On the 5th of October the fourth annual Tanderrum Ceremony took place at Federation Square. This ceremony is a traditional Eastern Kulin gathering comprising of 5 language groups, Woiwurrung (Wurundjeri), Boon wurrung, Taungurung, Dja Dja wurrung and Wathaurong. VACL assisted with extra support in language translations, pronunciation for each of the language groups, as well as the recorded voiceover component. VACL staff who are part of the Kulin Nation also participated in the ceremony.

In Tanderrum, the lore of the creator spirit Bunjil is acknowledged and the vibrant living culture of this country is celebrated. Tanderrum is significant as the ceremony wasn’t practiced in Melbourne between 1835 and 2013. Now every year the different groups of the Kulin nation meet to practise in the months leading up to the ceremony where the hours of work are well and truly evident in this outstanding event. Tanderrum attracts thousands of people to witness the rich linguistic and cultural knowledge of the people of the Kulin Nation in the combination of traditional songs, dances and ceremony.

To see more images from Tanderrum click here

To watch a video from the making of Tanderrum click here

Published in Blog

In September 2016 VACL staff travelled via the flood diversions to Robinvale to work with VACL board member Brendan Kennedy and the Tati Tati, Mutti Mutti, Latji Latji and Wadi Wadi communities.

In a series of workshops over three days, a group of children were given the opportunity to create artwork, take photographs and record language words and songs for an upcoming app to be released featuring languages from North West Victoria.

Using iPads, cameras and art materials the children set out to illustrate close to 100 words for the upcoming Tyalingi App. The group were also recorded singing burpi, niti, partingi, thinangi (heads, shoulders, knees, toes) as part of a suite of songs which will also feature in the app. Children were then given the opportunity to individually practice and record Tati Tati, Mutti Mutti, Latji Latji and Wadi Wadi words with Brendan.

Brendan Kennedy runs the Robinvale Language Program Yakila Yarna Thalingi (Learning to Speak Language) at Robinvale P-12 College.

For more information on Yakila Yarna Thanlingi click here

Songs from Brendan Kennedy's book Wangilatha Wangu nga Kiyawatha will also feature in the upcoming app.

Published in Blog

Last month, Paul travelled to Sydney to participate in the three day Indigenous Digital Excellence Summit. Day 1 was packed full of presentations ranging from entrepreneurs who've utilised digital technology to achieve business success, academics spoke about the number of Indigenous people completing IT courses (which is very low) and what the future of jobs looks like and how we need to be prepared for this. Paul also spoke from the viewpoint of using digital excellence in revitalising culture demonstrating the iPad Apps which we developed last year.

The next two days were focused on constructing and working towards the development of a National Indigenous Digital Excellence Strategy. The strategy will focus on areas such as Employment, Health, Entrepreneurship, Education and Culture. Experts from the digital industry joined the group on the last day to provide their professional contributions with the closing address left to the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, to give priority to this important strategy and a commitment of future funding to see it realised.

As a bonus, Paul gave the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull a brief tour of one of our Apps which were on display after the summit!

Published in Blog
Friday, 08 April 2016 11:04

Language Revival and Creativity

Community Cultural Development: The Creative Revival of Aboriginal Languages

VACL Creative Language Revival Model webready

With the knowledge that language is the key tool to understanding and celebrating culture, it is natural that language provides the keystone to informing and inspiring creative projects and artistic expression. Our model for the creative revival of Aboriginal languages is a living example of Community Cultural Development practice, strengthening communities as well as language and culture. Our work in the field of creative language revival and cultural revitalisation through the Arts is leading edge and meets a growing need in the community. Creative Language Revival Projects contribute to cultural strengthening, health and well-being, educational opportunities and reconciliation.

VACL makes a significant contribution to the creative and cultural identity of Victoria by increasing the body of Aboriginal language and enhancing the cultural profile of Victoria. We achieve this through close partnerships with creative and cultural organisations such as Banmirra Arts Inc, Ilbijerri Theatre Company, The Wheeler Centre, Museum Victoria, Bunjilaka, Koorie Heritage Trust, Immigration Museum, Aboriginal Community Cooperatives, Melbourne Festival, Kiwa Digital, Miromaa Aboriginal Language and Technology Centre, Footscray Community Arts Centre , Sistagirl Productions, Reconciliation Victoria and State Library of Victoria drawing attention to the uniqueness of South-eastern Australian Aboriginal culture. Through these collaborations, we have participated in high profile creative events, festivals and programs such as The Light in Winter, Shearwater Festival, White Night, Next Wave, Blak and Bright and Festival of Pacific Arts.

Below are some highlights and examples of the many ways in which language underpins creative expression:

corey theatreMusic

Gunditjmara/Gunai man Corey Theatre is a singer songwriter whose use of language extends him as a musician to be able to sing in traditional language. Corey has attended VACL workshops and is a strong believer in the power of language and its use in music. Corey continues to strengthen his knowledge through a collaborative journey of language revival and musical expression.

