The Intergenerational Co-design of Relational Technologies to Foster Use of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages

2019 is the International Year of Indigenous Languages which highlights the need to preserve, celebrate, and value the rich array of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages that are spoken in Australia today. However, Indigenous Knowledges and languages are at risk of decline and loss unless they are passed down from older to younger generations and actively used. Technology is playing a key role in a range of initiatives to document, maintain, and revitalise Indigenous languages worldwide for future generations. However, many existing technologies focus on documenting language and stories rather than fostering active language use. Our work explores the ability for technology to facilitate engaging interactions that bring older and younger speakers together in ways that respect community values and social protocols.

In this talk, I will be presenting a co-design project with a remote Aboriginal community which aims to develop social technologies in tangible and digital forms that encourage language learning and use by young children and their families in the home. I will firstly introduce the concept of ‘relational technologies’, technologies for language learning and use that are deeply enmeshed in family language activities, kinship relations, and social protocols. Next, I will discuss a variety of technology prototypes developed through an iterative co-design process, and reflect on the ways that each design move responded to language use situations, and community needs and aspirations. I will then discuss the role of community engagement and ownership in fostering long-term uptake and sustainability of these designs. Finally, I will propose a Human-Computer Interaction research agenda to engage diverse communities in the co-creation and use of emerging technologies that are shaping our world.



Jennyfer Lawrence Taylor is a PhD Student and Sessional Academic in Human-Computer Interaction at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

Jennyfer’s doctoral research focusses on the intergenerational co-design of social technologies to support the teaching, learning and use of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages. She has carried out long-term, iterative design projects with several remote Aboriginal communities, working in ways that privilege community voices and engagement, reciprocity, and respect. Her broader research has addressed makerspace and making practices, communication flows in fair trade supply chains, job-seeking activities in informal settlements in Namibia, and she has worked on the ASPIRE platform as a Summer Vacation Scholar at Data61. Jennyfer’s research interests include participatory design, postcolonial computing, cross-cultural design, STEM engagement, digital participation, design ethnography, and digital literacies.

Jennyfer completed a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Information Technology at the Australian National University (ANU) in 2015, majoring in Anthropology and Information Systems respectively, and First Class Honours in IT from QUT.  She has published at venues such as the CHI, PDC, AFRICHI, and OzCHI conferences, and a book chapter in Digitisation of Culture: Namibian And International Perspectives. As a passionate educator, Jennyfer has been working as a Sessional Tutor for seven years across a range of university IT courses, and is recognised as an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She also conducts STEM outreach activities in Queensland schools while serving as a Young Science Ambassador for the Wonder of Science program. Jennyfer is keen to promote the message that ‘STEM is exciting, STEM is everywhere, and STEM is for everyone’.


Date & time

11am–12pm 8 Aug 2019


Room:N224 Systems Seminar Area


Jennyfer Lawrence Taylor


02 6125 2394

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