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Appendix 7. Engagement: Outreach

AFTRS’ Outreach programs are designed to attract the next generation of storytellers from across Australian society with the specific goal of enriching the stories we tell.

The Outreach team works in partnership with a wide range of communities and organisations to deliver screen and broadcast skills development to those who have expressed an interest in a creative career. Current Outreach initiatives include Introductory Short Courses, Talent Camp, MediaLab, Community Workshops and Community Scholarships.

Outreach has also worked to make AFTRS more accessible to the public, by offering some opportunities for community organisations to hold events at AFTRS. All the programs are also a vehicle for positive social change.

Introductory Short Courses

AFTRS offered 14 Introductory courses in 2019–20 attracting 251 students. These courses are designed for new entrants into the screen and broadcast industry who wish to test their interest and aptitude and are available to students aged 16 years and over.

Introductory courses are offered across the disciplines of Directing, Screenwriting, Producing, Production Design and Documentary.

Due to the building closure necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, introductory courses delivered between April and June 2020 were offered online.

Community Workshops

In 2019–20, AFTRS partnered nationally with community cultural organisations to create skill development opportunities.

These included:

  • Comedy Sketch Writing workshop with diverse stand-up comedians from Western Sydney in partnership with Information and Cultural Exchange (ICE) (Parramatta, NSW)
  • Partnership with Metro Assist (Western Sydney based migrant resource centre) to support two Talent Camp participants write, direct, and produce a Bowel Cancer awareness video in Arabic (Campsie, NSW)
  • Storytelling workshops with participants with a lived experience of a disability, in partnership with The Centre for Stories WA (Perth, WA)
  • iPad equipment for workshops at Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education & Research (JIIER) for First Nations young participants learning animation
  • The ongoing partnership with Bus Stop Films on a year-long program where approximately 50 filmmakers with intellectual disabilities attend weekly workshops and fortnightly screenings at the AFTRS campus. Students complete drama and documentary productions as part of their studies
  • Short Course Scholarships to participants from the following organisations – Footscray Community Arts Centre (VIC), Wide Angle Tasmania (Tas), My State Film Festival (Tas), WIFT (NSW), Dubbo Filmmakers Group (Regional NSW), Screenworks (Regional NSW), Cinespace (VIC), Accessible Arts (NSW), Kellyville High School (NSW), CuriousWorks (NSW).

Due to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, the School halted all community workshops. It continued to work to provide more individual mentoring and offer access to online short courses to the organisations and individuals the School works with across Australia.

Talent Camp

Talent Camp is a national biennial project, in partnership with Screen Australia, all state screen agencies, Scripted Ink and AWG.

Talent Camp supports the skills and career development of emerging creatives from diverse backgrounds, so they can develop new content and be employment ready for the screen sector.

Talent Camp specifically targets emerging creative talent from under-represented communities, including First Nations peoples, culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD), disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, geographic disadvantage, and socioeconomic status.

Initiated and managed by AFTRS, Talent Camp was launched in June 2017, and in 2018–19 had a total of 96 participants enter the program from across the country. In 2019–20, 87 participants took part in Talent Camp state editions, with two participants chosen from each state (and one per territory) to participate in the National Talent Camp. Whilst slated for April 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the camp was postponed to November 2020.

Many of the state participants have gone on to receive development funding, offered paid employment, develop new networks, and find producers/collaborators for their work.

Media Lab

Launched in 2018, the successful online screen literacy initiative extends the reach of AFTRS into primary and secondary schools and positions AFTRS as a leader in Media Arts education.

Media Lab has offered a range of free online resources for teachers and students levelling the screen literacy playing field for future creatives.

Teachers can now access lesson plans for media subjects: filmmaking, documentary, stop motion animation, podcasting, and screenwriting. Teachers can choose to follow the consecutive program or mix and match the content to suit their students’ interests. The resource features Australian screen examples, instructional videos, ethical dilemmas, and case studies.

Youth Program

AFTRS Youth Program offers short courses for secondary students during school holidays. In 2019–20, AFTRS offered 21 courses for 255 students.

Due to the building closure necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the April 2020 school holiday courses were cancelled, with the one remaining course delivered online.

The School’s Advisory Committee continues to provide expert advice on AFTRS Youth Program and Media Lab to ensure educational value and suitability. The committee draws on a broad range of experience from primary and secondary schools in the public, independent and Catholic sectors.

As at June 2020, the Committee members were:

  • Robyn Ewing
  • Matt Clausen
  • David Chapman
  • Jennie Vine.