To hear some of Corey's music, visit Corey Theatre Music.

The Shearwater Short Tales program featured many musical collaborations including a song-writing and language revival project with self-selected Grades 5 and 6 students from Wonthaggi North Primary School, Kutcha Edwards and Aunty Fay Stewart-Muir, which lead to a ten-minute performance at the Shearwater Festival at Philip Island.

Learn more about the Shearwater Short Tales Creative Development Workshops held in 2015.

lisa kennedyLiterature

In addition to the promotion and publication of books in Victorian Aboriginal languages, VACL plays an ongoing role in Victoria's literary programs including holding seminars, workshops, presentations, readings and discussions. These have included a panel discussion at the Wheeler Centre, readings of digital storybook apps as part of the Blak and Bright: The Victorian Indigenous Literary Festival, translation work and reading for National Simultaneous Storytime and presentations on language revival at State Library Victoria.

The upcoming book 'Living Connections' by Lisa Kennedy is a visual narrative with Boonwurrung translations resulting from a partnership with VACL language worker and Boonwurrung Elder Aunty Fay Stewart-Muir. The book features Lisa's exquisite watercolour paintings alongside text in both English and Boonwurrung which details the journey of the Shearwater birds and connection to country. 

shearwater 2Festivals

The award-winning ‘Biyadin: The Shearwater Festival’ is held annually on Phillip Island. The Festival is auspiced by VACL in partnership with Bass Coast Shire Council and the Phillip Island Nature Park and has a strong focus on Aboriginal language revival and cultural regeneration. The Festival is preceded by an Education and Community Engagement Program in which Aboriginal Elders, linguists, artists and environmentalists work with children, teachers and community members to teach language and culture. A range of creative resources are developed from this work that are incorporated into the Festival and, where appropriate, are subsequently used for educational purposes.

VACL also works with leading contemporary arts festivals such as Next Wave Festival where we not only feature in the program of events hosting workshops in collaboration with artists on topics such as traditional cloak making, identity, returning to place and connecting to country through language, but have assisted the festival team in imbedding language in their guides, maps and programs through incorporating Aboriginal place names and locations. 

boonwurrung eldersCeremony

VACL’s creative collaborations include public events such as ‘Tanderrum’, a ceremony performed at the Opening of the Melbourne Festival in Federation Square and the Official Opening of White Night in Melbourne at the Exhibition Building. These projects entailed extensive work with musicians, dancers, Elders and children from Aboriginal communities from the Kulin Nation facilitated by the Ilbijerri Theatre Company and with linguistic and creative leadership provided by VACL staff.

Watch a video of Tanderrum.

djirri djirri performanceDance

The Djirri Djirri Dance Group create dances which are contemporary interpretations of Wurundjeri culture with the essence of traditional dance/ceremony. Djirri Djirri is the Woi wurrung name for the Willy Wagtail. The group have many children who are encouraged to take on leadership roles through the use of language and knowledge exchange in dance creation. The group is led by VACL language worker Mandy Nicholson who has written many songs and chants in language which accompany these dances. 

Watch the Djirri Djirri Dance Group perform Heartbeat of the Earth at the Shearwater Festival 2015. 

dulaiwurrungDigital Technology

VACL has played a leading role in creating digital language resources to support language learning in both communities and schools. Eighteen apps are now available on the VACL iTunes Store, all of which feature unique artwork created by local Aboriginal artists and in creative workshops with Primary and Secondary students across Victoria. These apps have generated a large interest in Victorian Aboriginal languages on a global platform, receiving wide coverage in the print media and radio and international recognition for Dulaiwurrung Mungka-nj-bulanj (How the Platypus Was Made) which won an award for excellence at the 2015 Digital Children’s Book Fair in Japan. This award led to an invitation to be part of a World Exhibition "Digital Ehon de Hirogaru Sekai Exhibition" at Children's Discovery Center Hachirabo (Tokyo, Shibuya).

To download VACL apps visit our iTunes Store

bilgiri kathiniVisual Arts

Language worker, teacher, craftsman and visual artist and VACL Board Member Brendan Kennedy holds language as a central key to culture and creativity. With support from VACL, Brendan has published a collection of his songs and stories in Tati Tati, Mutti Mutti and Wadi Wadi languages. The publication titled Wangilatha Wangu Kiyawatha is a beautiful collection of Language songs and stories about the land, water, and animals of the Murray River people and Mallee people (Brendan's mother's people). The book is brimming with colour, illustrated with Brendan's digital artworks.

