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Gunamabami ngyini
You will set yourself alight again
Manabami ngyini
You will collect yourself again
Nabami ngyini
You will see yourself again
You must

~ from Ngayrayagal didjurigur (Soon enough) by Joel Davison

The International Year of Indigenous Languages is 2019

Delivered by Red Room Poetry and developed by Gunai poet Kirli Saunders, the Poetry in First Languages (PIFL) project celebrates, shares and preserves knowledge of First Nations languages and culture through poetry, music, dance and art.

PIFL supports First Nations students in creating poetry in first languages by connecting them to First Nations poets, Elders and Language Custodians on Country. Our aim is to strengthen connections of First Nations students to country, language and community to empower pride in their cultural identities resulting in enhanced wellbeing.

In 2019, we'll be delivering more than 35 workshops on Arrernte, Gundungurra, Dharawal, Gumea Dharawal, Barkindji, Bundjalung, Ngunawal, Gadigal and Yugembeh Countries (NT, NSW, QLD + ACT). We'll be publishing the poems from the workshops on our website and in public art installations. We'll also be cultivating a Poetry in First Languages Anthology and First Languages Poems to Share Resource, for release in 2020.  Discover more about the project


Help keep first Nations languages alive

Contributing Elders, Language Custodians & artists

Alison Whittaker (Gomeroi), Ellen Van Neerven (Mununjali Yugambeh), Matthew Heffernan (Pintupi-Luritja), Melanie Mununggurr Williams (Djapu), Declan Furber Gillick (Arrernte), Nicholas Paton (Ngunawal), Ethan Bell (Ngunawal), Nicole Smede (Woremi), Kirli Saunders (Gunai), Aunty Sharyn Halls (Gundungurra), Aunty Trish Levett (Gundungurra), Jacob Morris (Gumea Dharawal), Aunty Jodi Edwards (Yuin), Uncle Richard Campbell (Yuin), Paul Collis (Barkindji), Joel Davison (Gadigal), David Cragg (Bundjalung), Allan Giddy.

Workshops & events

  • Gundungurra (Southern Highlands NSW)
    18-20 March 2019 Cultural Day and workshops with Aurora Southern Highlands Steiner School, Berrima Public School, Bowral Public School and Moss Vale High School in partnership with Wingecarribee Shire Council and NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. 
  • Dharawal (Illawarra NSW)
    7 and 8 May with Figtree Public School, Port Kembla Public School, Warilla North Public School, Oak Flats High School and Dapto High School in partnership with Merrigong Theatre, Wollongong Art Gallery 
    25 October in partnership with Royal Botanic Gardens, NASCA and Art Gallery NSW
  • Arrernte (Alice Springs, NT) 
    13-14 May with Centralian Senior College and Ltyentye Apurte Catholic School in partnership with NT Writers Festival 
    16 May Student performances at NT Writers Festival alongside commissioned poets
  • Bundjalung (Ballina NSW)
    With Cabbage Tree Island Public School in partnership with Northern Rivers Community Gallery and Allan Giddy (dates TBC)
  • Gumea Dharawal (South Coast, NSW)
    19-21 August with Bomaderry High School, Vincentia High School and Nowra East Public School in partnership with Bundanon Trust 
  • Dharawal (Illawarra NSW)
    25 October in partnership with the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan and NASCA delivered by Ethan Bell
  • Ngunawal (Canberra, ACT)
    11 and 12 November with Mount Stromlo High School and Dickson College, in partnership with Northern Rivers Community Gallery and Allan Giddy
  • Gadigal (Sydney NSW)
    18 November 2019 in partnership with Royal Botanic Gardens, NASCA and Art Gallery NSW