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500 Retrospective: Vanishing Voices

August 31, 2022

In celebration of All The Best reaching 500 episodes, we’re looking back into the archives and replaying episodes that, while recorded in years past, remain relevant today.

This week we’re bringing you ‘Vanishing Voices’, an episode that first aired in 2020. Over centuries, language has played an important role in connecting people, especially minorities, to community and culture. For refugees and immigrants in a Western country or First Nations people dealing with the consequences of colonisation, work must be put in to avoid losing language. This eternal work is explored in the stories from this episode.

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Stories about how language is passed between generations, and people working to keep languages alive.

‘Speak The Language’ by Wing Kuang

In July, parents at Footscray Primary School were notified that from next year, the school would replace the 23-year-old Vietnamese Bilingual Program with Italian. The decision has raised concerns among parents and the local Vietnamese community, and they’re fighting hard to keep the program going.

Producer: Wing Kuang

Supervising Producer: Evana Ho

Music: ‘Checkered Blue’, and ‘Basketliner’ by Blue Dot Sessions

‘Bigger Than School Stuff’ by Declan Furber Gillick

Before invasion, this continent was home to about 250 languages, with different dialects within each. Many of those languages have been taken away systematically or stamped out by shame. In this story, playwright, artist and educator Declan Furber Gillick considers how people can turn that shame around.

Written and performed by Declan Furber Gillick

Sound design by Ryan Pemberton

Music: ‘Slow Dial’ and ‘A Simple Blur’ by Blue Dot Sessions

This story was published in ‘Guwayu – For All Times’, a collection of First Nations poems commissioned by Red Room Poetry. You can purchase the collection and read this story with Arrernte translations at redroomcompany.org.

All The Best credits:

Executive Producer: Ryan Pemberton

Victorian State Coordinator: Mell Chun

Host: Maddy Macquine

Episode mix and compile: Ryan Pemberton

Community Coordinators: Chloe Gillespie and Danni Stewart

SYN Community Coordinator: Lee Robinson

Social Media Producers: Matilda Fay and Angela Moran