July 30, 2012

Coming full circle: the Ngukurr Language Centre needs a Coordinator!

The Ngukurr Language Centre is funded again! Crazy to think really, about how this has come full circle... the first 100 or so posts on this blog were all written when I was toiling away as the linguist at the Ngukurr Language Centre. It was a difficult, but ultimately extremely rewarding job. This blog was originally started as a way for me to cope with the struggles of that job. Life in Ngukurr for me was sometimes (often?) lonely and confusing and so unique that blogging was the best way to help outsiders - and myself! - understand what I was experiencing.

After three long but great years, the circle started turning. My workplace turned sour (not at Ngukurr, but at the head office). I moved back to Katherine in 2007, tired and unmotivated. My time with the organisation ended and I went on to other things (and the blog posts became rather sporadic): three semesters of teaching with Batchelor followed by PhD research and it was time to start spending more time at Ngukurr again. But by then, the little language centre was dusty, broken and mouldy.

Bit by bit, a bunch of us started dusting it off - metaphorically and literally - and now it's an independent organisation with a great little local team ready to see it in full swing again after four long years in the wilderness. And today the Ngukurr Language Centre advertised for its first ever Coordinator!

Very exciting (and nerve-wracking) to see what happens from here. I would definitely consider applying but I have a PhD to finish. Please do the Language Centre a favour and think about being its inaugural coordinator (there's a job ad here). Or send it to someone you think might be good.

My words of encouragement: go for it! It's such a small organisation that the admin aspects are very manageable. The board and local language workers are motivated which makes it easy to deliver great collaborative language projects. You don't have to be a linguist, just manage language projects. Give it a go! It might just be the most exciting, life-changing thing you do for quite a while! :-)


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Anonymous said...

I actually found your blog through the ad for the Coordinator position rather than the other way around. I'm a recent graduate with a passion for languages and community development. Having grown up in a small country town in NSW and then spent a considerable amount of time travelling and learning languages, I have am excited about the prospect of applying for this job!

What I was wanting to ask though, is how much experience you think someone going for this position needs? I am keen to apply yet am also hesitant for fear of doing the community and the organisation a disservice if I were to get the job and then discover I was underqualified. (Though what I lack in postgraduate education I believe I make up for in other capacities). Anyway, just looking for your opinion considering your relationship with the centre. Should a social science and languages graduate with voluntary experience in the community cultural development sector apply in your opinion?

Thanks for your help!

nginarra said...


If you have tertiary qualifications in social science and language and some experience then you should most definitely apply! It's such a multi-faceted position that we (I say 'we' because I'm helping with the recruitment) understand that applicants will be stronger in some areas than others and that we'd be extremely lucky to find someone that knew all parts of the job straight off the bat. The board knows that a new person will have to grow into the job and are very patient. Having said that, it sounds like you do meet the criteria anyway, so I'd definitely encourage you to apply. Feel free to call or email if you want to chat about it. Cheers, Greg.