Talking racism in the classroom

Difference workshop
Difference workshop
Image: B.Healley
Source: Museum Victoria

Media contact: Anna Barnes
abarnes@museum.vic.gov.au

An innovative program developed by Museum Victoria is bringing discussion of belonging and diversity into classrooms across Victoria.

"According to a study by the Foundation for Young Australians, 70 per cent of Australian secondary students have experienced some form of racism," said Tatiana Mauri, Museum Victoria Community Engagement Manager. "What disturbed many education professionals was that the majority was experienced in the classroom."

Talking Difference, a VicHealth Arts About Us funded project, has spent three years touring community centres and libraries, asking the public about belonging and diversity. This has led to the creation of more than one thousand community video testimonies.

The program – entitled Talking Difference in Schools - is now being toured though classrooms, promoting dialogue among students about race-based discrimination and the impact this has on the school and broader community.

Students participating in the program are given the opportunity to understand and reflect on different perspectives of identity and diversity by creating and sharing video content.

"Students want to talk about these issues and Talking Difference in Schools allows these discussions to occur in a safe space for both the students and the teachers," said Ms Mauri. "The response from students so far has been overwhelmingly positive."

The video, sound, drawn and written responses made in this two-year program will be displayed on the Talking Difference website and at the Immigration Museum.

The Talking Difference in Schools pilot program will tour schools in Brimbank, Casey, Melton and Hume in 2013-2015.

www.museumvictoria.com.au/talkingdifference

Immigration Museum Public Relations contact:
Anna Barnes, tel 9927 2734 or abarnes@museum.vic.gov.au

Museum Victoria Public Relations contact:
Alex Dook, 8341 7141 / 0478 348 880,  adook@museum.vic.gov.au

For all general public enquiries, contact the museum's Discovery Centre