The Rural Animation Project is a teach the teacher initiative offering 2D animation as an engagement and incidental learning tool for professionals working with marginalized youth in regional areas.
In 2009 Cath Murphy was invited to participate on a committee for the Regional Arts Victoria Big Screen project in Marysville after the Black Saturday bushfires. Since 2009 a series of animation projects evolved into the Rural Animation Project.
The Rural Animation Project offers digital animation as a contemporary learning tool. Our program requires no existing skills, using diagram based Photoshop and Premiere for incidental learning. Participants work as writers, directors and animators on their own professional short films. Digital animation offers contemporary employment prospects that are not location based, keeping local young people engaged and working in regional communities.
In 1998 Cath Murphy completed a Grad. Dip in Animation at VCA Film School and continued to work as a professional film maker. Cath has always distributed her own films on the International Film Festival circuit and sold shorts to local and international broadcasters and cable networks. Animations created on the project are professionally distributed.
In 2011 the project was invited by Berry St, the Ethnic Council and the Scanlon Foundation to teach newly arrived asylum seekers at the Shepparton English Language Centre(SELC). Many of the students had never attended school. With the assistance of an interpreter, short films without dialogue and student and teacher participation we created A Family of Weddings. The short won Best Middle School Animation at the Australian Teachers of Media awards in 2012 and was included in the Next Gen program at MIFF. Our project also received a nomination for Best Primary Animation at the 2012 ATOM awards for What’s Next created with students at Strathewen Primary School. In 2012 we were invited to create another short animation at SELC by Multi Cultural Arts Victoria. The students created Culture Bowl-the short was nominated for Best Short Form Doco at the 2013 ATOM awards in the Professional category. In 2013 our project mentored VCA Film School alumni students, Christie Widiarto and Jody Cleaver, through the VicArts Regional Training and Engagement fund. We offered Christie and Jody a comparative teaching experience and observation of how our community partnerships work as a reference for their own community work.
Our community partners advocate and work for marginalized youth: SELC in Shepparton; Strathewen Primary; Berry St Seymour; St Lukes in Bendigo; Allwood Neighborhood House in Hurstbridge, Hurstbridge Learning Co-op, and Youth Junction Inc. in Sunshine.
In 2012 we commenced our community partnership with Youth junction Inc. in Sunshine assisting students at Harvester Secondary College to create a 2D Avatar for the Youth Junction Inc. website. In 2014 the Rural Animation Project and Youth Junction Inc. commenced an urban/regional pilot comparing the engagement benefits of using digital animation as a learning tool for local youth in Shepparton at SELC and Youth Junction Inc. in Sunshine. The project was generously funded by the Scanlon Foundation.
The Rural Animation Project presented at the Fourth Annual Asian Conference on Technology in the Classroom in Osaka in April 2014 .
Our work continues on regional projects with schools, community houses, mental health organizations and with individual young people who benefit from an alternative, digital learning experience.
Professionals we have worked with on our various projects have described improved levels of concentration and engagement in the young people they work with. A number of freelance animators, artists and professionals assist in the completion of shorts created by the participants on the Rural Animation Project. We very grateful for your hard work- the projects wouldn’t happen without you. Special thanks to Chris Keating, Jen Davies, Katy Swindley, Gali Weiss and Monica Murphy my mother who is an inspiration and incredible support.