Poetry in First Languages
We are all wounded, we all fear
Ngabay midyungngunbuni ngaliya
Together, you and I, we will heal
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, 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 through workshops facilitated by Red Room Poetry. The focus is to strengthen the connection of First Nations students to country, language and community in order to empower students to feel pride in their cultural identities resulting in enhanced wellbeing overall.
The project, running from 2018-2020, will deliver:
• 25 commissioned First Nations poets, emerging and established
• Creation of language group-specific learning resources aligned with Australian Curriculum
• Poets working directly with 1,000 First Nations students
• Performance and publication of student poems via creative installations and the RR website
• A print and digital anthology of First Language poems collected during the project in 2020
• Professional Development sessions (3 per year) for teachers
• Ongoing research to be conducted by Bailey and Yang Group and UTS
Workshops & events
- Cookaroo Flow (Sydney NSW)
- Gadigal (Sydney NSW)
5 November, NASCA Sydney & Northern Territory
- Yuin (Shoalhaven NSW)
6-27 August with Jervis Bay School, North Nowra Public School and Nowra East Public School.
- Tumbalong Gatherers (Sydney NSW)
Poetic lightboxes installed through Darling Quarter and Darling Square during NAIDOC week
- Student poetry on buses (Illawarra NSW)
4 buses with student poetry in First Languages travelled the Illawarra between July and September.
- Bundjalung (North East NSW)
8-10 August with Balund-a Diversionary Centre (branch of Unlocked)
- Dharawal (Illawarra NSW)
14-15 May with Warrawong Public School, Warrawong High School and Kemblawarra Public School
- Gundungurra (Southern Highlands NSW)
19-21 March with Moss Vale High School, Mittagong Public School and Moss Vale Public School
Contributing Elders, Language Custodians and artists
Trish Levett (Gundungurra), Val Mulcahy (Gundungurra), Jodi Edwards (Yuin), Troy Styman (Gundungurra), Lewis Walker (Bundjalung), Joe Geia (Murri) Jacob Morris (Gumea Dharawal), Adrian Webster (Gumea Dharawal), Lyndsay Urquhart (Koori), Kirli Saunders (Gunai, Gundungurra), DJ Terra Nullius, Allan Giddy, David Cragg, Wesley McLeod, Jan Levy, Luke Close, Josh Brown, Vikki Parsley (Dhurga), Wayne Knight (Barkindji), Kevin Knight (Barkindji), Elaine Lomas (Wiradjuri).
Supporters & Partners
Poetry in First Languages is supported by the Commonwealth through the Australian National Commission for UNESCO of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. It is proudly supported by the Graeme Wood Foundation, Geoff Ainsworth AM & Johanna Featherstone, Copyright Agency, Norman Catts Trust and other generous individuals.
Rain dancing..., Un-named, Barka – murrdie (Darling, black person), Ngayrayagal didjurigur (Soon enough), The Wounded Brave, Banggang Cūndū (Old Tree), Ngurrparringu (Forgotten), Nginha-gulia nyiang – These words, The Gatherers, Nurambang yali – Country speaks, Yanha-mam-birra – Release, Ban Maganindadjyang (My Old People Done), Mina Mina en Moruya, Mudjis and Yiliman (Friends and Spears), Baladjarang
Visit our online store to purchase publications and materials from this project. The Red Room Company is a not-for-profit organisation. All funds raised support the ongoing work of The Red Room Company.