What we did

The workshop took place from 10am until around 4pm over two days, 28th and 29th April 2007.

At the beginning of Day 1, Michael started by telling the group about SiMERR and the funding arrangements. He also spoke of CDU's commitment to help senior bicultural Yolŋu become professional consultants. The Yolŋu at the workshop have been to other workshops in Darwin where they were learning about technology, business etc, but this time, they were invited to be the teachers, and the balanda were to be the learners. Michael talked about different ways we could work together: telling stories, talking about important and difficult words, doing drawings and diagrams, using video and audio recording, etc.

Michael introduced the subject of mathematics in the Yolŋu community, and mentioned Yolŋu maths. Then he opened the idea of maths in school - the curriculum and the ways in which maths is taught.

The format for the workshop would be very open. We would do our best to follow Yolŋu ways of discussing and building agreement. People would give their ideas and ask questions of each other.

Bryce set up a video camera and Nyuŋunyuŋu made video recordings. Nearly all the discussion was in Yolŋu matha. Every now and again someone would draw a diagram or a few words on the white board. Christian took the videos after each day and downloaded them on to a computer.

There was food and tea and coffee available all the time, people could come and go, the atmosphere was relaxed and friendly, and there was lots of laughter.

At the end of the first day, we had a short summing up and planning for the second day.

At lunch time on the second day we took a couple of group photos. At the end of the second day, people planned short talks summing up their ideas, which they presented to the camera. We all talked about what this website would look like.

Christian took all the videos and cut them up into about 40 short quicktime files.

Michael used the files to do a first transcript, and John added to it. This was a very time consuming process moving from quicktime to Microsoft Word, phrase by phrase, going back again and again to fill in the muffled and unclear sections.

Then we went back and found key passages and cleaned up the transcriptions and made a few quick translations. Not all the Yolŋu matha was transcribed, some of it was translated straight into English. Michael sent out the first draft of the transcript and people emailed asking for particular portions to be clarified or translated in more detail.

Michael went thought the transcript and pulled out what he thought were some of the key points, and organised them under topics. This summary can be found in the resources section of this website. He also prepared the What Emerged document which details what happened in chronological order, and made of list of Key Concepts which arose.

Our funding included money to pay Trevor Van Weeren to build a website for us. At the end of the workshop we agreed that we would put together some of the key ideas and then get all the Yolngu consultants to have a look at the website, make some more comment on the key concepts, and provide feedback.

Once everyone has provided feedback and received their final payments, and the website has been finalised, the workshop process is over.