Sparking young people’s interest is a crucial part of creating a deeper understanding of Victorian Aboriginal Language revival in the broader community. On February 23, Mandy presented a workshop to Year 9 students at Mount Scopus Memorial College in Burwood with a focus on language and culture. She explained her Woiwurrung language revival story which generated a lot of questions in relation to Aboriginal language and identity from the students. At the end of the workshop, Mandy taught the students how to sing "heads-shoulders-knees-and-toes" in the Woiwurrung language.

Ittay Flescher, Community Service and Achshav Coordinator at Mount Scopus Memorial College, had attended a VACL event at the State Library of Victoria and was keen to invite VACL to present a cultural program at their school. He described Mandy’s presentation as exceptional due to her “breadth of technical knowledge of the history and related issues, as well as her ability to relay their symbolic cultural significance to the students.” Ittay added that Mandy presented a very difficult history with both honesty and sensitivity, being inclusive and not alienating the audience of students.

Mandy was interested in hearing about the history of Hebrew language revival and the parallels with Victorian Aboriginal languages. Students at Mount Scopus Memorial College were appreciative of this opportunity to discuss language revival with Mandy. Drawing these parallels and discussing difficult history has a positive impact on young peoples’ cross-cultural awareness and understanding.

To see students singing in Woiwurrung click here

For digital resources in Woiwurrung language click here

Published in Blog

The Shearwaters are celebrated as symbols of local and global interconnectedness. This year, the Shearwater Festival focussed on ‘Connecting to Country’ providing opportunities to learn about Aboriginal culture and the environment and to develop a deeper understanding of place. The festival took place on 25, 26 and 27 of November in various locations across Phillip Island.

There was motion on the ocean Friday night but for those who braved the cold wind and swell it was an inspiring excursion as the festival began with a boat trip around Cape Woolamai to see thousands of Shearwaters at sunset getting ready to fly back to their rookeries with the days the catch.

A packed program of non-stop quality musicians took to the stage for Saturday’s concert on Churchill Island, including the award winning Kutcha Edwards who recently received the Melbourne Prize for Music which is awarded to a Victorian musician whose work has made an outstanding contribution to Australian music and has enriched cultural and public life. Kutcha also took time to share stories and speak with local community in the yarning circle.

Sunday saw the introduction of new events to this year’s festival including the Cape Woolamai Fun Run which aims to get the community out and see the habitat of the Shearwaters and to encourage healthy life styles and learning about nature.  The street parade, workshops, smoking ceremony, presentations and a twilight walk also took place on Sunday.

Preceding the Festival was the Shearwater Education Program which is facilitated in local schools and includes visits from artists, musicians, environmentalists and Community Elders and Respected Peoples. Linked to the Festival and the Education Program is the Cross-Cultural Message Exchange, in which artworks and messages are shared between artists, children and Indigenous Elders around the world.

Shearwater Festival website

Shearwater Festival on facebook

Scroll down to see an image gallery from this years festival

Published in Blog

Paul Paton, Aunty Fay Stewart-Muir, Mathew Gardiner and Kris Eira travelled to Kalgoorlie for the 2016 WANALA Aboriginal Languages Conference, hosted by the Western and Northern Aboriginal Languages Alliance. The conference is for people in Aboriginal language centres, language projects, schools with Aboriginal language courses, Aboriginal language speakers and anyone involved in language work or who wishes to learn more about the work being undertaken on Aboriginal language preservation and use. The conference carried the theme of Building Resilience: Identity, intellect and the role of languages and was held at the Goldfields Aboriginal Language Centre, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, 16-18 June.

As part of the program, Kris presented our new holistic language planning tool Tyama-ngan, koong meerreeng watnanda, malayeetoo (We know, body and country together, long time). This comes in the form of a beautiful poster with the core concepts expressed through the artwork of Vicki Couzens, and an associated workshop. It is the most recent output of the Meeting Point - Language Typology Project. It expands on principles explored in Peetyawan weeyn, with more detail and breadth. Paul also gave a presentation on behalf of First Languages Australia.

Scroll down to watch a documentary film with conference participants

To learn more about WANALA click here

To purchase Tyama-ngan, koong meerreeng watnanda, malayeetoo poster click here

For more information on the Meeting Point - Language Typology Project click here

 

Published in Blog
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
Thursday, 26 November 2015 14:45

Biyadin: Shearwater Festival 2015

Caring for Country

sunset boat tour

The Boon Wurrung word for the short-tailed shearwater is Biyadin. The bird is also known as Yolla, Muttonbird, Moonbird and Ardenna Tenuirostris. The shearwaters have deep cultural significance for the Boon Wurrung people, having brought the community together for thousands of years for feasts, gatherings and ceremonies, on what is now called Phillip Island. 

