Auslan for families Community Day a Hit

Expression Australia and Scienceworks partnered to deliver Auslan for Families Community Day on Saturday, August 25 at Scienceworks in Spotswood under the grand arc of the West Gate Bridge.

With over 500 Deaf and hard of hearing family members registered for the event, it was amazing to see so many people take up the opportunity to celebrate Auslan. Throughout the day families were able to participate in Auslan interpreted tours and shows as well as Auslan pop up classes and story time sessions taking place throughout the day led by Expression Australia Auslan teachers Ashleigh, Kylie and Shirley.

Deaf and hard of hearing families watch the Lightning show via an Auslan interpreter.

With all the seats in the Scienceworks Ampitheatre filled, Kate Barnard (Museums Victoria, Science Program Manager) provided an acknowledgment of Country and welcomed all the families to Scienceworks. Brent Phillips (Expression Australia, Director of Language and Partnerships and Innovation) thanked Scienceworks for their ongoing partnership as well as all the families in attendance and those who participated in the Auslan taster classes that took place in the weeks prior. The taster classes taught families how to communicate visually using conversational signs, fingerspelling and Auslan structure. They also learnt the importance of body language, hand movement and facial expression when signing.

Brent and Shirley present to the crowd of approx 500 people in the ampitheatre.

Shirley Liu (Expression Australia, Senior Auslan Teacher) entertained the crowd with some Auslan activities before providing a countdown for the special guests, Sally & Possum, to emerge onto stage to perform in Victoria for the very first time. Sally & Possum (a product of Queensland’s Department of Education and Khemistry) are the stars of a show on ABC Kids that is produced for Deaf and hard of hearing children. Sally & Possum find fun filled solutions to everyday problems using Auslan and play-based learning techniques which help develop children’s literacy and numeracy skills.

Sally & Possum perform on stage for the first time in Victoria.

Witness what the atmosphere was like on the day by watching our Instagram story: click here.

Sally & Possum performed for 30 minutes and thoroughly engaged the audience. They were asked questions by children in the audience and Possum was asked who his favourite friend was, to which he answered, “Sally!”. At the end of the performance, Sally & Possum walked off stage to a sea of waving hands.

Expression Australia would like to thank all the staff involved in making this event a success including our Auslan Interpreters who interpreted all the activities throughout the day. Expression Australia would like to acknowledge the Akermanis donation, the Queensland Department of Education and Sally & Possum’s management team, Khemistry.

Photos from the day:

Images provided by Artificial Studios.

- Sam Cartledge



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