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
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
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.
The First Peoples exhibition at Melbourne Museum won global recognition by taking out top honours in the American Alliance of Museums' Excellence in Exhibition Competition.
‘First Peoples’ is the largest exhibition to focus on Aboriginal Victoria, telling the story of over 40 Aboriginal language groups.
“What makes this exhibition stand out is the way in which the Museum has worked with Aboriginal communities from across Victoria and beyond to create a truly memorable experience” said Museum Victoria’s CEO Dr Patrick Greene.
VACL is honoured to have been heavily involved in the redevelopment of this permanent exhibition space at the Bunjilaka Cultural Centre, Melbourne Museum.
To read more about the award, click here
To learn more about First Peoples at Bunjilaka, click here
VACL Executive Officer Paul Paton was a guest speaker at Melbourne Mueseum’s 2013 Knowledge Week program. He discussed VACL’s close ties with Indigenous communities and the expert team at Bunjilaka Cultural Centre, and how these conversations have been so integral to the success of the First People’s exhibition. Paul also explained the role of languages in sustaining communities and how the language revival process is gathering momentum in Victoria.
Photographic artist and educator Wendy Ewald visited VACL on October 15th 2013. She was in town for her exhibition presented by Melbourne Festival and the Centre for Contemporary Photography, and came to learn about VACL’s language work across the state. VACL Project Officer Mandy Nicholson explained VACL’s close connection to the First People’s exhibition at Bunjilaka in Melbourne Museum, and got to hear some of Wendy’s stories behind the beautiful images in her book American alphabet.