The Australian Literacy & Numeracy Foundation (ALNF) is honoured to be among the finalists for the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Innovation Awards for its Living First Language platform. SXSW celebrates the most forward-thinking advancements in the digital space.

ALNF’s Living First Language platform preserves and revitalises Indigenous First Languages and turns them into dynamic, community-led and interactive digital literacy apps, and the acknowledgement by SXSW is particularly timely as the United Nations has declared 2019 as the Year of Indigenous Languages.

Being able to read and write is a basic human right, and this includes the right to be literate in your Mother Tongue. Article 13 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples reminds us of Australia’s international obligations:

“Indigenous people have the right to revitalise, use, develop and transmit to future generations their histories, languages, oral traditions, philosophies, writing systems and literatures.”

As is the case globally, immediate action is required in Australia.  First Languages are disappearing at a faster rate than anywhere in the world despite a universal acknowledgment that language plays a vital role in the health, wellbeing, education and future of Indigenous peoples.

The Living First Language project harnesses technology in order to stem the tide of loss of First Languages and empower children to become learners in their Mother Tongues. ALNF’s technological solution offers a faster and more scalable means to efficiently and effectively capture and share languages.

Eric Brace, ALNF Director of Programs states, “We are excited to have the opportunity to advocate for the importance of language at such a prestigious event. ALNF is committed to protecting, preserving and promoting the languages of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, aligning our aims with the wishes of the elders so we can ensure these ancient languages stretch into the next millennium.”

SXSW 2019 will take place March 8-17, 2019, and ALNF will be one of five finalists in the category of Innovation in Connecting People.

ALNF hopes that the impact of this initiative goes beyond preservation of Language, and that the platform serves to strengthen communities, bridge cultural divides, foster resilience, encourage literacy and puts First Language back into community members’ hands.

Sign Up

Sign up to our email list.