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CDU researcher to deliver Eric Johnston Lecture

Professor Linda Ford EJ lecture
Northern Institute, Associate Professor Linda (Payi) Ford will reflect on the influence Eric Johnston had on Indigenous education during his time as Chairperson of the then-Batchelor College

Prominent researcher from Charles Darwin University’s Northern Institute, Associate Professor Linda (Payi) Ford will present this year’s Eric Johnston Lecture on Wednesday 23 October at the Library & Archives NT.

The lecture is a flagship event hosted by Library & Archives NT that provides a platform for a significant Territorian to share their reflections and insights on the Territory’s past, present or future.  

First delivered in 1986, the lecture was named in honour of the inaugural speaker, Commodore Eric Johnston AO, OBE. An Australian naval officer, he rose to prominence because of his effective performance as chief naval officer during and after Cyclone Tracy. Cdre Johnston became the longest-serving Administrator of the Northern Territory, serving from 1981 to 1989. He travelled extensively in the role - no station or Aboriginal community was too remote to escape a visit. He died in 1997.

A proud Rak Mak Mak Marranunggu woman, local Territorian and a Principal Research Fellow, Dr Ford’s lecture is titled “Aminila bit tjan kin-ning wurrkama gu?” or “Are we all working together with a united voice for treaty and truth?”

Speaking to her research and reflections on Aboriginal knowledge, languages and culture, the lecture will speak to the United Nations’ International Year of Indigenous Languages as well as the 2019 NAIDOC theme “Voice, Treaty, Truth”.

“The way to communicate our hope is on a platform that continues to build what iconic figures have started weaved on to existing threads that continue the representation of our united voices, treaty and truth,” Dr Ford said.

“Today, we are the ones to continue making the choices about which threads to add to the social fabric of Indigenous Affairs. It’s about the words, the languages and non-verbal communication methods we use to design and develop our future people, policy and place,” she said.

Dr Ford will also reflect on the influence Eric Johnston had on Indigenous education during his time as Chairperson of the then-Batchelor College.

“I was teaching the next generation of teachers during Eric’s time at Batchelor and I will focus on his achievements during this time, many of which have stood the test of time,” Dr Ford said.

The 2019 Eric Johnston Lecture will be held at the Library & Archives NT, Parliament House, Darwin on Wednesday 23 October from 5:30pm - 7:30pm. Entry is free but bookings are essential. For more information visit W: ntl.nt.gov.au.