Poetry in First Languages founder, Kirli Saunders attended the National Indigenous Languages Convention,  Feb 23, 2018 to explore technology and innovation in language conservation.

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(c) Tad Souden for Red Room Poetry 2018

Poetry in First Languages

Due to the dispossession and relocation of her family, Kirli was not raised with strong cultural and language learning. As a response, she developed the Poetry in First Languages (PIFL) project to be delivered by Red Room Poetry from 2018-2020. 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. The focus is to strengthen the connection of First Nations students to country, language and community in order to support students to feel pride in their cultural identities resulting in enhanced wellbeing overall.

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), Joel Deaves (Gumea Dharawal) Lyndsay Urquhart (Koori), Kirli Saunders (Gunai), Joel Davison (Gadigal), DJ Terra Nullius, Rheanna Lotter (Yuin), Allan Giddy, David Cragg, Wesley McLeod, Jan Levy, Luke Close, Josh Brown (Woremi), Vikki Parsley (Dhurga), Wayne Knight (Barkindji), Kevin Knight (Barkindji), Elaine Lomas (Wiradjuri).

Workshops & events

In 2019, PIFL will expand, reaching QLD and NT communities, as well as revisiting Gadigal, Dharawal and Gundungurra Country.

Poetry in First Languages is supported by UNESCO, Australia Council for the Arts, Create NSW, Copyright Agency Cultural Fund, Wollongong City Council, City of Sydney, Wingecarribee Shire Council, AIME, ABC, Harper Collins, First Languages Australia, Miromaa, Royal Botanical Gardens, NSW Art Gallery, Black&Write! and Bundanon Trust.

Watch the Poetry in First Languages Video here.

Support the project

Find out more at Red Room Poetry.