The fourth Shearwater Festival was held on November 21st & 22nd, an annual creative, cultural and environmental event which brings Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members together to celebrate the return of the short-tailed shearwaters from their 15,000 kilometre migration. The shearwaters are celebrated as symbols of local and global interconnectedness. 

This year's festival included a street parade, workshops, performances and guided walks and talks to the shearwater rookeries. The festival warmly welcomed members of refugee communities who now live in Australia, featuring a special concert 'Womin djeka Africa' (Welcome Africa) in which African and Indigenous performers collaborated in performance, art, music and song. 

Preceding the festival is the Shearwater Education Program which is facilitated in local schools and includes visits from artists, musicians, environmentalists and Indigenous Elders. Linked to the festival and education program is the Cross-Cultural Message Exchange, in which artworks and messages are shared between artists, children and Indigenous Elders around the world. This year's festival featured Indigenous artists and community leaders from First Nations in Canada and the USA.

Shearwater Festival

Shearwater Press Sentinel-Times 2015 Shearwater Press 2015  Shearwater Press photos 2015

Scroll down to see images from this year's festival and a film titled 'Interwoven', concieved by Rachel Mounsey, commissioned by the Shearwater Festival and featuring poetry by Taungurung artist Mick Harding and Adnyamathanha Elder Uncle Dennis Seymour.

Published in Projects
Friday, 30 October 2015 10:49

New Language Revival Factsheets

Introduced at the Puliima National Indigneous Language and Technology Forum 2015, the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages has produced this series of factsheets to support communities working to revive their languages. These factsheets reflect what we learned from the Meeting Point Project, which was run between 2008 and 2014. In that project, we focussed on the ways revival languages are being brought back into communities by Elders, language workers and language activists. All the fact sheets are about these newly living languages, brought from the past into the present and future. We are grateful to the people who have agreed to share examples of their languages with you in this way. We especially thank our case study language programs: Wiradjuri (Parkes program), Butchulla (Hervey Bay), Keerray Woorroong (Warrnambool), Wathaurong (Geelong program), Gumbaynggirr (Nambucca Heads) and Gunai/Kurnai (Gippsland).

There are four different types of factsheets. Each one focuses on just one topic for language revival.

Methods: How people do the work (includes workshops)

Practice: Ideas for using language (includes workshops)

Principles: What's it all for? (includes ideas for discussion)

Pathways: Language journeys (includes ideas for discussion)

To download the factsheets individually, or as a full set, visit our website here

Published in Blog
Friday, 23 October 2015 15:10

Meeting Point Factsheets

Language Revival Factsheets

The Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages has produced this series of factsheets to support communities working to revive their languages. These factsheets reflect what we learned from the Meeting Point Project, which was run between 2008 and 2014. In that project, we focussed on the ways revival languages are being brought back into communities by Elders, language workers and language activists. All the fact sheets are about these newly living languages, brought from the past into the present and future. We are grateful to the people who have agreed to share examples of their languages with you in this way. We especially thank our case study language programs: Wiradjuri (Parkes program), Butchulla (Hervey Bay), Keerray Woorroong (Warrnambool), Wathaurong (Geelong program), Gumbaynggirr (Nambucca Heads) and Gunai/Kurnai (Gippsland).

There are four different types of factsheets. Each one focuses on just one topic for language revival. 

Click on individual factsheets to download individual pdfs or to download the whole series click here.

Methods: How people do the work (includes workshops)

1. WORDS IN ENGLISH  2. MAKING A TRANSLATION  3. DICTIONARIES AND WORDLISTS  4. EXPLORING DEEPER MEANINGS IN WORDS

WordsInEnglish-1

    MakingATranslation-1    DictionariesAndWordlists-1    ExploringDeeperMeaningInWords-1

 

Practice: Ideas for using language (includes workshops)

1. EVERYDAY LANGUAGE (Written contexts)  2. SIGNS  3. SONGS  4. WELCOME TO COUNTRY

EverydayLanguage-1    Signs-1    Songs-1    WelcomeToCountry-1

 

Principles: What's it all for? (includes ideas for discussion)

1. LANGUAGE IS CULTURE  2. HEALING  3. OLD INTO NEW  4. 'GETTING IT RIGHT'  5. GRAMMAR PATHWAYS  6. USING LINGUISTICS

LanguageIsCulture-1    Healing-1    OldIntoNew-1    GettingItRight-1

GrammarPathways-1    UsingLinguistics-1

 

Pathways: Language journeys (includes ideas for discussion)

1. STAGES AND PROCESSES  2. LANGUAGE REVIVAL IS A JOURNEY

StagesAndProcesses-1    LanguageRevivalIsAJourney-1

 

To learn more about the Meeting Point Project click here

 

 

Published in Projects
The third Shearwater Festival held on Phillip Island on November 22 and 23 brought the community together in a creative, cultural and environmental celebration of the short tailed shearwaters. The Festival involved school children and families as well as Indigenous and non-Indigenous creative artists, musicians and Elders.

