Pigeon Letters is an in-school letter writing exchange linking school students with Australian authors. Run over two school terms, the project facilitates a creative collaboration between the author and student, resulting in a piece of writing such as a short story, poem or comic. The final pieces are published in a professionally printed and bound book. Launched in July 2009, our pilot Pigeon Letters project was run with a group of upper primary students from North Melbourne Primary School. The project is designed to be adapted to suit the needs of the teacher and, where possible, to meet curriculum requirements. The authors not only act as mentors providing guidance and feedback, but also model effective writing behaviours and skills, and invite the students to give feedback and direction of their own. In 2010 we were thrilled to have had twenty-one generous and talented Australian authors and comic creators working with us: authors and comic creators Kirsty Murray, Sally Rippin, Meredith Costain, Michael Pryor, Paul Collins, Gabrielle Wang, Andrew McDonald, Jen Storer, Michael Hyde, Martine Murray, Jackie Kerin, Robert Greenberg, Claire Saxby, Tony Wilson, Bernard Caleo, Mirranda Burton, Alison Lloyd, Jen Breach, George Ivanoff, Stephanie Brotchie and Sherryl Clark. The project was run with a grade five class at Footscray City Primary School. The resulting book, a wonderful collection of amazing stories and comics, is available for purchase here. View photos from the Pigeons: Stories in the Post, Volume II launch.
This is a Stick Up!
A visual storytelling collaborative project, This is a Stick Up! partnered lower primary students from North Melbourne Primary School with final year education students at University of Melbourne. Each partnership worked on a visual story, taking turns to create each instalment on paper using various visual art techniques. The picture stories were then pasted up on watertanks in the school, using homemade wheat paste. Throughout the process, literacy classes were run with the school students that gave them opportunities to reflect on their stories, recreate them in different textual forms and predict the direction their stories would take. Throughout the project, art workshops for both the school and university students focused on developing and exploring new techniques. The university students could use these workshops to reflect on the pros and cons of each of these techniques, explore ideas for extension and modification and reflect on their experiences working in a sustained collaboration with a lower primary student. This is a Stick Up! was developed by Pigeons in partnership with graduate teacher Mark Quinn at North Melbourne Primary School and University of Melbourne Art Education lecturer Dr Marnee Watkins.
Put Your Hands In The Air
At Dinjerra Primary School, Grade 6 students are investigating what it means to be a volunteer, through a series of workshops run by 100 Story Building in partnership with Volunteer West.
The project is part of volunteerism@Maribyrnong, an initiative funded by Maribyrnong City Council. Teams of student journalists will conduct on-camera interviews with volunteer subjects, and then edit their footage into short news pieces to be screened at Sun Theatre, Yarraville, on May 15, as part of National Volunteer Week 2013.
100 Story Building has invited media professionals to share their skills and understandings with the students, to assist them in producing high-quality interviews, including Suzy Freeman-Greene, Senior Writer for The Age, and Tamzin Byrne, a Producer with the ABC.
Friendly volunteers from diverse organisations including Western Health, Footscray Hockey Club, SYN Media, Men’s Shed, Wheels in the West, WYPIN and Braybrook Community Garden have offered themselves up to be interviewed, and to help students elicit the best responses from their subjects, a number of special guests will be visiting the school over the course of the project.
The title of this project refers to the old radio sound effects trick of creating the impression of fire by scrunching up a piece of paper. Try it now! Make sure you close your eyes. It works, right?
Stories can be created in so many ways. And with Paper Fire, a group of upper-primary students at Footscray Primary School are taking over the airwaves by planning, writing and producing a series of radio plays.
Under the guidance of mentors from partner youth arts organisations, SYN Media and Express Media, the students will learn how to develop cliffhanger scripts, build collaborative stories and create immersive soundscapes using everyday objects. 100 Story Building will lead workshops on aural storytelling and link students with inspirational creative professionals, and the resulting radio plays will be broadcast on SYN Radio.
In Other Words
In Other Words encourages Prep to Grade 2 students at Dinjerra Primary School and their families to create and share their stories in pictures, words and actions. Through a series of storytelling workshops delivered by creative professionals from the school community, students and their families explore different ways to tell, act and present stories. Children develop, direct and perform their own narratives. Using readily available classroom resources, the stories are then recorded and premiered to the community on a film night.
In 2012, the students were inspired by former Dinjerra Primary student and author Alice Pung, comic creator Bernard Caleo and poet Tariro Mavondo, and the resulting Kamishibai films were broadcast to the public at Federation Square’s 10th birthday celebrations. In 2013, students and their families made puppets with Leighton Young, practised movement and expression with Tariro Mavodo and were inspired again by Bernard Caleo. This project was developed in partnership between Dinjerra Primary School, 100 Story Building and Maribyrnong City Council as part of the ‘River of Words’ Early Literacy initiative.
