Dr Vicki Couzens spoke at ANZSOG's Reimagining Public Administration conference on February 20, as part of the 'Year of Indigenous languages’ plenary. The plenary was particularly poignant given 2019 is the United Nations Year of Indigenous Languages. “Our language is scarce so we are revitalising it. We're having to re-dream and reinterpret our languages back into our ways of doing and being now in the 21st century. We have to make it relevant,” Dr Couzens said.
Dr Couzens is Gunditjmara from the Western Districts of Victoria. She acknowledges her ancestors and elders who guide her work. Dr Couzens has worked in Aboriginal community affairs for almost 40 years. Her contributions in the reclamation, regeneration and revitalisation of cultural knowledge and practice extend across the ‘arts and creative cultural expression’ spectrum including language revitalisation, ceremony, community arts, public art, visual and performing arts, and writing. She is a Senior Knowledge Custodian for Possum Skin Cloak Story and Language Reclamation and Revival in her Keerray Woorroong Mother Tongue. Vicki is employed at RMIT as a Vice Chancellors Indigenous Research Fellow developing her Project ‘watnanda koong meerreeng , tyama-ngan malayeetoo (together body and country, we know long time)’ The key objective of this Project is to produce model/s, pathways and resources for continuing the reinvigoration of Aboriginal Ways of Knowing Being and Doing with a special focus on language revitalisation.