The two-day Festival began on Saturday morning with a colourful Street Parade along Thompson Avenue in Cowes, led by Indigenous Elders and artists and a shearwater puppet with a seven-metre wingspan. The ‘Moon Bird’ puppet had been made by Artist-in-Residence Annie Edney. Following the bird were drummers, percussionists and singers along with different kinds of sea creature puppets made and carried by local school children in the Shearwater Education Program.

The Street Parade made its way down to the Cowes Foreshore where Senior Boon Wurrung Elder Aunty Carolyn Briggs, welcomed people to her Country with a smoking ceremony. A group of Indigenous dancers and local Indigenous school children called Baarny Bupap (Water Babies) performed traditional Creation Dances and a Shearwater Dance choreographed especially for the occasion by Steve Parker and Lowell Hunter.

There were opening speeches from the CEO of the auspicing organisation, the Victorian Aboriginal Corpiration for Languages, Mr Paul Paton. The newly appointed mayor of the Bass Coast Shire Council, Mayor Kimberley Brown also spoke. Phillip Island Nature Park Board Member, Stephen Davie and Bruce Procter from the San Remo Bendigo Bank also expressed their appreciation in being involved of the Festival.

On Saturday afternoon there were creative and cultural workshops at the Cowes Cultural Centre. They included singing and dancing workshops, Indigenous story-telling and an opportunity to learn to play the gumleaf with well-known Aboriginal Elder, Uncle Herb Patten. A participative ritual performance facilitated by local dance teacher, Tony Norquay completed the day.
In the early evening, Graeme Burgan, Senior Education Ranger at the Phillip Island Nature Park, conducted an environmental talk on the latest research on the shearwater birds at the Cape Woolamai Surf Life Saving Club. He led dusk and dawn walks at Cape Woolamai to see the shearwaters return at dusk and take off at dawn from their rookeries.
 
The Sunday Concert at the Cowes Cultural Centre was filled to capacity. It featured high profile musicians Kutcha Edwards, Archie Roach, Yirrmal and the Yolngu Boys, Marcia Howard and Rose Bygrave and members of the Deep Listening Band and Friends, Steve Sedergreen, Mike Jordan, Ron Murray, ToK Norris and Uncle Herb Patten. Archie Roach, much loved Indigenous musician received a standing ovation at the end of the concert.

The Shearwater Festival is auspiced by the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation of Languages and sponsored by the Bass Coast Shire in partnership with Phillip Island Nature Park and ABC Gippsland. The Bendigo Bank and Ramahyuck District Aboriginal Corporation also contributed support to the Festival this year.
The Shearwater Festival 2015 is scheduled for the 28th  and 29th  November 2015
Published in Blog
Thursday, 20 November 2014 17:01

Barriers to Education

Welcome to the classroom of Aunty Fay and Mandy, where you won’t hear a word of English!

 

This week at Federation Square, Save the Children hosted a variety of workshops to highlight some the difficult situations faced by children all around the world, including sanitation, war and conflict and inadequate school facilities. VACL staff Aunty Fay Stewart-Muir and Mandy Nicholson teamed up with Save the Children to highlight some of the barriers faced by children when it comes to education.

 

In this workshop, students stepped into a classroom taught by a teacher who was speaking a language they didn't understand, in this case either Woi Wurrung or Boon Wurrung, and asked if they had any idea what was going on. This prompted the kids to contemplate many questions, including - do you think if you came to school everyday, and you couldn't understand what the teacher was saying, would you want to go to school? Would you feel confused? How can this problem be solved? What could make it easier?

 

This lesson was one well learned by the children who were really responsive to the exercise offering insightful and thoughtful responses to these challenges.

 

These issues are universal and relate to children overseas, children coming to Australia and Indigenous children in Australia whose 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th language is English.

 

Congratulations to Save the Children staff and volunteers, teachers and children from a variety of Primary and Secondary schools across Melbourne, VACL staff Mandy and Aunty Fay, and all others involved, for a very worthwhile event. 

 

 

Published in Blog
Thursday, 16 October 2014 11:06

They're Back!

Countdown to Shearwater Festival

Shearwater Festival 2014, November 22 and 23 November, Phillip Island

 

The shearwater birds have arrived back from on Phillip Island after their 15,000 kilometres migration from the Bering Sea near Alaska. Phillip Island’s third Shearwater Festival is gearing up to welcome them home and celebrate their safe return. The Shearwater Festival is a creative, cultural and environmental initiative which brings communities together to celebrate the migration of the short-tailed shearwaters.

