University of Sydney and Souths Cares project puts the spotlight on university education

1 November 2013

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from local high schools and the University of Sydney got a chance to experience life behind the scenes as filmmakers, producing a series of short films to promote better public health as part of the Framing Health project.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Strategy and Services) Professor Shane Houston launched the students' films in the Great Hall yesterday.

High school students, who are supported by Souths Cares, wrote, directed, starred and sat in the director's chairs for the films, collaborating with postgraduate students to shoot and produce the videos.

"The Framing Health project is one of the results of a shared vision between the University of Sydney and Souths Cares to challenge any concerns or doubts young Aboriginal students may have about attending university in the future," Professor Houston said.

"Through their experiences here on campus, with current Aboriginal students and staff at the University, these talented and motivated young people can now feel more confident about making an informed decision about their education. They have spent time on campus and with current students and they know what higher education is about.

"The innovative project took students through the entire filmmaking process, harnessing their creativity to produce short films that also deliver an important public health message.

"The program also taught students about the importance of strong communication campaigns around public health and how they can help drive community awareness," Professor Houston said.

General Manager of Souths Cares Shannon Donato said the collaboration with the University of Sydney enabled more of their young members to learn about filmmaking and envision a future as a university student.

"Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students were given a unique opportunity to develop their skills and learn invaluable lessons about education and health," Mr Donato said.

"The workshops gave students the confidence they needed to produce the films and connect with their audience.

"The students tackled some weighty public health issues in their films, from smoking to the importance of dental health and the influence of lifestyle on health," he said.

Framing Health is one of the University's Compass program's initiatives which provides opportunities for students to experience and explore higher education while they develop skills and competencies that support key learning areas at school. The students' films will be used widely to promote better health among the community.

Souths Cares Program is supported by the Federal Government through the Learn, Earn Legend Program.