Race, religion & identity
The Wheeler Centre
Pass it On: Preserving Australian Indigenous Languages
From left: Daniel Browning, Vicki Couzens, Fay Stewart-Muir, Aaron Fa'aoso, Kelrick Martin and Brendan Kennedy, with Auslan interpreter — Photo: Jon Tjhia
‘Budgerigar’, ‘quandong’, ‘Torana’, ‘Canberra’ – there are many Aboriginal words in everyday use by both non-Indigenous and Indigenous Australians. What do we gain from knowing and learning First Nations words? And how can we embed more traditional language into the daily lives of all Australians?
At least 250 Indigenous Australian languages were spoken on this continent in 1788. Today only around 120 Indigenous languages are spoken in homes and most of these are considered endangered. For many years, elders have been working hard to document, share and promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island languages across the country. But in the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages there’s an especially strong momentum building around this issue.
In this conversation, hosted by Daniel Browning, our panellists including Kelrick Martin, Aaron Fa'aoso, Vicki Couzens, Brendan Kennedy and Aunty Fay Stewart-Muir discuss campaigns across the country to revitalise and celebrate Indigenous languages. They talk about the utility, beauty and knowledge contained within both traditional and modern, changing languages – and the efforts to recognise and preserve them.
Looking for Auslan? Check out the video of this event.
The Wheeler Centre
Double Booked Club: Melanie Cheng and Omar Sakr
Khalid Warsame, Melanie Cheng and Omar Sakr at the Wheeler Centre
Omar Sakr and Melanie Cheng are two very different voices with very different styles, but over the past few years both have blasted welcome fresh air into the Australian literary scene.
Melanie Cheng is a GP as well as a writer and her debut short-story collection, Australia Day, won the 2018 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction. Her new book, Room for a Stranger, is a novel set in Melbourne, about the unlikely friendship between an older woman and a young student from Hong Kong.
Omar Sakr's second book of poetry, The Lost Arabs, has been described as a 'seething, urgent collection' about sexuality, divinity and redemption. His debut collection, These Wild Houses, was critically acclaimed and shortlisted for several awards including the Kenneth Slessor Prize.
Hosted by Khalid Warsame, the pair discuss their work at a lunchtime session.
SAIGON: Between Life and History
People – families – of diaspora carry the traces of change: new circumstances, different languages, uncertainty and often trauma. How do the ghosts of history and geography affect the everyday experiences and identities of people today? And what happens when the places where your parents and grandparents lived no longer exist – or you don’t share a language with your parents…
The Fifth Estate
Tom Porteous on Strategy and Stalemate in Yemen
Tom Porteous is a former journalist for the Guardian and the BBC, and an expert on global conflict management and resolution. Over the last five years, in his role as deputy program director at Human Rights Watch, he’s seen the war in Yemen escalate to become the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
March marks the five-year anniversary of the Yemen conflict…
People’s Republic of Comedy
Over the past decade, comedy in China has exploded in popularity. Online celebrities, large venues and popular skit TV shows have proliferated around the country to meet the rising demand. In partnership with the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, we're bringing together a panel of Chinese comics and producers to discuss the rapidly evolving Chinese comedy scene and what it means…
Double Booked Club
Mirandi Riwoe and Arnold Zable
For this edition of Double Booked Club, we’ll bring together two celebrated Australian authors whose latest books each hold exile, injustice and the meeting of cultures close to their hearts.
Mirandi Riwoe’s Stone Sky Gold Mountain evokes goldfields-era Australia, telling the story of two Chinese siblings who arrive in rural Queensland seeking fortune. Instead, they find themselves entangled in suspicion…
Anything and everything in Race, religion & identity from across our archives.
The Interrobang: A Festival of Questions
Will the world be a safer place when more women occupy positions of power? Rukmini Callimachi and Anne Summers
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