A Community Cultural Development Model for Creative Language Revival
Traditionally, Aboriginal languages were not written down. They have always been communicated through the cultural practices of dance, song, storytelling, ceremony, artistic expression and cultural knowledge. VACL's Creative Language Revival Projects draw on this rich tradition of embedded creativity in communication, education and learning. Creative language revival activities are framed within a model of Community Cultural Development (CCD), ensuring that knowledge is passed on in engaging ways which lead to cultural revitalisation and community strengthening.
VACL has developed a model for its process of facilitating community engagement and collaboration in the creative language revival process. Drawing on the expertise of artists, Aboriginal Elders and linguists, VACL uses creative approaches to facilitate Aboriginal language revival. VACL staff work collaboratively with artists, providing linguistic and cultural support. They provide advice and resources to develop, record and disseminate language through creative processes which integrate songs, stories, music, poetic text, visual arts and sounds of Country to which the languages belong.
VACL’s model of Creative Language Revival draws on an extensive network of Aboriginal linguists and community leaders as an Advisory Group which is accountable to the VACL Board. The Board’s membership comprises Aboriginal Elders, linguists and community representatives from across the State. Members of the Advisory Group develop the project briefs for special events and programs and seek Expressions of Interest through community networks. Creative works are selected and commissioned from artists and members of different communities work together in collaboration.
Projects are allocated Lead Artists, Linguists and Cultural Mentors from the Advisory Group and on-going support is provided to the Project Teams. The creative works are performed at special events and the outcomes of the projects’ language reclamation processes are documented in writing, audio-recordings, photographs, visual art and film. Where appropriate, the project outcomes from the developmental process become learning resources which support language revival work and cultural learning in the broader community. An on-going cycle of feedback and evaluation is facilitated throughout the process.
VACL’s Creative Language Revival Projects are participatory and culturally inclusive in nature:
- Facilitates collaborations between artists and Aboriginal community members
- Contributes to creative and cultural revitalisation practices
- Actively promotes creative, culturally inclusive and cooperative expression
- Creates opportunities for Aboriginal community members to give expression to their own cultural values
- Facilitates cultural expression through the Arts
- Promotes reconciliation and develops an appreciation of deep commonalities within diversity
- Facilitates collaborations in creative and cultural expressions
- Creates bridges between and within communities
- Values different ways of knowing
- Produces creative, educational, social and community development outcomes
VACL’s Model of Language Revival through Community Cultural Development recognises that:
- Culture and language are living and dynamic
- Artists have roles as agents of transformation
- Participation and collaboration contribute to community learning
- Process is as important as the outcomes
The Creative Language Revival Projects are underpinned by the principles of Deep Listening:
- Working in the spaces in-between
- Community strengthening
- Making space for muted or silenced voices