas.
Kathryn Coff is Coordinator for Nalderun, a service that supports the Aboriginal Community of the Mount Alexander Shire, the Country on which The Orality Centre is based. Critically, Nalderun is lead by Aboriginal people. Kathryn is a Koorie mentor, is involved in Women’s business, Koorie days and is a member of the Nalderun Cross Curricular Team.
Kathryn is also co-ordinator of student involvement at Castlemaine Secondary College, working with both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students.
Dino Cevolatti has degrees in Biology, Psychology, Physics and a research Masters in Psychology. He is the Leader Teacher for Student Learning and a physics and science teacher at Castlemaine Secondary College with a particular interest in innovative approaches to learning and teaching. He is also an accomplished musician and parent of school aged children, offering a breadth of roles as an Advisor.
Amber Davies has degrees in Arts and Education. She has a great deal of experience and expertise in teaching English. Her understanding of the role of narrative is of particular value to her role as an Advisor. Amber is also parent who has a depth of understanding of students with special needs.
Dr Duane W. Hamacher is an astronomer and Senior ARC Discovery Early Career Research Fellow at the Monash Indigenous Studies Centre, Australia. He publishes extensively on Indigenous astronomical and geological knowledge and traditions, working closely with Aboriginal and Islander elders, students, and knowledge custodians across Australia. His research seeks to understand how Indigenous people developed and encoded scientific information in their Knowledge Systems.
Professor Todd Landman is Professor of Political Science and Pro Vice Chancellor of the Social Sciences at the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom. He researches, teaches, and publishes on significant problems and methods associated with development, democracy and human rights. HIs current focus is on measuring, analysing, and evaluating interventions to combat contemporary forms of slavery. He is also a magician.
Websites: https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/social-sciences/people/todd.landman, http://www.todd-landman.com
Professor Susan K Martin, Professor, Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) ASSC, College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce, LaTrobe University, Australia. Sue has taught Australian and Victorian literature and culture and is a specialist in nineteenth-century Australian fiction. Her research interests include gender, culture, sexuality and cultures of reading. She is President of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature.
Judith McLean will be Deputy Principal of CSC in 2017. More commonly known as Rex, she has 10 years experience teaching in remote Aboriginal communities and will take a leading role in the Orality Centre. Rex comes from a secondary mathematics and science teaching background but has a wealth of experience learned from the Elders she worked with. Judith has been instrumental in securing our location at The Campus, Etty Street, as part of the Education cooperative being formed there.
Dominic O’Brien is 8-times World Memory Champion, author of 13 books on memory, corporate trainer and speaker. Based in the UK, he teaches business professionals, public figures and entire audiences to significantly improve their memory and cognitive ability in their personal and professional lives. He is Head of Ethics with the World Memory Sports Council and organises Memory Championships around the world.
Edgard Campo is a musician who is also qualified in International Business. He then changed career into disability care and health sciences. Ed is particularly interested in the potential for mnemonic technologies to assist people with disabilities and dementia. This is an area in which we are keen to establish research relationships.
Associated Schools and Organisations:
Malmsbury Primary School. Through a Creative Victoria Artists-in-Schools grant, Lynne Kelly is working with Malmsbury PS Art Teacher and Deputy Director of the Orality Centre, Paul Allen, in implanting memory systems from Indigeneous cultures to enhance learning within the Victorian Curriculum guidelines.
Lynne and Paul will be working with Principal Carolyn Tavener, Music Teacher Joseph Bromley, classroom teaches, parents and the broader Malmsbury Community. Most important, of course, is that we will be working with all the students – from Prep to Year 6. This project has started incredibly well and will be reported regularly on this site.
Nalderun is a service that supports the Aboriginal Community of the Mount Alexander Shire, members of the Dja Dja Wurrung people. Funding through Nalderun will enable Lynne Kelly and The Orality Centre to work with Aboriginal students using the knowledge systems of their heritage. Working closely with Corordinator, Kathryn Coff, Cultural Education Coordinator, Aunty Julie McHale and Cultural Adviser & Coordinator Of Men’s Business, Uncle Rick Nelson.
Note for non-Australians: in this context ‘Uncle’ and ‘Aunty’ are terms of respect for Aboriginal Elders, so we are honoured to have indigenous leaders of this status involved with The Orality Centre.
Castlemaine Secondary College. Through TOC Committee Member Judith McLean and Advisors Dino Cevalotti and Amber Davies, we will be working with secondary level students at CSC to add oral mnemonic technologies to the toolbox of skills for use across the Victorian Curriculum. TOC Advisor Kathryn Coff also works as Co-ordinator of Student Engagement at CSC. In that role, and the link with Nalderun, Kathryn is keen to see memory and knowledge technologies from the Aboriginal culture shared between those with an Aboriginal heritage and those form other backgrounds. We will be showing that we don’t only need to learn about Aboriginal cultures but also learn from them.
We have also established a Memory Club at CSC where interested students can start training for memory sports with the goal of entering memory championships.
Student Advisory Panel
(More members will be announced soon.)
Lynne Kelly’s books which inform the practice of The Orality Centre are:
The Memory Code, Allen & Unwin, 2016
also published by Pegasus Books (North America) and Atlantic Books (UK and Europe), February 2017
Knowledge and Power in Prehistoric Societies: Orality, memory and the transmission of culture, Cambridge University Press, 2015
Grounded: Indigenous knowing in a concrete reality, Rounded Globe, November 2016.
Please feel free to contact The Orality Centre with any questions:
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