Reading the signs...I can recognise the positive collaboration between Noongar & Wedjela - Prof Len Collard

Noongar words here
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About The Project

Place Names in Langford – Culturally mapping boodja and wangkiny

Community Arts Network (CAN) has a 30-year history of nurturing community arts and cultural development (CACD) practice and delivering artistic excellence with and for communities. We provide a platform that gives creative voice to authentic, diverse and underrepresented stories that have the power to transform communities and challenge assumptions and stereotypes.

Commencing in 2017, Place Names is a five-year arts and language project being delivered in collaboration with local communities across Noongar Country. Place Names builds on Professor Len Collard’s well-established Placenames research; which explores the ‘symbiotic relationship between Noongar language and place that informed Noongar worldview and that eventually merged with and continues to inform Wedjela worldview.’

CAN’s Place Names project takes Professor Collard’s research to community through place naming workshops held in the early stages of community consultation and project development. These early discussions form the basis for knowledge building, creative exploration and expression, facilitated by professional artists in community. The creative outcomes are celebrated and shared with the wider community at the completion of each stage of the project and documented to ensure the legacy for future generations.

Place Names is a Community Arts Network Project supported through the Australian Government’s Indigenous Languages and Arts program, The Australia Council for the Arts and Principal Partner Moodjar Consultancy

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Project Team

Place Names is facilitated by CAN Project Coordinators in multiple communities and is supported and informed by a diverse group of knowledge sharers that includes academics, traditional owners and artists, to mention a few.

In Langford, CAN brought together Co-Director of Moodjar Consultancy Professor Len Collard, Cultural Advisor Aunty Geri Hayden and artist Susie Vickery to explore the intersection of Noongar language, local knowledge and artistry. The Project was facilitated by CAN Project Coordinator Natalie Scholtz.

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Education Resources

Click through our audio and visual resources to learn more about place naming in Langford, Western Australia

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Community Involvement

In Langford, Community Arts Network was invited to partner with Langford Aboriginal Association to develop the creative and artistic skills of emerging artists at the Langford Aboriginal Centre. Through a series of arts development workshops, the group drew upon Professor Len Collard’s Placenames research whilst exploring themes of culture, language, history, identity and sense of place using textiles. Through these workshops, more than thirteen participants have both deepened their understanding of Noongar boodja (land), wangkiny (language) and katitjiny (knowledge) and using Professor Collard’s knowledge, research and skills to facilitate the participants’ understanding and meaning of place naming in the local area.

‘Working on this project has been the most inspiring and exciting experience for me. I have never worked on something like this before, and was unsure of the outcome. The finished product absolutely blew my mind’
– Linda Carlsson (Place Names Whadjuk participant, 29 May 2018)

Renowned textile artist Susie Vickery participated in the local women’s art and yarning circle held regularly  at the Langford Aboriginal Association, where women shared their memories and knowledge of Langford and place naming. Susie responded creatively, sharing metres of recycled denim, mixed textiles and a range of tapestry techniques including specialised embroidery, stitching, and applique skills.

The local artists, already skilled in painting, embarked on a meditative process of stitching a large collaborative topographic tapestry map inspired by the local area and sense of place; its significant flora and fauna, important natural resources, built areas over laying the land; and the connection to country embedded within culture and community life.

The textile  map, a contemporary interpretation of land since settlement, was further deepened by the voice of Aunty Geri Hayden who shared  a Dreamtime story specific to waterways that link up with the Bannister Creek running through Langford. The final artwork is a carefully considered stitching together of two worlds of understanding, and a representation of place both past and present.

‘Our creative gathering place. Our welcoming place, where we all come together to share knowledge from the elders to the young, strengthening all our hearts and keeping our spirits strong… our creating place is where our art and yarning becomes so much more. We build unique relationships with many taking us on new journeys.. Our gathering place lets us grow, strengthen and heal at our own pace. Sharing stories with so many brings us joy and keeps us going stronger too.’
– Nerolie Bynder-Blurton (LAA Coordinator of Place Names, 5th June 2018)

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Related News

Articles and interviews related to place naming in the south west of Australia

What place names reveal


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Setting the record straight


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Introducing 'Noongarpedia'


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Community Arts Network

Australia’s longest running and leading community arts and cultural development organisation

Our vision is for a just, diverse and resilient society fuelled by imagination and creativity.
Our purpose is to grow resilient communities through arts and creativity.
Our values are:

RESPECT – We honour the inherent worth of all people, cultures and environment
SOCIAL EQUITY– We believe everyone deserves the opportunity to engage, participate and flourish
RESILIENCE – we foster connectedness for strong, thriving communities.
CREATIVITY – we create art that inspires the sharing of culture and identity.

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CAN
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Location

Land before settlement

Put your mind back to the early days of our old people when they used to roam the land before settlement. The land was lush and green and full of wonderful creatures. The land was beautiful and very rich. The land was the rivers and the waterways – Geri Hayden.

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Place naming in your community

Contact CAN or further information about this project or to register your interest in a CAN project near you

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