Watch a video of Brendan reading one of the stories from Wangilatha Wangu Kiyawatha

Ngangu biik: Hear, Understand Country, produced by Wurundjeri visual artist Mandy Nicholson and Elder Aunty Diane Kerr, was displayed on the Signal screens in Northbank, Melbourne from August 14 to 22, 2015. This multi-media experience showcased Wurundjeri's living culture through Elder Aunty Diane Kerr. This journey is depicted through projection imagery and audio of her Mother Tongue, Woiwurrung. This event also celebrated the unveiling of her ceremonial walert-walert (possum skin cloak).

Watch a video documentation of this artwork here.

paul john megan tentStorytelling

For thousands of years people from all around the world have looked to the night sky to connect with their creation stories, seasonal changes and navigation through land and the seas. Storytelling and the exchange of traditional cultural stories is a vehicle for cross-cultural understanding and celebration. Uncle Larry Walsh along with Koorie Community, Pacific Island Nations and members from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre put together a collection of galactic journeys which are part of an interactive sculpture 'Living Under the Stars' created by artist Keg De Souza. Imbedded in language, a selection of these stories are narrated by VACL staff Aunty Fay Stewart-Muir, Paul Paton and Mandy Nicholson.

Watch a video interpretation of 'Living Under the Stars'.

wawiFilm

The 2015 film 'Wawi', Directed by Michael Portway is in Dja Dja Wurrung language with English subtitles. Language worker and previous VACL Board Member Harley Dunolly-Lee worked as a language consultant on the film and assisted with translations in collaboration with Emeritus Professor Barry Blake.

Watch a short extract of Wawi.

 

theatreTheatre

Nathan Maynard, a Trawlwoolway Aboriginal playwright and dancer from Tasmania, participated in the Shearwater Short Tales project at the Biyadin Shearwater Festival 2015. He incorporated language into his presentation and showed short films about mutton-birding on Big Dog Island, a practice in which his family had been engaged for many generations. Nathan also facilitated a theatre-making workshop at the Festival based on his play ‘The Season’ which he had presented at ‘Yellamundie’ the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Playwrighting Festival in Sydney. Nathan’s great-grandfather was Mannalaganna, chief of the Troowolway clan and of the whole of the North East Tasmanian indigenous peoples. Nathan was the recipient of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Artist of the Year Award in 2006 and 2013.

Photo Credits:

Corey Theatre  source Corey Theatre Music

Living Connections  Lisa Kennedy

Shearwater Festival  Terry Melvin

Tanderrum  Emma Hutchinson

Djirri Djirri Dance Group Rachel Ramberg

Dulaiwurrung Mungka-nj-bulanj  Thornbury Primary School students

Bilgiri Gadini (Flood Waters)  Brendan Kennedy

Living Under the Stars installation at Bunjilaka  Emma Hutchinson

Wawi  film still source Melbourne International Film Festival

Mutton Birding  source Nathan Maynard

 

Published in Uncategorised
Thursday, 25 February 2016 13:24

Dhumba-djerring Language Networking Event

Last week VACL hosted a language networking event Dhumba-djerring (talk together, from the Boonwurrung language) in Fitzroy. Language workers from across Victoria gathered over two days to participate in workshops and discussions and to share their experiences of awakening language in their communities and schools. It was positive to see young people and some new faces at this event as more and more people gain confidence and interest in our languages. Among the presentations were Brendan Kennedy's lesson on morphology, Aunty Doris Paton speaking about policies and strategies which have shaped the teaching of language in schools, Harley-Dunolly-Lee sharing his experiences of working with the Dja Dja Wurrung on sounds and spellings, Kris Eira on the issues and considerations when creating community dictionaries and Jenny Gibson who introduced the group to VACL's presence on Victorian Collections online. On the Thursday evening Paul Paton, Mandy Nicholson and Joel Wright took part in a panel discussion with Gregory Phillips to a packed audience at the Wheeler Centre. 

Scroll down to see a video and images from Dhumba-djerring

For information on upcoming VACL presentations Reawakenings: the revival of Victorian Aboriginal languages click here

Published in Blog
Friday, 05 February 2016 11:59

Woi wurrung

Woi wurrung Digital Resources

On Monday the 20th of April 2015, VACL launched three interactive digital storybooks at Thornbury Primary School, featuring Creation Stories of the Wurundjeri People in both Woi wurrung and English. As part of the project 15 Indigenous students from Thornbury Primary School were selected to create illustrations and record narratives for the digital storybooks. The student’s creative use of language, art and technology has enabled the telling of Balayang Wurrgarrabil-u (Why Bats are Black), Dulaiwurrung Mungka-nj-bulanj (How the Platypus Was Made) and Gurrborra Nguba-nj Ngabun Baanj (Why the Koala doesn’t Drink Water) to a global audience.

Available on the App Store

Click the icon above to download the apps.

The Apps are available now for download at the App Store, for use on iPad, iPhone & iPod Touch.

