Monday, 20 April 2009

a series of firsts

As part of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image's (ACMI) Digital Storytelling Project in collaboration with the Victorian Government through the Office of Women's Policy, ACMI celebrates 100 Years of Victorian Women's Right to Vote with the Digital Storytelling Project: A Series of Firsts.

Over the past century, women have been at the forefront of political change and civic reform. However they have had to fight for their beliefs: for the right to vote; for professional advancement; and for equality under the law. These stories pay tribute to eight remarkable Victorian women in fields as diverse as science, industry, cultural affairs and government.

ACMI worked with the Office of Women's Policy to select the eight significant women to tell their stories on film in a documentary style in the Digital Storytelling Project. The women who feature in A Series of Firsts are:  The Hon Joan Kirner, former Victorian Premier The Hon Gracia Baylor, restauranter, philanthropist and entrepreneur Dur-e Dura, Chemist Dr Joy Bear (the first woman to be awarded the Leighton Medal by the Royal Australian Chemical Institute), Melbourne's first female Mayor Leckie Ord, Chair of the Federation of Ethnic Community Councils of Australia Voula Messimeri, The Hon Judy Maddigan MP and Jeanette Powell MP.

ACMI Director Tony Sweeney says, "This is an important collaboration for ACMI in an area where we have an international reputation for excellence, Digital Storytelling. To be working with the Victorian Government through the Office of Women's Policy on such an exciting program with these extraordinary women is a real privilege."

Digital Storytelling is a very powerful form of media expression that enables individuals and communities to reclaim their personal cultures and stories while exploring their artistic creativity and sharing their experiences with others. Since 2002, hundreds of short format audiovisual stories have been produced by individuals, community groups and organisations in ACMI's Digital Storytelling workshop program. It examines all elements of being human- love, loss, achievement, recovery, isolation and celebration - the positive and the painful. Digital Storytelling is not just a way to archive family, community or social history, it is a living memory and dedication to the lives we lead and the people we know. 

"ACMI is honoured that these high profile women wanted to partake in our program and share their stories. It highlights ACMI's significance as a cultural institution, providing people with the opportunity to be heard and remembered the way they would like. It may not be objective, but it is their history they are telling and that lies at the heart of Digital Storytelling," Tony says.

ACMI will screen the eight films on rotation all day on Sunday 26 April and Sunday 10 May.

There will also present a free panel event on Sunday 3 May at 2pm: A Series of Firsts: Panel Talk which will feature The Hon Joan Elizabeth Kirner AM, The Hon Gracia Baylor AM and Dur-e Dura in conversation. The event will be chaired by Executive Director of the Victorian Women's Trust and Project Manager of the Water Mark Australia project Mary Crooks.


Further information


Lior Opat
Communications Coordinator
[direct phone] 61 3 8663 2475 [fax] 61 3 8663 2498 [mobile] 0434 603 655

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