Lanyard art a novel way to support Indigenous literacy

25 August 2020

As a prolific author and proud Wiradjuri woman, UQ’s Professor Anita Heiss has taken on many roles to promote Indigenous language and literacy; the latest is particularly novel.

As a lead-up to this year’s virtual Indigenous Literacy Day (2 September), Professor Heiss has been helping create three new lanyard designs, based on the cover of her acclaimed novel Tiddas.

Professor Heiss has been helping create three new lanyard designs, based on the cover of her acclaimed novel Tiddas.

Professor Heiss’ involvement followed an approach by Skye Anderton, the Brisbane-based creator and owner of Ruby Olive Jewellery & Accessories, who has pledged to donate 50 per cent of each lanyard sale price (a $10 donation) to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF).

 You can order here.

The ILF welcomes fundraising to gift engaging and culturally relevant books to schools, libraries, playgroups, women's centres, youth centres and other service organisations. It helps provide books and literacy programs to remote communities, promotes early literacy with a focus on first language, and publishes books written by Indigenous people, for Indigenous people.

“This is a fabulous philanthropic initiative,” Professor Heiss says.

“As the three lanyards all feature jacaranda motifs, based on the book cover, they are perfect for UQ’s community and I hope we can all get behind and support this amazing initiative.”

Skye Anderton says each lanyard is made with a premium hard-wearing clasp with leather trim, comes in their own box, perfect for gifting, and comes in three different colourways - coral pink, purple and blue.

“Anita has been our Guest Designer on this collaboration and $10 from each lanyard sale will be donated to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF).  The lanyards will be launched for pre-order on the 1st of September and will be shipped out the following week,” she says.

“One of our core values as a business is supporting our community through our 'Charity By Design' products.  Since supporting the ILF last year and learning more about what they do and what a huge difference they make to the lives of Indigenous families, we knew this was an organisation we had to support and get behind. We are so proud to collaborate on this project with Anita to support the ILF through lanyard sales but we're equally as excited to be able to share with our community the amazing work the ILF does and be part of this important change.”

On 1 September, the day before Indigenous Literacy Day, Professor Heiss is scheduled to Zoom into an online author talk hosted by Neporendi Aboriginal Forum Inc. and Onkaparinga Libraries (based in the Adelaide region). She will talk about her children’s novels, her work with the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, and how we can celebrate Indigenous Literacy Day to play a part in closing the literacy gap.

On Indigenous Literacy Day itself, 2 September, Professor Heiss is co-hosting the YouTube Live Premier Event and the Corporate Event with NITV News presenter Natalie Ahmat.

As a Lifetime ILF Ambassador, Professor Heiss also took part in related online initiatives during August, including an Aboriginal Children’s Day Story Time and an Australian literature-focused takeover of the Business Chicks Instagram account.

She pointed out that UQ has been a supporter of Indigenous Literacy Day and the related series of Great Book Swap fundraisers for a number of years now, largely through AustLit, the information resource and research environment for Australian literary, print, and narrative cultures.

The UQ Professor of Communications is one of Australia’s most prolific and well-known authors publishing across genres including non-fiction, historical fiction, commercial fiction and children’s fiction.