In 2020-2021 I am working on a project involving a combined exploration of language and letters.
My family moved to Australia when I was 3 years old. One of the earliest racial stereotypes I experienced was that because immigrants couldn’t or had trouble speaking English, it meant we were stupid. To prove people wrong, I made it a priority to speak and write English fluently. Regretfully, as part of the process of assimilating, I spent the majority of my childhood disowning my Filipino roots and unlearning my mother-tongue.
Blacktown’s 395,000 residents speak over 180 languages between us, and many of these languages have words that contain so much meaning and power that there is no English equivalent. With the support of the Blacktown City Council 2020 Creative Arts Grant, I would like to capture some of these words — and, perhaps more importantly, a story behind them —and develop an illustrated anthology/short-story collection.
By working on this project, I’m hoping to recapture something of what I’ve lost and encourage people to explore and retain the richness and power of our different languages.
If you would like to suggest a word from a language you know or would like to be involved in this project, please get in touch with me using the form below. I would love to hear your story.
As this project seeks to highlight untold stories from my local area, I especially encourage submissions from people who come from/grew up in or currently live in the Darug Nation (Blacktown City).
What will be involved?
I will get in touch to arrange an introductory conversation to better understand your history and connection with the language/dialect you would like to contribute to this project, and term(s) or phrase(s) we can explore. Between Jan-May 2021 we will organise an interview where we can explore the topic of language, identity and culture, and your experience of speaking or learning another language in your local community.
You can either submit your own story (approximately ~250-500 words) or we can record a 15-20 interview and adapt the conversation into a short-story text format.
I will collate the stories from participants in this project and work on lettering the word/term you are contributing, to publish alongside its definition and the story you have shared.
In return for participants’ time/collaboration, you are welcome to attend any of the Beginner Brush Lettering workshops I will be holding this year (RRP $85 per ticket).
If you have any questions or would like to talk about how you can get involved in this project, please complete the following form: