First Nations Wisdom Circle
Kirli SaundersArtistic/Poetic Mentor
Kirli Saunders is a proud Gunai Woman and award-winning multidisciplinary artist and consultant. An experienced speaker and facilitator, advocating for marginalised communities and care for country, Kirli was the NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year (2020). In 2022, she was awarded an OAM for the contribution to literature.
Her celebrated books include The Incredible Freedom Machines (2018, Scholastic), Kindred (2019, Magabala), Bindi (2020, Magabala) and Our Dreaming (Scholastic 2022). Kirli is currently developing her solo play, Going Home commissioned by Playwriting Australia and her second poetry collection, Returning (Magabala 2023), which showcases works from her recent art exhibition and was supported by AUSCO.
Kirli was a lead artist with Kamsani Bin Salleh on TRACES for VIVID, a digital installation supported by Magabala Books, Google and Sydney Opera. Her art has been commissioned for public works with government and multinational organisations. Kirli is a board member for Merrigong Theatre.
Daryn McKennyLanguage Mentor
Daryn McKenny is co-founder of Miromaa Aboriginal Language & Technology Centre. He is a passionate Aboriginal person and proudly acknowledges his traditional heritage to the Gamilaraay and Wiradjuri nations. Born and raised on Awabakal country on the east coast of NSW, Australia, his journey in languages commenced with leading a community-based reclamation of the Awabakal language.
In 2004, this journey changed with the need to find ways to empower Aboriginal people to be further at the forefront of keeping our languages safe. He turned to technology and created a computer application aptly titled ‘Miromaa’. This word loosely translates to mean: “to save, to protect, to stop from further loss”. That became his journey – to assist Indigenous people where ever they are to stop their language from further loss through the empowerment of technology. Today, Daryn and Miromaa are internationally recognised, and this small Aboriginal organisation has been called upon to support language conservation around the world, providing support to 150-plus languages in Australia and the Torres Strait, and over 100 languages throughout the rest of the world with the majority of these in North America.
Daryn is also the founder of the Puliima National Indigenous Language & Technology Conference, which has been held in Australia since 2007.
He is a founding director of First Languages Australia and a former Advisory Circle member for the Institute on Collaborative Language Research (CoLang) in the US.
His passion today is how we can continue to be empowered with technology to allow us to save our languages, which will, in turn, help us continue to care for our country. Language is the gateway that will allow us to understand that. It is the key.
Appointed to the Red Room Poetry Board in 2020.
Gulwanyang MoranLanguage Mentor
Gulwanyang Moran is a proud Birrbay and Dhanggati woman of the Gathang language group who is active in her cultural practice and language. A custodian of her sovereign nations, Gulwanyang is grounded in her connection to her countries and through her practice in women’s lore. A dynamic leader and facilitator with a passion for languages and cultures, Gulwanyang is qualified and experienced in research, media, advisory and educational leadership. Gulwanyang often provokes a reflection of power through her story sharing and reflecting on power, operationalising principles of Indigenous data sovereignty and Indigenous data governance, she believes, is vital in evaluative thinking and approach that impact/benefit First Nations peoples. Gulwanyang loves connecting with other thought leaders and collaborating on projects that speak to the strength of First Nations cultures, languages, and peoples.
We thank the First Nations Wisdom Circle for their guidance and support with our Truth and Reconciliation Pledge