 Teacher Resources

Woi wurrung Language Worker Mandy Nicholson is currently developing teacher resources which accompany these apps. Check back soon for updates, or contact Mandy Nicholson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call the VACL office on 9600 3811 for more details. 

guborra icon copydulaiwurrung icon copybalayang icon copy 

Published in Projects
Friday, 05 February 2016 11:18

Gunnai/Kurnai

Gunnai/Kurnai Digital Resources

A set of six Gunnai/Kurnai story books originally published in 2008 have been redeveloped into digital resources and released as six brand new Aboriginal language apps featuring Gunnai/Kurnai language of the Gunnai/Kurnai peoples of Gippsland in east Victoria. Launched on Monday 14th December 2015 at Dala Yooro Pre-School in Bairnsdale, the six interactive digital storybook apps feature traditional Gunnai/Kurnai Creation Stories including why Kowern the Echidna has spikes on his back and how Wurrin the Sun was made. These stories are supported by illustrations and narration from Gunnai/Kurnai community members and artists. Interactive digital story books are a great resource for children of all ages to develop reading and comprehension skills and can be used as part of a lesson plan or reading strategy and to help children learn spelling and pronunciation.

Available on the App Store

Click the icon above to download the apps.

The Apps are available now for download at the App Store, for use on iPad, iPhone & iPod Touch.

Teacher Resources

Doris Paton is currently preparing teacher's notes to accompany each app. Please check back soon for updates, or you can contact Emma Hutchinson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call the VACL office on 9600 3811 for further details. 

 

kowern icon copy      mermandho icon copy      nerran icon copy 

 towera icon copywurrin icon copybowkan icon copy

Published in Projects
Thursday, 04 February 2016 13:39

Gunditjmara

Gunditjmara Digital Resources

Students at Heywood & District Secondary College, Warrnambool Primary School, Merrivale Primary School and Warrnambool East Primary School have all contributed to a suite of six Aboriginal language apps featuring local Gunditjmara languages. Launched on the 26th October 2015, the six interactive digital storybook apps feature five traditional Gunditjmara Creation Stories and one original story about friendship and reconciliation, written by students at Warrnambool Primary School. With the support of key Gunditjmara Elders, Laka Gunditj Language Worker Joel Wright, Koorie Engagement Support Officers, principals, teachers and local artists, students have beautifully illustrated six stories and recorded narratives in four languages; Peek wurrung, Dhauwurd wurrung, Keerray woorroong and English.

Available on the App Store

Click the icon above to download the apps.

The Apps are available now for download at the App Store, for use on iPad, iPhone & iPod Touch.

 Teacher Resources

Laka Gunditj Language Worker Joel Wright has developed a series of teacher resources to accompany each app which explore the story in more detail and offer suggestions of classroom activities and topics for further discussion. Please take note of the cultural protocols for undertaking this work at your school. If you have any questions, please contact Joel Wright at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or call the VACL office on 9600 3811.

Click on the app icons to download a pdf of related teacher resources.

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 ween icon copy pitthirrit icon copykurok-ijar copy

Published in Projects

Representatives from First Languages Australia Paul Paton (Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages) and Daryn McKenny (Miromaa Aboriginal Language and Technology Centre) were in New York last week to take part in the United Nations 2016 expert group meeting on Indigenous Languages.

The meeting Indigenous Languages: preservation and revitalization (articles 13, 14 and 16 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples) was undertaken to build upon recommendations from the previous expert group meeting in 2008, focusing on the principles of cultural diversity and indigenous languages as a way to promote intercultural dialogue and affirm indigenous peoples identity. 

Both Paul and Daryn had the opportunity to speak at the meeting about the state of language revival in Australia and demonstrate projects and initiates which are making positive inroads into language revival and cultural strengthening. 

logo

To read more about the meeting click here

To find out more about the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues visit their website, facebook or twitter page

 

daryn and paul

"When we started to get our language back, we got our power back" - Daryn

Published in Blog

A set of six Gunnai/Kurnai story books originally published in 2008 have been redeveloped into digital resources and released as six brand new Aboriginal language apps featuring Gunnai/Kurnai language of the Gunnai/Kurnai peoples of Gippsland in east Victoria.

Launched on Monday 14th December 2015 at Dala Yooro Pre-School in Bairnsdale, the six interactive digital storybook apps feature traditional Gunnai/Kurnai Creation Stories including why Kowern the Echidna has spikes on his back and how Wurrin the Sun was made. These stories are supported by illustrations and narration from Gunnai/Kurnai community members and artists.

Interactive digital story books are a great resource for children of all ages to develop reading and comprehension skills and can be used as part of a lesson plan or reading strategy and to help children learn spelling and pronunciation.

The development of these digital resources will support language reclamation and revitalisation activities in Victorian schools and communities.

Read more about the project here

The Apps are available now for download at the App Store, for use on iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.

Available on the App Store

Published in Blog
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