Reanimating Wiradjuri language

Tuesday 6 May 2014

Image by Tim Amaro © Dr Stan GrantCharles Sturt University (CSU) students are working with Wiradjuri Elders to bring the Indigenous language to a new generation of speakers through animation.

"Animation has the potential to make learning language easier and to communicate it in dynamic and entertaining ways," said CSU PhD student Mr Bernard Sullivan.

Mr Sullivan has worked with Wiradjuri Elder Dr Stan Grant AM, animator Ms Pam Readford and CSU Animation and Visual Effects student Mr Tim Amaro to produce three language learning animations.

"Younger people will find this medium easier to understand, they will connect more to this kind of teaching and find learning languages a lot easier," said Mr Grant.

The short films are based on the songs of Dr Grant and Dr John Rudder and although they're targeted at young children are appropriate for anyone learning the language.

 "Traditionally Wiradjuri was a non-written language so the audio visual nature of animation is a good fit," said Mr Sullivan.

The project will be highlighted in an information session at the Australian International Animation Festival in Wagga Wagga from 3pm on Sunday 11 May.

The animations are being used in CSU's Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage and Mr Sullivan hopes they will become a resource for teaching Wiradjuri language in schools.

A Wagga based production company, Sharing and Learning, has been set up as the vehicle for these and future projects. 

"An important feature of the project is that it is based on close collaboration with the Wiradjuri elders, particularly Dr Grant, recognising that there is cultural learning and benefit taking place for all those involved," Mr Sullivan said.

The Wiradjuri language animations are part of Mr Sullivan's PhD research through the School of Communication and Creative Industries at CSU in Wagga Wagga, exploring how cultural wisdom can be understood and shared. Read more about Mr Sullivan's research here.

"Given the blemished history of creative industries in regard Indigenous cultures, the research is looking at best practice for engaging with the custodians of cultural knowledge and working collaboratively to share that in a respectful way," he said.

Read more about the Festival in CSU News here.


Media contact: Ms Emily Malone , (02) 6933 2207

Media Note:
The Reanimating Wiradjuri language session at the Australian International Animation Festival will be held on Sunday 11 May from 3pm at the Forum Cinema 6, Trail Street, Wagga Wagga; CSU academic and Festival co-director Mr Andrew Hagan and PhD student Mr Bernard Sullivan are available for interviews at CSU in Wagga Wagga at 12.30pm on Thursday 8 May. Contact CSU Media ; Photo: Balang, gaanha, bungangbu, burrami (Head, shoulders, knees and toes) Image by Tim Amaro © Dr Stan Grant.