The University of Newcastle, Australia

UON researcher collaborates with Smithsonian

Monday, 22 September 2014

The University of Newcastle's (UON) Dr Catherine Grant collaborates with the Smithsonian Institution, US, on the revitalisation of cultural heritage.

Dr Catherine Grant
Dr Catherine Grant

A researcher in the School of Creative Arts, Dr Grant's work on endangered music in Indigenous and minority communities is important to the revitalisation of intangible cultural heritage, which assists in social cohesion, and a sense of individual and collective identity. This, in turn, has benefits for the health and wellbeing of community members.

"Songs tell history, give historical evidence and contain knowledge of potential importance. They also contribute to cultural diversity and intercultural relations," said Dr Grant.

"The threat to intangible cultural heritage is something that we should all be concerned about, in a way, like the environmental crisis. It doesn't pose a threat to the very existence of humanity but it certainly poses a risk to how we relate to each other as people."

On the 22 and 23 of September, Dr Grant will attend a workshop in Washington, DC, to contribute to the Smithsonian's Recovering Voices initiative.

Through this workshop, attendees will strategize how to design a language revitalisation tool that can serve community interests and, at the same time, add to the body of knowledge around language endangerment and revitalisation.

World-leading cultural heritage professionals, linguistic experts, educators, ethnomusicologists, and anthropologists have been invited to the event. This includes members of speech communities, UNESCO, various universities, USAID, the Administration for Native Americans, the National Museum of the American Indian, the National Museum of Natural History, the Centre for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, and InterAction-member NGOs

Dr Grant has been invited for her innovative work regarding music's connection to sustainability and its role with community – which organisers believe is the perfect complement to the workshop.


  • Jessie Reid
  • Phone: 02 4921 7458

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