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Paper and Talk 2024

In partnership with Living Languages, we are running another Paper and Talk workshop in October this year.

Expressions of Interest for the 2024 Paper and Talk workshop are now open! This workshop provides linguistic training and access to language materials held in AIATSIS and other national archives to help groups revitalise their languages.

Groups of two to three Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people are invited to submit their Expression of Interest to join us at this year's workshop from 14 to 25 October at Maraga, AIATSIS in Canberra.

If you are one of the groups chosen to join us, you will:

  • Receive training before and during the workshop in searching the archives and retrieving your language materials.
  • Receive training in linguistics and other skills/knowledge to understand the materials you uncover and use them in your language work.
  • Visit other relevant archives located in Canberra. 
  • Be supported to use your materials to work towards a specific language project of your choice or to develop a language resource you can take home to your community.
  • Be paired with a Linguist Partner who will support your group during the workshop. This will be an experienced linguist or language worker who can provide support and advice as needed.
  • Have access to linguists, language workers, language work trainers, and archivists to answer questions and support you in your language work.
  • Network and share with other groups from around the country who are also working on strengthening their languages.

To find out more and submit your Expression of Interest visit the link below: 


Maraga building
Mabo room
51 Lawson Crescent,
Acton ACT 2601

Expressions of Interest close on Wednesday 6 March 2024 at midnight. 

Paper and Talk 2023

Frequently asked questions

  • What are the costs?

    The workshop will be free to attend for the successful participants, with all training, materials, food, travel, and accommodation costs provided.

    Most nights and the weekend will be free time, but you will receive a meal allowance for any meals we don’t provide. Any additional activities you choose to do in these times will be at your own expense.

  • What support is available if we find materials that are potentially traumatic/distressing?

    We recognise that doing language work might bring up intense feelings which can often be traumatic, and that materials you find in the archives may sometimes contain distressing or offensive comments or images.

    We will provide a range of support options to make this a safe experience for you and your group. Available supports include:

    •    Dedicated time for participants to share and debrief.
    •    Access to professional counselling both onsite and after hours.
    •    Suggested in-person or telephone services available while in Canberra.

  • Will I have any free time?

    Yes! The workshop will run from Monday to Friday. You will have free time most nights and on the weekend, but we will also organise some social events and outings if you would like to attend.

  • What can our language project be?

    Using the materials you have recovered from the archives, your group will receive training and one-on-one support to work on a project of your choosing during the workshop. Previous projects have included: language teaching resources; presentations about specific languages; stories, poems and songs in language; Welcome to Country or an Acknowledgment of Country; and maps of Country using information recovered by participants.

  • Can our group take all the materials on our language in the AIATSIS archives back to our community?  

    AIATSIS has specific rules on the return of materials to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities that are outlined here

    AIATSIS and Paper and Talk will strive to return as much material as possible to communities, but the amount will depend on exactly what is available, its condition, its copyright status, and whether it has been digitised, among other factors.

  • If I am not selected this time, can I apply again next time? 

    Absolutely! Successful participants may be chosen for a number of reasons, and these factors can change slightly from workshop to workshop. Therefore, we strongly encourage communities who are not successful this time to apply again for future Paper and Talk workshops.

    In the meantime, you can still apply to AIATSIS to access your language materials, or apply to Living Languages for training.

2023 Paper and Talk participants and support staff, outside Maraga, AIATSIS, Canberra 

Marie Dennis working on Birri Gubba language with linguistic partners from Living Languages, 2023.

 2019 Paper and Talk participants and support staff, outside AIATSIS Building in Canberra

Fred Cobbo identifies his language during Paper and Talk 2019 at AIATSIS.

Our Partner

Living Languages

Living Languages supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in their efforts to preserve and grow their languages, through grassroots training for people, communities, and Language Centres. They work with people who approach them for support and training, working with them to create tailored training programs and workshops that will best support their language work and goals - whether learning it, teaching it, working in a language centre, or just getting started. 

We are grateful to the Indigenous Languages and Arts program for funding this workshop.


Last updated: 07 February 2024