Disrupted is an annual festival put on by the State Library of Western Australia exploring a range of topics and ideas. Of key focus this year are language, politics, and social norms. There are a range of talks, walks, panels, and events to explore; all seeking to ‘disrupt’ the way we think about, discuss and perceive certain issues. Due to a previous engagement in the morning I only had the time to attend one panel in the afternoon. However, that talk alone was worth making the rather wet and cold trek into Perth for.
In Digging into Resilience wordsmith David Astle (from SBS’ Letters and Numbers) and linguist Danial Midgley (RTRFM’s Talk the Talk) discussed the meaning and relevance of the word ‘resilience’. This was an outstanding discussion that was both informative and engaging. Over the course of the hour both men spoke on what they understand resilience to mean, as well as how it is used in different social settings and contexts. What I loved particularly about this discussion was the candor of the speakers and their willingness to touch on topics that are usually shied away from – such as the language of mental health and welfare, as well as the nature of ‘killer’ and dead languages. Resilience, as they discussed is not a matter of being the strongest, but a matter of being adaptive, honest, and able to accept truths for what they are.
How language shapes the perceptions of people as well as how perceptions shape language use is a keen interest of mine, and I wasn’t disappointed at all with this session. I’m definitely looking forward to the other panels tomorrow.
Disrupted continues tomorrow, Sunday the 30th of July. For more information on panels, discussions, and events, see https://disrupted.slwa.wa.gov.au/.