Lost in Translation? Development versus Tradition

Proudly appearing as part of the Melbourne Writers Festival's Big Ideas Series
Around the world today there is devastating poverty, disadvantage and inequality. As conscientious and caring global citizens, NGO’s and individuals swoop into the developing world to provide assistance, support and relief to those in need. Yet while many positive outcomes have been achieved in the delivery of aid programs, there are also ripple effects which can prove devastating to those who are supposed to be benefitting – people whose culture is often crucial to their sense of identity. 
The introduction of formal education, new languages, foods, religions, societal structures and cash-economies can bring serious changes to the cultural fabric of communities. Indigenous dialects are often lost, and with them thousands of years of stories, history and traditions; religion might be diluted and substituted with Western ideologies and beliefs; traditional dress and diet can become outdated as foreign influence sways local style and taste buds; and communities often become divided by changed status, wealth, influence, shifting values, beliefs and priorities. 
So how do we know where to draw the line? What constitutes positive change in the face of extreme poverty, starvation and inequality? And how can we ensure that such change is possible without causing very old languages and beliefs, traditions and kinship to vanish?
Are development and culture mutually exclusive or can communities reap the benefits of development while still preserving their cultural identity?
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  • Venue The Edge, Federation Square,
  • Date & time 27/08/2013 6:30:00 PM 6:30pm - 8:00pm


Abel Guterres on the changing nature of culture
Abel Guterres on the intrinsic 'thread' of culture
Butet manurung and Abel Guterres on why Culture and language matters
Butet Manurung and Abel Guterres on why culture and language matters (1)
Butet manurung on oral history and Indonesian Pantun
Butet Manurung on tensions around development in the jungle communities
Lost in Translation panel on culture and rights
Lost in Translation? Development versus Tradition
Simon Musgrave on endangered languages
Simon Musgrave, Stephen Pollard and Abel Guterres on the different speeds of development
Stephen Pollard on economics and culture
Stephen Pollard on economics and culture (1)


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Started 3 Jun 2013 - by contactus@onejustworld.com.au