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As a member of the Summer Institute of Linguistics, Joyce worked in Fitzroy Crossing in the Kimberley region of Western Australia for sixteen years, studying Walmajarri, compiling a dictionary and teaching speakers of the language to read their own language. In 1983, she moved to Broome and worked for the Catholic Education Office. supporting Aboriginal language programs in schools across the Kimberley, then as a linguist with the Kimberley Language Resource Centre. The people whose stories appear in Out of the Desert include; Honey Bulagardie, John Charles, Mona Chuguna, David Downs, Mary-Anne Downs, Olive Knight, Limerick Malyapuka, Nora Nguwayir, Ivy Nixon, Jimmy Pike, Pompey Siddon, Peter Skipper, Emily Sullivan, Amy Vanbee, Adeline Wanangarra, Honeychild Budgie Yankarr and Boxer Yankarr. Joyce worked on this book as a non-Indigenous collaborator.