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The Power and Promise

Margo Neale Lynne Kelly



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Thames & Hudson
01 November 2020
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- Like many Australians, I’ve been on a very slow (decades) awakening to the full history of Australia. There’s a momentum that has gathered pace in the past year, with people continuing to expand their knowledge of our long history. With that realisation, we will begin to make demands of our leaders to acknowledge that history and include that in our children’s schooling.

Like NZ, for whom the Maori culture is intrinsic and celebrated by the whole nation, so too a new Australian identity will emerge that fully embraces our indigenous beginnings alongside our later development through colonialism and immigration - expanding the lens on our nation’s history for a fully inclusive and rich cultural heritage.

This book is the first in a series that aims to fill the gaps in our knowledge and it is fascinating to discover the full meaning behind the ceremonial songs and dances, the paintings and the markings on artefacts we see in museums - the realisation that they are bursting with information for the initiated 'reader', just as if they were covered with our Western method of knowledge transfer, ' 'text'. Craig Kirchner


'Let this series begin the discussion.' - Bruce Pascoe

'An act of intellectual reconciliation.' - Lynette Russell

Songlines are an archive for powerful knowledges that ensured Australia's many Indigenous cultures flourished for over 60,000 years. Much more than a navigational path in the cartographic sense, these vast and robust stores of information are encoded through song, story, dance, art and ceremony, rather than simply recorded in writing.

Weaving deeply personal storytelling with extensive research on mnemonics, Songlines: The Power and Promise offers unique insights into Indigenous traditional knowledges, how they apply today and how they could help all peoples thrive into the future. This book invites readers to understand a remarkable way for storing knowledge in memory by adapting song, art, and most importantly, Country, into their lives.

About the series: The First Knowledges books are co-authored by Indigenous and non-Indigenous writers; the series is edited by Margo Neale, senior Indigenous curator at the National Museum of Australia.

Forthcoming titles include: Design by Alison Page & Paul Memmott (2021); Country by Bill Gammage & Bruce Pascoe (2021); Healing, Medicine & Plants (2022); Astronomy (2022); Innovation (2023).
By:   Margo Neale, Lynne Kelly
Imprint:   Thames & Hudson
Country of Publication:   Australia
Dimensions:   Height: 196mm,  Width: 131mm,  Spine: 18mm
Weight:   198g
ISBN:   9781760761189
ISBN 10:   1760761184
Series:   First Knowledges
Pages:   224
Publication Date:   01 November 2020
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  College/higher education ,  General/trade ,  Undergraduate ,  Primary
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Margo Neale is head of the Indigenous Knowledges Curatorial Centre, senior Indigenous curator and principal adviser to the director of the National Museum of Australia (NMA). She is also an adjunct professor at the Australian National University and has published widely, including the Oxford Companion to Aboriginal Art and Culture, and curated groundbreaking, award-winning national and international exhibitions, including Songlines:Tracking the Seven Sisters at the NMA in 2017, Emily Kngwarreye and Lin Onus. Lynne Kelly is a science writer working as an honorary research associate at La Trobe University. Her field of research is the memory methods used by those who depended on their memories for everything they knew: oral cultures including Australian Aboriginal, Native American, Pacific and African cultures. She is also a mnemonist, committing vast amounts of information to memory using the memory technologies of Indigenous peoples. She is the author of The Memory Code and Memory Craft.

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