Explore the content below and the links in the menu to access meaningful teaching and learning resources. BlackWords helps teachers embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders histories and cultures in their teaching and the classroom.
Teachers often ask: "How can I expand my knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stories?"
One answer is to familiarise yourself with BlackWords, because BlackWords provides access to a deep and wide record of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers and their publications.
BlackWords: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Writers and Storytellers is a database containing biographical and bibliographical records for writers and other creators and their works. Records are created for published and unpublished books, stories, plays, poems, and critical works and includes works in English, in translations, and in Australian languages. BlackWords is also a publishing platform and a space for curating relevant online content for teachers, students, readers, researchers, and community members.
BlackWords has benefitted from the contribution and guidance from many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers, researchers, and Elders since its launch in 2006.
Teaching with BlackWords aims to help teachers access useful resources for the classroom and for their own professional development.
In BlackWords 'Black writing' means material created by Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander writers and storytellers. All Australian First Nations writers and storytellers are identified as either Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander on their author records. In many cases they are also identified with one or more cultural heritage. We only ever record information about cultural heritage when it is available in the public record or provided by the writers themselves or their families.
The heritage terms in BlackWords are used with permission and conform as far as possible to those used by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies thesauri. Spellings are fluid and may change over time. We try to record variant spellings.
We also record details of works that contain stories or oral narratives that relate to relevant aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experience such as mission histories, some works of anthropology, educational texts, journals and correspondence, which might not be included in the broader AustLit scope, but which are relevant to BlackWords.
In BlackWords, ‘Black’ refers to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers and storytellers. While the word ‘Black’ has historically been used negatively against the Indigenous peoples of Australia, in recent times it has been reclaimed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and used in preference to terms such as ‘Aboriginal’ and ‘Indigenous’, which are viewed as colonisers’ terms.
The links below take you to lists of works by Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander writers.
Materials published by AustLit (links open in a new tab):
|BlackWords Essays: a series of essays by Professor Anita Heiss, author, educator, and co-founder of BlackWords.|
|Teaching with BlackWords: an essay by Dr Jeanine Leane, which offers guidance on embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture in teaching.|
|BlackWords Interviews (Series One): interviews with leading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers, facilitated by Professor Anita Heiss.|
|BlackWords Interviews (Series Two): interviews with leading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers, facilitated by Professor Anita Heiss.|
|Literature (H)as Power: interviews with leading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers, facilitated by Dr Estelle Castro-Koshy.|
|Teaching resources by Dr Lindsay Williams, including:|
Material from external resources (links open in new tab):
|'History Textbooks Still Imply that Australians Are White', by Robyn Moore, for The Conversation, 14 June 2017.|
|'Read, Listen, Understand: Why Non-Indigenous Australians Should Read First Nations Writing', by Meera Anne Atkinson, written for The Conversation, 5th July 2017.|
|'Dreamtime and the Dreaming: An Introduction', by Christine Nicolls for The Conversation, 23 January 2014.
Part one | Part two | Part three
|'Indigenous Picture Books Offering Windows into Worlds', by Ambelin Kwaymullina, for The Conversation, 14 June 2017.|
Browse the collection of resources on this page. It's always changing!
Explore the BlackWords homepage to discover additional resources, research projects, essays, stories and more!
Click through to a search result of works included in BlackWords with linked teaching resources. Explore that list by using the filters.
See guides for tips on searching AustLit and BlackWords, including searching for BlackWords works and authors, reading an AustLit record, and searching for full text.
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