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The School

Centralian Senior College (CentralianSC) is the largest provider of senior secondary education in Alice Springs, offering a wide range of courses with a variety of dedicated, specialist teachers who strive for excellence when it comes to their subject fields. CentralianSC is proud to be the only goverment funded senior secondary college in Alice Springs.

The Project

Developed by Gunai 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.

On May 13,14 and 15, Arrernte Playwright, Declan Furber Gillick and Gunai Poet, Kirli Saunders led First Nations students at Centralian Senior College in Poetry in First Language workshops, generously supported by NT Writers Festival. During workshops, students connected to country to create poems in Arrernte/Arnanda language. Poems from the workshops will be published on the Red Room poetry website and were also shared at the NT Writers Festival during the Festival Opening (May 16, 5:30-7pm, Olive Pink Botanic Garden) and Poet's Moon Readings (May 17, 6-7:30pm, Olive Pink Botanic Garden). 

Read the student poems here soon!

The Poet

Declan Furber Gillick

Declan Furber Gillick is an independent, multi-award winning artist and educator. His creative practice spans playwrighting, hip-hop, rap and music production, performance, composition, poetry, prose and visual arts. Declan is also an activist, a radio broadcaster with 3RRR Melbourne and a facilitator and teacher, having taught at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. He is of Arrernte (Aboriginal First Nations) and Irish-Australian heritage. Born in Mparntwe (Alice Springs, Northern Territory) on Central Arrernte country, Declan has lived in Canberra, Adelaide, Regional Victoria and Latin America, and for the last five years has based himself between Melbourne and his Arrernte homeland Alice Springs. He has had work published with Southerly, Centre For Indigenous Story and Affirm Press and is currently a writer-in-residence as part of Melbourne Theatre Company's Next Stage Program. He has performed as a spoken word artist with Melbourne Emerging Writer's Festival and Melbourne Spoken Word and as a musician, rapper and storyteller at festivals and venues around Melbourne and Victoria in 2018/19.
 
Prior to full-time pursuit of arts, music and writing, Declan studied an Arts/Laws double-degree intermittently and otherwise worked as an assistant-teacher, an Aboriginal Legal Support Officer, an outdoor educator, in bar and hospitality and in other various labouring and cleaning jobs.
 
Declan completed a Masters in Writing for Performance at Victorian College of The Arts in 2017, for which he was awarded first class honours. During that study, Declan wrote his first play The Great Emu War, which was subsequently read at Melbourne Theatre Company's Cybec Electric Season. In 2018 Declan was selected as one of three participants in Melbourne Fringe and Ilbijerri Theatre Company's Deadly Fringe Program. With the assistance of that program, he wrote and performed in BIGHOUSE DREAMING, which won three Melbourne Fringe awards for Best Performance, Best Emerging Indigenous Artist and the Melbourne Festival Discovery Award. The work and its creative team were further nominated for six Greenroom awards to be presented in April 2019. 
 
In 2019 Declan is touring BIGHOUSE DREAMING with its cast and creative team to Darwin and Brisbane Arts Festivals. He has been commissioned by Ilbijerri to write a new play in collaboration with VACCA (Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Association) and is working on three new independent works as part of his Melbourne Theatre Company residency. Declan will also perform and speak at Northern Territory Writer's Festival 2019. He works for Desert Pea Media as an arts and media facilitator, songwriter and hip-hop mentor.