Memory Workshops – The Orality Centre

The Orality Centre will run the first workshops using indigenous memory methods on Saturday 17 June 2017.  All details are on The Orality Centre site including the link for bookings. For further information contact Click HERE or on the image to go to The Orality Centre.

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Author: lynne

I am an Honorary Researcher at LaTrobe University. I am the author of 19 books, the most recent being 'Spiders: learning to love them' (Allen & Unwin), 'Knowledge and Power in Prehistoric Societies' (Cambridge University Press, 'The Memory Code' (Allen & Unwin, AUS; Pegasus Books, US and Atlantic Books, UK), 'Memory Craft' (Allen & Unwin, AUS; Pegasus Books, US) [and foreign translations, audio versions and so on]. My latest book is co-authored by Margo Neale. 'Songlines: the power and promise' and published by Thames & Hudson with the National Museum of Australia.

16 thoughts on “Memory Workshops – The Orality Centre”

  1. Dear Lynne, Paul and Alice,
    Thank you all very much for a memorable! workshop in Castlemaine. I am fascinated by the process and as a result of the workshop have started learning the main river systems in Australia, have set up my temporary memory palace for shopping ( in a 1912 village hall that I know well) and am meeting this morning with a local teacher to pass on some of what I learnt. He already has The Memory Code.
    I look forward to any work that you are able to do on maths.

    1. Hi Lyn,

      Thank you so much for your comments. I would love to hear how you go with your experiments.

      We are finding that students as young as 7 can use memory palaces really well. We haven’t tried younger. For secondary students, it is a breeze as long as the information is structured.

      In terms of maths, the dominant request at primary and secondary levels is for the times tables. I have lots of other ideas – maths being my major teaching subject after physics. However, it is tables that is wanted most by teachers and it is essential that we work closely with the reality of the classroom. I am working with the Principal and staff at Malmsbury PS, and Paul and Alice. We think we have come up with an idea which might work using a memory board and reducing the actual memory work to be done using patterns and understanding. But about 35 of the 144 need to be memorised for optimal recall. We also think that it will be essential that the students make the board themselves in stages rather than us mass produce them according to the patterns we are developing. But we will only know with trialling it.

      We also worked on knowing the names of shapes – 2D and 3D and other aspects. The teachers are saying that they want the basics memorised so they can build on a firm foundation for the higher cognitive levels.

      Once we have a fair bit working with staff and students, then the parents and other family members will be coming to the schools and getting involved – probably in August. Once they are happy we will go broader with details of exactly what we are doing.

      If you have ideas about exactly what we should be looking at in maths, then please say so. We are getting a lot of ideas for spelling. And we are doing science and history and anything we can link in. But it will all take time. It is a matter of choosing the right targets rather than overusing the techniques. And then testing it with real teachers and real students.

      So much work to do!

      Thank you again for your comments,


  2. Hi Lynne
    I just finished reading your book The Memory Code. I am an educator who works with teachers to design strategies to assist students with learning and behavioural difficulties. I can see the potential for using these non literate memory systems in an educational setting. I read above that you are already doing some work with schools. Could you give me some more information about this and whether you could do something similar in Sydney? Alternatively, I would love to discuss some ideas for embedding this type of learning in my work. Thank you for your time.

    1. Hi Karen,
      Thank you for your comment. As a long time educator, this is an aspect which is becoming very important in my current work. It would take too much to try and explain it all here as I am in schools a few days a week at the moment. Some of that work is being done through The Orality Centre, and there is some stuff on the website – but we are so busy that there is a lot more to add:

      Especially the Education tab and The Malmsbury Project. There was also an article on ABC:

      It is possible that the team at The Orality Centre could do something in schools in Sydney, but it would depend on funding. We have been looking at the impact for students with learning and behavioural difficulties, but we are still early in our research.

      I will report more here on my website and various members of the team will write on the Orality Centre site.

      I will certainly be writing a lot more about this is the future.


  3. Lynne , i heard your interview with Richard Fidler on ABC this morning. Wonderful. Will get your book tomorrow. Will you be running a workshop in Brisbane or Gold Coast?

    1. Thank you very much for your comment, Lynne. At this stage there are no plans to run workshops in Brisbane or Gold Coast. It depends on whether there is an organiser in the area who can make it financially viable given I live in Victoria and would need travel and accomodation covered. I have little time at the moment as I am working on projects in schools implementing these ideas. It is all going so well that there isn’t time to do many trips. That said, I would love to visit southern Queensland!

      Any workshops will be announced here and on my Facebook page:

      Thank you again for your comment.


  4. Hi Lynne any possibility of being able to get you up to cairns.
    Its lovely and warm up here

    1. Hi Rane,
      It is only a train ride from Melbourne and we can arrange transport from the station to Etty St Campus. We are considering running workshops in Melbourne but at this stage we don’t have firm plans. We can come and run them for schools or other organisations on request. We don’t have a location to run them in Melbourne so would need to rent space which would add to the cost. But we are thinking about it!


  5. Very exciting, Lynne!!

    I did have immense trouble working out what it costs. I could see the materials and lunch costs but not the attendance cost.

  6. Fantastic! I’m so disappointed to miss this one! Please have more so I can attend when I’m back in town late July. These are exciting times.

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