‘The Book of Beyond’: Designing PODcasts to Provide Spoken-Word Health Information for the Oral Culture of Remote Australian Aboriginal Communities

By Kurt Lushington, Jackie Cook, Tangi Steen, Frances Wyld and Collette Snowden.

Published by The International Journal of the Book

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper describes some of the dilemmas confronting health-communication professionals seeking the best formats for communicating health information, including life-saving self-treatment techniques for chronic conditions – to members of remote Indigenous communities in Central Desert Australia. The authors are working through issues relating to cultural literacies involving print-based or oral delivery of information. They are preparing to design and test short-format health information delivery systems which can both supplement and replace print materials, by using the spoken word and visual delivery techniques of traditional Indigenous communication. It is now possible to provide scientific healthcare servicing in remote communities via small battery or solar powered personal digital devices already familiar within those communities, such as MP3 players and mobile telephones. Challenges discussed here include the ways new technologies are taken up within Indigenous contexts; how the discursive structures of scientific medicine need modifying for traditional cultures; and how digital platform design and function selection reflect their emergence within commercialised, urban, post-modern, mainstream, Web 2.0 interpersonal communicative flows – and so require careful recalibration for the sorts of tasks outlined here. This paper outlines the main strands of investigation and community consultation necessary to the design, testing and use of digital spoken-word information among traditional Indigenous communities – a new form of ‘book’ for what Australians call ‘the back of beyond’.

Keywords: Health-Communications, PODcasting, Indigenous Communities

International Journal of the Book, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp.85-94. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 516.105KB).

Assoc. Prof. Kurt Lushington

Lecturer, Education, Arts and Social SciencesSchool of Psychology, City East Campus, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Kurt is interested in the psychology of reading and how reading interacts with new digital technologies.

Dr. Jackie Cook

Lecturer, Education, Arts and Social Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Dr. Cook is interested in all aspects of media but especially radio.

Dr. Tangi Steen

Lecturer, Education, Arts and Social Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Dr. Steen is interested in the interaction between media and Indigenous culture espcially radio communications.

Frances Wyld

Lecturer, David Unaipon College of Indigenous Education and Research, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

My name is Frances and I am a lecturer for the David Unaipon College of Indigenous Education and Research and I am descended from the Martu People in Western Australia. I have worked with DUCIER for 2 years and have a background in Education mostly working with disadvantaged learners. My doctorate with the School of Communications is the story of Aboriginal women in academia.

Dr. Collette Snowden

Lecturer, Education, Arts and Social Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia


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