The Languages and Cultures Network for Australian Universities (LCNAU – pronounced ell-see-now) was established in 2011 as the first coordinated national organization for languages in Australia’s tertiary education sector. The network is the result of a national project, ‘Leadership for future generations’, originally funded by the Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT), with additional significant support provided by a number of universities around the country. Italian, and all other languages have long faced many serious challenges in Australia’s universities – not the least of which are fragmentation and isolation (both university- and language-specific across a very large nation); LCNAU is here precisely to address these and many other issues in a positive fashion.LCNAU allows Italianists and other colleagues to come together in two particularly successful ways:
(1) Its official website is well worth a visit. It provides LCNAU with a significant virtual presence and acts as both an important clearing house and network contact point. The site also houses a number of virtual clusters that are focused on specific issues, allowing interested academics to come together;
(2) The LCNAU National Colloquium – held every two years. The first was held in Melbourne in September 2011 and was a great success with enthusiastic feedback from participants appreciative of the chance to connect with colleagues from around Australia. A selection of fully refereed papers, including some specifically on Italian, is now available for purchase in hard copy or downloadable for free online via our website. Online availability provides instant global access and dissemination.
The second national colloquium will be held this year at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra, 3-5 July 2013. With over 75 presentations planned across numerous formats, it is set to be another very successful event (details here; registrations open soon). Participation is free and we would strongly encourage all of you to attend.
LCNAU is active in many different ways as well with other important roles and activities designed to benefit languages in the tertiary sector:
(a) national interlocutor and advocate, providing a coordinated voice for the tertiary languages sector when dealing with universities, governments and the media;
(b) research driver across the languages and cultures sector with a focus on best practice and dissemination. The national colloquium, the refereed proceedings, web site and virtual clusters – all discussed above – are practical examples of this kind of work;
(c) fostering collaboration and providing support. We operate in many different ways, e.g. seed funding to encourage collaborative research and as well as, in 2011, a special forum and workshop to understand better the role and place of casual and short-term contract staff in language programs.
2013 will be the most important year yet as LCNAU is formally established as a legal entity. As we move towards this important goal, we would like to acknowledge the invaluable participation and input of colleagues from Italian languages and cultures programs across the country. We are looking forward to continuing to work alongside you.