This dynamic after-school program brings together an editorial board of upper-primary students from Melbourne’s west, and provides them with mentoring and workshops to publish an issue of the yearly literary journal early harvest.
Developed and run in partnership with author and editor Davina Bell (co-founder of harvest magazine) and community development worker and illustrator Emma Hewitt, this program is designed to give young writers and illustrators a voice, and to give them confidence in their own creative output.
With advice from publishing professionals, students invite submissions, select authors, commission artists, edit stories, create illustration briefs and produce a literary magazine that showcases young, emerging writers alongside popular, award-winning authors and illustrators. The workshops and submission process bring together children from a wide range of backgrounds.
You can savour the delights of early harvest issues 1-4 right now.
Are you a young writer or illustrator and interested in submitting your work to early harvest? Email us!
This program is made possible by grants from Maribyrnong City Council (2011), the St George Foundation (2013), The Funding Network (2014) and generous donors to our crowdfunding campaign (2015).
Stephanie Brotchie, Artist in Residence
Making radio is really fun! Sometimes we learn about audio storytelling, microphone technique and editing. Other times we learn about how our voices really sound to other people, and are genuinely horrified. Stephanie’s time in the recording studio on Level 100 will result in ten episodes of a storytelling podcast. We have amazing stories written by young people at the centre, read by cool grown-ups, with sound effects designed, performed and recorded by kids. We’re collaborating with some wonderful artists, performers, musicians and audio engineers. This project has been made possible by the Australia Council for the Arts’ Early Careers Residency Grant.
Our Stories, Our Way
100 Story Building is facilitating a series of storytelling and writing workshops for deaf and hard of hearing children in grades 4, 5 and 6 from the Victorian College for the Deaf and Furlong Park School for Deaf Children. The children will then perform their stories for the public as part of the Melbourne Writers Festival and the National Week of Deaf People. Through these performances, the audience will discover stories ‘written’ and ‘told’ in a different way – using Auslan – and develop a greater understanding of lived experiences of deafness and an appreciation of deaf culture. It will also provide an opportunity for participants to develop confidence in themselves as creative individuals in a public space. The children will be guided and supported in creating stories through the use of puppets to develop their characters and story lines. They will express their stories in different ways, including Auslan, spoken English and in graphic novels. They will also work with professionals in filming and choreographing their stories and performances. The Deaf Children’s Writing Workshops are supported by the Cassandra Gantner Foundation and Arts Access Victoria.
Opening Up the Trapdoor
A series of teacher professional development workshops run in collaboration with two local schools: Footscray West Primary School and St Monica’s Primary School. This project aims to build capacity for teachers to design and implement their own creative literacy programs in early years classrooms, and to improve reading, writing and numeracy Best Start indicators in the City of Maribyrnong. 100 Story Building will facilitate the co-design, development, implementation and evaluation of a creative literacy project for each school involved through collaborative planning workshops, introductory workshops with both students and teachers and coordination of evaluation activities. This project is run in partnership with Maribyrnong City Council, supported by Department of Education and Training Best Start initiative.
A group of intrepid grade 7 students from Footscray City College joined forces with guest facilitator Adrian Lucas-Healey to find out if collaborative games could make the world a better place. Over the year they worked together every week after school on uncovering the principles of game design, storytelling and collective action in games. They went through various iterations of The Apocalypse and out the other side, succumbed to a multitude of diseased food and predatory animal attacks and helped each other to regenerate as the days stretched in to weeks. Finally, they launched their findings to the world.
This is what they discovered.
A scientist sees a meteorite hurdling towards the Earth. He tries to warn everyone about it but no one listens because they think he is crazy, so he tries to escape it alone. The meteorite then lands a couple of days later, infecting Earth with a disease later named the “Corruption”. The “Corruption” slowly spreads, smothering the land and making plants and animals more dangerous. The scientist then joins a group of lucky survivors (you and your friends) to try and find the cure.
The BLOOD! DEATH! SHOW!!
Something’s growing here in the Building and for once it’s not the plants on level 83. In fact, this thing has nothing to do with the trapdoor or the time machine. Over two days, grade 5/6 students from Deer Park North Primary School descended on the skydeck and installed a creepy haunted house they created alongside artist JOF for the Big West Festival. Explore a world filled with spooky stories and urban myths created using film, sound, lighting and other theatrical devices. Look, listen and discover this insubstantial world. This project was made possible by support from the Besen Foundation.
Much is written about how the contents of students’ ‘virtual school bags’ can play a powerful role in their learning … about how schools need to become more collaborative learning spaces where children’s diverse interests, backgrounds and identities are nurtured. The In Other Words project provides a template for how these noble aims might be achieved.
– Dr Paul Molyneux, Melbourne Graduate School of Education