Thames & Hudson
Songlines: The Power and Promise
The First Knowledges series offers an introduction to Indigenous knowledges in vital areas and their application to the present day and the future. Exploring practices such as architecture and design, land management, medicine, astronomy and law, this six-book series brings together two very different ways of understanding the natural world: one ancient, the other modern. The first book focuses on Songlines.
‘Let this series begin the discussion.’ – Bruce Pascoe
‘An act of intellectual reconciliation.’ – Lynette Russell
Songlines are an archive for powerful knowledges that ensured Australia’s many Indigenous cultures flourished for over 60,000 years. Much more than a navigational path in the cartographic sense, these vast and robust stores of information are encoded through song, story, dance, art and ceremony, rather than simply recorded in writing.
Weaving deeply personal storytelling with extensive research on mnemonics, Songlines: The Power and Promise offers unique insights into Indigenous traditional knowledges, how they apply today and how they could help all peoples thrive into the future. This book invites readers to understand a remarkable way for storing knowledge in memory by adapting song, art, and most importantly, Country, into their lives.
About the series: Each book is a collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous writers and editors; the series is edited by Margo Neale, senior Indigenous curator at the National Museum of Australia.
Margo Neale is the head of the Centre for Indigenous Knowledges, senior Indigenous curator, and principal adviser to the director of the National Museum of Australia (NMA). She is also an adjunct professor at the Australian National University and has authored or edited eleven books, including the Oxford Companion to Aboriginal Art and Culture. She has curated groundbreaking, award-winning national and international exhibitions, including Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters; Utopia: The Genius of Emily Kame Kngwarreye; and Urban Dingo: The Art and Life of Lin Onus.
Lynne Kelly is a science writer working as an honorary research associate at La Trobe University. Her field of research is the memory methods used by those who depended on their memories for everything they knew: oral cultures including Australian Aboriginal, Native American, Pacific and African cultures. She is also a mnemonist, committing vast amounts of information to memory using the memory technologies of Indigenous peoples. She is the author of The Memory Code and Memory Craft.
Margo Neale, Lynne Kelly
Published October 2020
133mm x 196cm