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Our Journey

By

  • Melbourne Indigenous Transition School Students
  • Dr Samantha Edwards-Vandenhoek and Ms Joanna Gardener, Centre for Transformative Media Technologies, Swinburne University
  • Australian Chamber Orchestra
  • Commissioned by the Melbourne Indigenous Transition School
  • Funded by the Australian Government

Description

Our Journey is an animated film made in partnership with Melbourne Indigenous Transition School and Australian Chamber Orchestra.

This digital design project is innovative in its use of a cultured-centred participatory methodology to produce a unique co-designed film in both visual aesthetic and storytelling approach.

Our Journey afforded a cross-cultural, peer-to-peer and intergenerational co-creation space to meaningfully and authentically communicate the challenges the students have faced away from home, through the prioritisation of their own voices, languages, stories, designs and experiences.

The high-quality production values combined with heartfelt visual narratives in four Indigenous languages creates an affective experience for the viewer to connect with the often-difficult journeys the students take to further their studies. It provides a platform to showcase the talents and aspirations of these emergent creatives and community leaders, building pride, self-esteem and resilience and has led to a newly funded film collaboration in 2019.

This project also creates new knowledges concerning the role placed-based design, art and media education plays in strengthening transitions of Indigenous secondary students.

Key Features

1

Our Journey is a recipient of the prestigious 2019 Australian Good Design Award for Social Impact, the pinnacle of its international recognition to date. It has since been acquired by ABC TV and ICTV. Selected for screening at the 2019 Melbourne International Animation Festival and recipient of the People’s Choice Award at the 2018 Arts Learning Festival; it was exhibited in the Melbourne Pavilion at 2018 Business of Design Week, Hong Kong, curated by the NGV.

2

Funded by the Australian Government, this project was initiated by Swinburne’s Centre for Design Innovation in partnership with MITS to promote their innovative culture-centred curriculum and provide opportunities for their students to explore contemporary design and media practices and study pathways in a culturally safe environment. Challenges include:

1. How to meaningfully and authentically communicate the challenges the students have faced away from home, as well as their pride, resilience, character and leadership.
2. How to enable the students to take ownership of the production and art direction by prioritising their voices, languages, narratives, visual designs and personal experiences.

This digital storytelling project resulted in a 5min short animated film, narrated by the students in Indigenous languages. The tactile and hands-on nature of stop motion provided an inclusive and expressive space for the students to create and share stories that do not depend on advanced software literacies. Stop-motion facilitates experimental design and image-making practices and often serendipitously unplanned for visual outcomes driven by the students own interests, experiences and vision.

The innovative nature of this group-authored film provides a platform to showcase the talents and aspirations of these emergent animators, designers and community leaders in a way that gives voice to and prioritise their stories, concerns and experiences, which in turn builds pride, self-esteem and resilience. It also works towards the prioritisation of Indigenous cultural and design literacy in education and industry practice. In doing so, there are significant long-term benefits for the acquisition and transfer of local knowledges that reinforce how Indigenous design can drive innovation and activate social transformation, shaping the future of the Australian design industry

3

Our Journey is a recipient of the prestigious 2019 Australian Good Design Award for Social Impact, the pinnacle of its international recognition to date.

It has since been acquired by ABC TV and ICTV. Selected for screening at the 2019 Melbourne International Animation Festival and recipient of the People’s Choice Award at the 2018 Arts Learning Festival; it was exhibited in the Melbourne Pavilion at 2018 Business of Design Week, Hong Kong, curated by the NGV.In 2018, Marngo received the Swinburne, Faculty of Health Art and Design Research Impact Award and Vice Chancellor’s Reconciliation Award, a testament to the sustained benefits of the program to its participants.

4

Findings point to the effectiveness of place-based design to build aspiration, confidence, and cultural connections. Families have commented on how it can lead to employment opportunities for their young peoples. Providing the MITS students with opportunities to visually express their own interests, creativity, personalities, cultural values, ideologies, languages and daily experiences proved to be an empowering and enriching process for everyone involved.

5

Place-based design and media projects like ‘Our Journey’ have the capacity to transform the design industry and contribute to nation building, respectful and sustainable design practice, opening our eyes to the richness, design futuring potential and agency of Indigenous culture and design to transform the world in which we live.

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