Arlene McInherny – Guula-abirang Barayal-abirang ngarrayn – Learning from Koala song

Guula-abirang Barayal-abirang ngarrayn – Learning from Koala song

Arlene McInherny

Session type: Regular forum session
Session duration: 60 minutes

Key words: Eco acoustics, ecolinguistics, decolonisation


Learning from the Koala song is a focus of my research as a Birpai woman and Country. Through deep listening, in my presentation you are invited to hear the koala and the conversation of Country which the koala sing with. Through eco acoustics, be transported to the warmer months of Birpai Country on the Mid North Coast. Hear Birpai Country’s song woven with the stories of the old people for an eco-acoustic immersion.

This presentation focusses on questions that that I bring to my master’s research; can we sing the Koala population up? Can we remember our place and responsibility in entangled kinship with country through sound and ecolinguistics?

Drawing from the literature of Barclay (2019), Bawaka Country et al (2018)., and Kwaymullina (2016), as well as studies that underpin the relationship between ecolinguistics and conservation (Harmon & Skutnabb-Kangas, 2017), this narrative will consider the reciprocity of song and existence. Arlene shares story of embodying Gathang language in a decolonisation process, which guided her to use sound to advocate for the more- than- human world and further honour cultural responsibilities in a contemporary context.

About the presenter/s

I am Birpai from the Mid North Coast NSW. I grew up and continue to live in on Country surrounded by my ancestral song. I did my undergraduate degree, Bachelor of Trauma and Healing with an institution and began a career in academia lecturing Indigenous Australian studies. I also am engaged as an eco cultural tour guide with National Parks, and am active in community as a culture and language consultant. I’m currently completing my Masters in Human Geography which focuses on ecoacoustics and Gathang language. I am passionate about existence sovereignty and live hugged by the gum trees, off grid in a yurt with my family.