Narratives Across Cultures

22 June, 2009

Narratives Across Cultures artwork
Narratives Across Cultures artwork.
Image: VU Multimedia Students
Source: Victoria University

On Thursday 18 June the Immigration Museum hosted the launch of the 2009 Victoria University Digital Stories Project, Learning and Teaching in Public Spaces – Narratives Across Cultures 2. One hundred invited guests, including teachers, students, parents, families and friends, celebrated the three films produced collaboratively by Liberal Arts students and Multimedia students from Victoria University.

The project is the brainchild of Karen Charman, who teaches in the faculty of Liberal Arts at Victoria University’s Footscray campus. In her teaching unit, Stories of the Diaspora, students examine the role that stories play in everyday life and the relationship between stories and broader culture. Karen approached the Public Programs department at the Immigration Museum in early 2007 wanting to link her students directly with exhibitions and representations of migration stories. 

Initially, Karen produced a podcast guide to the museum for students to download on their phones or other portable devices. In two intensive workshop sessions, the manager of the Immigration Museum, Padmini Sebastian, plus staff from Public Programs, History and Technology, and Community Exhibitions, discussed the way the museum tells stories. This immersed the students in the intricacies of storytelling at the Immigration Museum and according to Karen, “contributed to a shift from passive to active participation in the Museum space“.

The project then evolved into collaboration across Victoria University departments; Liberal Arts students became the ’clients’ for final-year Multimedia students to produce digital stories that explore the theme ’Stories of the Diaspora’. The collaboration pushed students to think about how to engage audiences with complex subject matter. As multimedia teacher Luke Low commented at the launch, this project required a huge commitment from all students, and final products are of outstanding quality.

The three films are:

  • Deported – based on a true story of one family’s trauma in managing the realities of deportation.
  • Home Away From Home  - a series of personal reflections exploring why people choose to live in Australia.
  • Our Journeys – an exploration of the physical and psychological journeys of three individuals.

The films will be shown at the Immigration Museum Theatrette on weekends from July.

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Image Gallery

Guests at the launch