Poruma: Ngalpun Ngulaygaw Lag - Our Place of Learning

This post may contain images, voices and names of people who have passed away.

In 2002, the first Indigenous Knowledge Centres (IKCs) were established in partnership with Aboriginal Communities and Island Councils across Queensland. Seven IKCs were opened in 2002, with many more to follow over the years.

This year thirteen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Shire and Regional Councils will celebrate the role their IKC/s play in their communities as libraries, meeting places, hubs and keeping places.

On 10 October 2003, the Poruma Indigenous Knowledge Centre (IKC) opened and became the third IKC in the Torres Strait Island Regional Council (TSIRC) local government footprint. The IKC is called Ngalpun Ngulaygaw Lag - Our Place of Learning - Resource Centre.

During the past 19 years, the IKC has been a hive of activity, creating a teaching and learning space for the community. Through the IKC, many activities, programs and projects have been delivered with a heavy focus on the survival, revival, and preservation of culture. Projects such as Culture Love – Turtle Farming and Turtle Conservation and Stories Under Tagai.

Culture Love

Culture Love was a partnership project between Arts Queensland, the State Library and respective Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Shire and Regional Councils across Queensland. The partnership commenced in 2009 and continued for many years. Projects were delivered during school holidays and covered themes such as art, language, and music to capture and enhance Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and history.

At Poruma, Culture Love – Turtle Farming and Turtle Conservation was facilitated in October 2012 and utilised the skills and knowledge of local Elders, artists, and cultural experts to retell traditional stories and pass on knowledge through art and technology.

Culture Love - Turtle Farming and Conservation

Stories Under Tagai

With enthusiastic participation from the Poruma Community during the Culture Love and Stories Under Tagai projects, new skills in the use of technology were introduced to the young and elderly. It was a unique and intimate exploration of digital devices and technology, and of learning about what can be created and captured. For some children and Elders this was their first encounter with iPads and applications, recording devices, cameras and editing programs, while others increased their knowledge.

In 2015, funding and training were provided by State Library of Queensland through Closing the Gap: National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Public Internet Access (RIPIA). The training was delivered by SLQ staff through the IKC, and many sessions were filled quickly with excited participants. Sessions included using Microsoft applications like Excel, social media tips, downloading from a digital device and learning how to record audio and make short video recordings. Participants received certificates for some of the skills they learned. Technology Leaders also emerged from the sessions, which could continue the training, and help community members once the State Library of Queensland (SLQ) staff left Poruma.


Stories Under Tagai Workshop

Deadly Digital Communities

Fast forward to 2017, and Deadly Digital Communities, a Telstra initiative, was implemented again through the IKC. The movie editing application was popular and a huge success with the community. State Library staff assisted in delivering training relevant to the participant's needs and interests. Ongoing sessions were to be provided by the IKC Coordinators once the SLQ staff member completed their support trip.

As the Community of Poruma has experienced, using technology and increasing their digital knowledge through training enables them to use their skills to capture, share and preserve their culture, traditions, stories and everyday life in multiple ways. 

Deadly Digital Communities

Exploring the Collection

If you’d like to explore some of State Library’s collection items relating to Poruma, we have a few suggestions in the links below:

Big Voices was a free exhibition held at the State Library of Queensland between 12 September 2020 and 8 August 2021. Big Voices was a collection of children’s art created by Dr Barbara Piscitelli that stretched over 30 years of working with children on local, regional and international art projects. In Series 8 of the collection, you can explore the works of children from Poruma.

Material relating to Margaret Lawrie and the Torres Strait Islands, including the book, Myths and Legends of the Torres Strait, includes a section on Boigu Island.

The Poruma IKC is one of ten IKCs operated by the Torres Strait Island Regional Council (TSIRC) in partnership with the State Library of Queensland. Other IKC locations are Badu, Boigu, Dauan, Erub, Hammond Island, Iama, Kubin Village, Mabuiag and Warraber. 


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