Quairading District High School

STREAM 1 - 2013

The Project

The Quairading District High School AIR Grants Program project was conceived as a joint initiative with the Community Arts Network of Western Australia (CANWA) as part of the school’s 2013 Centenary celebrations. The Centenary anniversary supplied the ideal cross-curriculum learning theme for the school for the academic year, and for the AIR project.
Leading Western Australian animator and community artist Steven Aiton shared his creative expertise in digital media and animation with Mrs Helen Crowley, Quairading’s visual arts teacher and AIR Project Coordinator.
‘The Quairading Animation’ for students from Pre-Primary to Year 12 was devised with the intention that students could creatively and collaboratively explore and reflect on important community stories.  Over a period of 17 weeks during Terms 2 and 3, Steven and Helen involved the students in a variety of stimulating, hands-on learning experiences during their scheduled art classes. They explored new technology and arts processes inspiring creative thinking.
“The kids just loved it! … They are now able to navigate around the technology so easily because Steven’s trained them and let them experiment… it was a huge step up for the younger kids and development for the older kids.” Mrs Helen Crowley, Project Coordinator
Throughout the project Steven adopted a community engagement approach and maintained close contact with project partner CANWA. CANWA was completing an Outdoor Classroom and Noongar native garden at the school during the same period as the AIR project at Quairading District High School.
The final 13 minute film contained a series of edited animations that told the story of Quairading District High School from the past,  the present and  the future.  The film featured two local Aboriginal stories, one ancient and one contemporary and was interspersed with segments about school life.
The two Aboriginal stories were selected and approved by the local community. The first story, about ancient Aboriginal culture, was provided courtesy of Aboriginal Elder Mrs Winnie McHenry. This story featured a fearsome creature called the Jimbar that was believed to have lived in the region. The second story was a contemporary story about local Aboriginal farmer John Kickett and his struggle for educational equality. CANWA ensured Noongar Elders were adequately consulted throughout the project and the school’s Aboriginal and Islander Education Officer, Mrs Edna Winmar provided narration for the Jimbar story, and one of John Kickett’s grandchildren, Mrs Lynette Winmar, narrated her grandfather’s story.
The school’s partnership with CANWA also provided access to local musicians who were writing songs about Quairading as part of the organisation’s ‘Voices of the Wheatbelt’ project. This contact resulted in two original songs for the animation: Yolande Yarran’s ‘Lil Ol’ Quairading Town’ and ‘Kalyakoori’ (Forever) written and performed by Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse.
“Having Steven Aiton based at the school over a six month period has been absolutely invaluable in terms of the creative development of staff and students as well as strengthening community relationships and providing such a strong artistic outcome. It was incredibly rewarding and satisfying for all involved (particularly the Elders and narrators).” Ivy Penny, Strategic and Cultural Development Manager, CANWA
More than 1,200 people converged on Quairading District High School to attend the Centenary event on Saturday 19 October, 2013. The day was officially opened by The Honourable Peter Collier, Western Australian Minister for Education, and included a speech given by Noongar Elder Mr David Collard about John Kickett. Artwork created during the AIR project was exhibited.
Several days later on Tuesday 22 October, the launch of the Outdoor Classroom took place along with a full screening of The Quairading Animation. As a link with the AIR project, the Noongar garden features a plaque commemorating John Kickett’s contribution to Aboriginal education in Western Australia.
“The AIR program that ran at Quairading District High School during 2013 has been a fantastic opportunity for our students from PP to Year 12 to experience and be immersed in animation and the associated technologies… The opportunity to involve local Aboriginal speakers, elders and musicians further strengthened and publicised the process and end result. The support provided and learning experienced by our Art teacher has been valuable and valued [and] our students and community will benefit for years to come.” Mrs Pauline Wray, Principal
Visit the project archive to read more about projects completed in 2013.

Mrs Pauline Wray
School Tel: (08) 9645 1208
AIR Project Coordinator: Mrs Helen Crowley

Artist: Steven Aiton

Supporting artists: Yolande Yarran, Gina Williams, Guy Ghouse

Project partner:
Community Arts Network (CANWA)
Tel: (08) 9226 2422
Web: www.canwa.com.au/



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