Torres Strait Islander Language Revitalisation: The Ilan Style Fellowship

Discover the exciting partnership between Ilan Style and AIATSIS for Torres Strait Island language revitalisation through the Ilan Style Fellowship.

Torres Strait Islander Languages and Cultures

Torres Strait Islander Languages and Cultures are rich and diverse, reflecting the unique heritage and history of the Torres Strait Islands. These languages have been passed down through generations and are an integral part of the cultural identity of Torres Strait Islanders. However, like many Indigenous languages around the world, Torres Strait Islander languages are on the UNESCO critically endangered list. The Ilan Style Fellowship aims to address this by supporting language revitalisation projects.

By revitalising Torres Strait Islander languages, we can preserve their unique linguistic features, cultural knowledge, and connections to the land and sea. This not only strengthens the cultural identity of Torres Strait Islanders but also contributes to the overall diversity of languages in Australia and the world.


Meriam Mir language (Our Language: Keeping Us Strong)

Find out more about Meriam Mir language:


The Significance of Language Revitalisation

Language revitalisation is crucial for the preservation and celebration of Indigenous cultures. Language is not just a means of communication; it is a repository of traditional knowledge, stories, and ways of thinking. When languages are lost, valuable cultural heritage is also lost.

Revitalising Torres Strait Islander languages has numerous benefits. It allows younger generations to connect with their cultural roots, fostering a sense of pride and belonging. It also provides opportunities for intergenerational learning and strengthens community bonds. Language revitalisation can also contribute to improved mental health and well-being, as it promotes a sense of identity and cultural continuity.



Introducing the Ilan Style Fellowship

The Ilan Style Fellowship is an exciting partnership between AIATSIS (Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies) and Torres Strait Islanders. It offers a unique opportunity for a Torres Strait Islander to undertake a language revitalisation project. The fellowship provides financial support, mentorship, and resources to assist the selected individual in their language revitalisation efforts.

Through the Ilan Style Fellowship, Torres Strait Islanders can contribute to the preservation and revitalisation of their languages, ensuring their cultural heritage endures for future generations. The fellowship also promotes collaboration and knowledge sharing between AIATSIS and Torres Strait Islander communities, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of Torres Strait Islander languages and cultures.


Photography: Talai Elu


Benefits of Participating in the Fellowship

Participating in the Ilan Style Fellowship offers numerous benefits for the selected individual and their community. Some of the key benefits include:

  • Financial support: The fellowship provides financial assistance to support the language revitalisation project, covering expenses such as travel, accommodation, and living expenses. 
  • Access to AIATSIS facilities: This includes workstations, ICT and corporate services support
  • Assistance from AIATSIS Access and Family History unit in identifying and accessing relevant collection materials.
  • Mentorship: The mentorship framework connects Torres Strait Islander students with seasoned researchers and supports from AIATSIS, fostering growth and understanding. 
  • Sponsored attendance at the AIATSIS Summit (3-7 June 2024).
  • Community Engagement: Opportunities to disseminate your findings with communities may include lectures, workshops, cultural events, collaborations, and attendance to AIATSIS events.
  • Disseminating the Findings: Support for publishing and disseminating research outcomes through AIATSIS and Ilan Style platforms.

By participating in the fellowship, individuals can make a meaningful and lasting impact on the revitalisation of Torres Strait Islander languages, contributing to the cultural resilience and well-being of their communities.



How to Apply for the Ilan Style Fellowship

To apply for the Ilan Style Fellowship, interested individuals must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • be a Torres Strait Islander student, researcher, or community member,
  • apply as an individual (joint applications will not be considered),
  • be over 18 years of age, and
  • provide consent for AIATSIS and Ilan Style to distribute the finished project material.

Applications can be submitted online during the designated application period. The selection process involves a review of applications by a panel of experts in language revitalisation and Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage. The successful fellow will be notified and provided with the necessary support to commence their language revitalisation project.

The Ilan Style Fellowship presents an incredible opportunity for Torres Strait Islanders to contribute to the revitalisation of their languages. By working together with AIATSIS, we can ensure the enduring legacy of Torres Strait Islander languages for generations to come.


Photography: Talai Elu
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