More to the point

I’m back home in Sydney after the Making Links conference and reflecting on some of the great things I learned about. A couple that may be of interest to readers of this blog are:

The Home Lands Project. Coordinator Kirsty Baird gave a great presentation on this internet TV project, which seeks to link young people from refugee communities in Australia with their homeland communities by making TV programs about themselves, on the premise that such connections build stability for young people settling in a new country. They are working with two communities in their pilot project – Karen and Sudanese. Young people from both communities in Melbourne have already started making programs, and young Karen in a refugee camp on the Burma/Thai border have also started. The project is still trying to establish links with a suitable Sudanese community back in Africa – they are looking in Southern Sudan, Kenyan Kakuma refugee camp, and Sudanese communities in Egypt. Wish them luck, it’s a great intitiative for which I can see loads of potential down the track, in linking many communities of different diasporas. Including, perhaps, mixed kids? Who needs Fox studios anyway?

The other initiative I want to mention is Africa on Screen. This link doesn’t give you a lot of recent info about it, but I think it’s a group of film-makers that formed after some Sierra Leone journalists made a  film in Australia – Darkness over Paradise – with footage they’d smuggled out of their country during the conflict. Bouyed by film-making tuition at Information and Cultural Exchange, a growing group of Africans in Sydney, from a wider range of countries, have been making more films. One, Colourblind, was screened at the Making Links conference digital arts festival. It was a moving short film about how racism can affect even people who are blind. It’s told entirely without words; very effective.

And finally, I didn’t get to finish my last post about the Aboriginal language Awabakal – just wanted to tell you that apparently the clergyman who wrote down the language in the 19th century was a Yorkshireman – and so when the community was trying to figure out how it would have been pronounced, they had to get in a linguist to ‘de-yorkshire’ it before they could proceed any further. Made me laugh – also made the token Yorkshireman who was at the conference laugh when I told him about it. So I leave you with this thought: how many other languages have been the victim of accent attack?

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