A persistent theme across the literature in Indigenous health and wellbeing is that when you strengthen culture, you strengthen health. Noongarpedia is a novel attempt to see how we can highlight and strengthen the identity, language and knowledge through using a Web 2.0 platform that allows for Noongar people to collaborate and co-create their own knowledge online encyclopaedia. Starting in 2014, Noongarpedia is a research project lead by Noongar and non-Indigenous academics from UWA and Curtin University supported by the Australia Research Council and Wikimedia Australia.
With so many challenges facing the physical and cultural health of the people and the planet, it is important that Indigenous people are able to strongly contribute to, and lead in the digital knowledge economy. We are interested in how enabling children, young people and Elders to develop skills to engage with new Web 2.0 technologies can both build and strengthen culture, language and knowledge. How might participation and agency in an interactive digital platform like Noongarpedia contribute to individual and community senses of wellbeing, knowledge and identity?
Noongarpedia can be used by communities as an online place to share and find information through ‘Waangkiny about boodjar, moort and kaititjin–Talking about country, family and learning.’’ Through the process that occurs when contributing entries to Noongarpedia users become part of a collective group who are learning from each other, teaching and informing the wider world and becoming active agents in knowledge production. Noongarpedia also allows a diverse range of people to learn and work together. In particular teachers, students, language workers, youth mental health and community development workers are becoming co-creators of content related to language and culture.
Our session will describe the project; outline how culture, technology and health are connected and discuss the ways it is helping the renaissance of Noongar language. Participants can participate first hand in a Noongarpedia ‘wikibomb’- a collaborative workshop that allows people to work together to edit, write an article, upload information, photos and audio, and start a discussion across a group of editors across a range of themes in an open source online encyclopaedia.