 

This year’s Shearwater Festival will be held on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd November, with an Education Program in local schools preceding it. The Shearwater Festival involves school children, creative artists, musicians, Indigenous Elders, community members and visitors. The short-tailed shearwaters are celebrated as symbols of creative, cultural and environmental interconnectedness.

 

A Shearwater Hub has been established at Phillip Island Community and Learning Centre (PICAL) in Cowes. Over the next six weeks, Annie Edney, the Artist-in-Residence for the Shearwater Festival will be making a large nest and a giant shearwater, ‘Mama Moonbird’ who will be leading the Street Parade down Thompson Ave in Cowes at 11.00am on Saturday 22nd November. Mama Moonbird will be accompanied by lanterns and puppets and made by local school children, artists and community members.

 

Annie Edney is a well-known artist and facilitator of community events who used to live on Phillip Island. Annie was involved in designing Festivals and Street Parades on the Island twenty years ago.

In the weeks leading up to the Festival, Annie has an Open Studio every Monday at PICAL from 11.00am to 1.00pm at the Shearwater Hub (Room 2 in the Garden House, 56-58 Church St, Cowes). Community members are welcome to pop in and see Annie at work and learn how to make a bamboo lantern or puppet themselves.

 

PICAL is having an Open Day on Sunday 2nd November from 10am – 2.00pm. The Shearwater Hub will be open for visitors that day as well. The Shearwater Festival Working Group is delighted to have the Shearwater Hub located in the heart of the vibrant community activities at PICAL.

 

The two-day Shearwater Festival begins on Saturday morning 22nd November with a colourful Street Parade along Thompson Avenue in Cowes and will feature Mama Moon Bird, sea creature puppets made and carried by local school children, music and dance and the Bass Coast Boogie Band.

 

The Street Parade will make its way down Thompson Avenue to the Cowes Foreshore where a group of Indigenous dancers and local Indigenous school children will perform a dance choreographed especially for the event. Senior Boon Wurrung Elder Aunty Carolyn Briggs will officially welcome people to Boon Wurrung Country with a smoking ceremony.

 

On Saturday afternoon there will be creative and cultural workshops and performances at the Cowes Cultural Centre. These include singing, dancing and drumming workshops, Indigenous story-telling and an opportunity to learn to play the gumleaf with well-known Aboriginal Elder, Uncle Herb Patten. A participative ritual and performance completes the day. 

 

In the early evening, Graeme Burgan, Senior Education Ranger at the Phillip Island Nature Park, will conduct an environmental talk on the latest research on the shearwater birds at the Cape Woolamai Surf Life Saving Club. He will also lead dusk and dawn walks at Cape Woolamai to see the shearwaters return at dusk and take off at dawn from their rookeries.

 

The Sunday Concert at the Cowes Cultural Centre on Sunday 23rd November will feature high profile Indigenous musicians Archie Roach, Kutcha Edwards and Yirrmal and the Yolngu Boys as well as members of the Deep Listening Band and Friends, Steve Sedergreen, Mike Jordan, Ron Murray, Rob Bundle, Marcia Howard and Rose Bygrave.

 

Tickets for the Shearwater Festival 2014 can be purchased on-line at www.shearwaterfestival.com.au Tickets for the Saturday workshops and performances are $20. The Welcome Home Concert on Sunday is $30. All proceeds from the tickets goes to the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation of Languages, an organisation dedicated to language revival, cultural regeneration and the celebration of Aboriginal culture.

 

In 2013, the Shearwater Festival was awarded the Tidy Towns Sustainable Communities Awards for Community Action Leadership.The Shearwater Festival is auspiced by the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation of Languages and sponsored by the Bass Coast Shire in partnership with Phillip Island Nature Park. The Bendigo Bank, RamahyuckDistrict Aboriginal Corporation and Ramada Resort Phillip Island are also contributing support to the Festival this year.

 

 

For further information about the Shearwater Festival, go to

www.facebook.com/shearwaterfestival

www.shearwaterfestival.com.au

 

Or contact

Shearwater Festival Working Group Representative

Dr Laura Brearley       This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 0434 596 800

Resources

You can see short films about previous Festivals …

Shearwater Festival 2012 https://vimeo.com/58521654

Shearwater Festival 2013 https://vimeo.com/82049856

You can hear Education Ranger Graeme Burgan from the Phillip Island Nature Park talking about the short-tailed shearwaters on http://www.abc.net.au/local/audio/2011/10/06/3333621.htm

 

Published in Blog
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