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Bayawurradyangun, djirrundyangun
We are all wounded, we all fear
Ngabay midyungngunbuni ngaliya
Together, you and I, we will heal

~ from 'The Wounded Brave' 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.


Help keep First Nations languages alive


Project goals (2018–2020)

Running from 2018-2020, the project will deliver:

  • 25 commissioned First Nations poets, emerging, mid-career and established
  • Creation of language group-specific learning resources aligned with Australian Curriculum
  • First Nations poets, Elders and Language Custodians 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
  • Independent evaluation conducted by BYP Group and by UTS (results forthcoming).


Watch our video on Dharawal Country


Free Professional Development webinars

Over three webinars in 2019, Gunai author, poet and educator, Kirli Saunders and Narragunnawali's Stephanie Woerde will join forces to discuss all things education, poetry and language building. 

  • Webinar 2: Preparing & Evaluating Culturally Responsive Language Resources (12 June) 
    Kirli and Stephanie discuss key questions and considerations pertaining to the preparation and evaluation of culturally responsive First Languages resources/activities. Watch it live or get the link emailed to you later. 
    Register to watch for free!

  • Webinar 1: Languages, Education & Reconciliation
    In this first webinar, Kirli and Stephanie share practical insights and inspiration from Red Room Poetry’s Poetry in First Languages initiative, which supports students in creating poetry in First Languages by connecting them to First Nations poets, Elders and Language Custodians on Country. 

Partners and Supporters

Poetry in First Languages is generously supported by many partners, philanthropists, Oranges & Sardines Foundation, Norman Catts Trust and other key partners below: