Red Room Blog
13th June 2018
Poetry in First Languages - Dharawal workshops
By Lyndsay Urquhart. Photos by Todd Hardingham
This was the first time teaching poetry in Dharawal language and it was a dream come true; an opportunity I never thought was possible. Teaching and learning in a group situation with a group of diverse individuals with unique skills made all the difference, having Aunty Jodi there with her wealth of knowledge and the ability to teach the language made it feel like a spiritually sound offering to the students, combined with my ability to connect with students to find their unique voice, and Kirli’s organisational and teaching abilities made it a small but powerful team working under some difficult conditions with the levels of trauma and extremely high ability amongst the students in the room who were not only gifted academically but also culturally, and who had their own spiritual strength that they each were encouraged to draw upon and write very important words in such a short time, and translating that story into dance worked really well.
I would not only like to see other students have this opportunity, but I would like to find the space for those students to see us again and see that we actually cared about what all of them contributed, not leaving behind the students who were actually more gifted at trying to maintain harmony in the room, within themselves and their family and friends as I want to acknowledge that all of the students made a contribution for themselves their families and for us as their teachers. I think we broke down more barriers than can be seen on the pages.
Developed by poet Kirli Saunders and delivered by Red Room Poetry, Poetry in First Languages (PIFL) celebrates, shares and preserves knowledge of First Nations languages and culture through poetry, music and art.