Poetry in First Languages-Dharawal Workshop-2019-Image-Red Room Poetry-Tad Souden

Irriti ngurra Warumpila ngayulu nyinapayi.
A long time ago, I lived on the land of my people, Warumpi.
~ from 'Ngurrparringu (Forgotten)' by Matthew Heffernan

Celebrating the International Year of Indigenous Languages 

With the International Year of Indigenous Languages at an end, we're grateful for all of our poets, Elders, Language Custodians and partners who have helped  Poetry in First Languages strengthen cultural connections and voices across the country.

Delivered by Red Room Poetry and developed by Gunai poet Kirli Saunders, the Poetry in First Languages (PIFL) project 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 to empower pride in their cultural identities resulting in enhanced wellbeing. 

With your support, our 2019 highlights include:

  • 395 First Nations students engaged in 39 workshops
  • 116 student poems published in 6 Languages
  • 64 poems commissioned in 11 Languages
  • 50 employment opportunities for Elders, Custodians, Poets, Artists and Educators
  • 30+ generous partners and supporters
  • 200,000+ community members reached with poems performed at festivals nationally and published on buses, murals, in waterways and more

Read the 2019 report

Contributing Elders, Language Custodians & artists

Ellen Van Neerven (Mununjali Yugambeh), Matthew Heffernan (Pintupi-Luritja), Melanie Mununggurr Williams (Djapu), Declan Furber Gillick (Arrernte), Nicholas Paton (Ngunawal), Ethan Bell (Ngunawal), Nicole Smede (Woremi), Kirli Saunders (Gunai), Aunty Sharyn Halls (Gundungurra), Aunty Trish Levett (Gundungurra), Jacob Morris (Gumea Dharawal), Aunty Jodi Edwards (Yuin), Paul Collis (Barkindji), Joel Davison (Gadigal), David Cragg (Bundjalung), Allan Giddy.

Partners & supporters

  • Artbank

  • Nelson Meers Foundation

  • Magabala Books

  • ACT Association for the Teaching of English

  • Aboriginal Health TV

  • Reconciliation NSW

  • Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

  • Urban Theatre Projects

  • Aboriginal Affairs NSW

  • Australia Council for the Arts

  • Create NSW

  • Copyright Agency Cultural Fund

  • Department of Planning, Industry & Environment NSW

  • Bundanon Trust

  • Wingecarribee Shire Council

  • TorchMedia

  • NT Writers' Centre

  • Queensland Poetry Festival

  • Merrigong Theatre Company

  • Wollongong City Council

  • Miromaa Language & Technology Centre

  • National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy (NASCA)

  • Art Gallery of NSW

  • Reconciliation Australia