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Australia's Local Hero


28 January 2016

Honorary Associate, Dr Cath Keenan is Australia's Local Hero for 2016
Honorary Associate, Dr Cath Keenan is Australia's Local Hero for 2016

Congratulations to Faculty of Education and Social Work Honorary Associate, Dr Cath Keenan on being named Australia's Local Hero, as part of the 2016 Australian of the Year Awards.

In accepting her award, Dr Keenan said, "There are thousands of amazing teachers around Australia working very hard to do that [encourage creativity]," she said.

"But there are the constraints of the curriculum. There are constraints of marking children's stories, creating an environment where they are assessed, there are very clear curriculum requirements about things you need to write about it and it may be something outside that really lights the spark in a child's eyes.

"It's hard to teach writing. If you are a primary teacher, you have to teach everything. So the staff that we have, they are absolutely expert at that.

"So working with a teacher, who knows the kids and working with our staff, then you can really see something amazing happen."

Dr Keenan is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Sydney Story Factory, a not-for-profit organisation that aims to nurture the creativity, confidence and wellbeing of young people, aged 7 to 17, through creative writing and storytelling workshops.

"Every young person who comes in has not just one story, but thousands and thousands of awesome stories in them," she added.

"Once you give them freedom and an environment where they are supported, encouraged to take risks creatively, then suddenly they can tell the stories that matter."

Her award follows her receipt of the Australia's Local Hero Award (NSW) for 2016.

Watch Dr Keenan's interview wtih the ABC
Watch Dr Keenan's interview wtih the ABC

(Excerpts courtesy of the ABC).