Big Stories, Small Towns: Port Augusta, South Australia

Potter, Martin, Lee, Jeni, Mchawala, Sieh, and Grieve, Anna (2009) Big Stories, Small Towns: Port Augusta, South Australia. Big Stories Co., VIC, Australia.

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Abstract

Big Stories, Small Towns, produced by Martin Potter is a heartwarming portrait of Port Augusta, "the crossroads of Australia." The project's aim is to "shine a light on locals who cared for the people around them." Two filmmakers-in-residence, Jeni Lee and Sieh Mchawala worked in partnership with the community of Port Augusta, South Australia, to tell its stories through both the eyes of the filmmakers and through the eyes of its long-term residents. Digital Storytelling workshops and other participatory media programs were also run with local people to facilitate them to tell their own stories. With a focus on unsung heroes in the community, the project draws out themes of social and emotional wellbeing. The backdrop for the stories is a range of primary health care models such as the men’s shed, the aged care facility Wami Kata (cultural environment: ATSI), and the young Indigenous fathers’ group. These are stories of a community that supports people through life’s stages, bringing them together across age, race and economic fortune.

Research Statement

Research Background Participation is stressed as increasingly central to the field of media and Communication and Development (White, 2003; Milne et. Al. 2006). However, there is a lack of critical review in both practice and literature of participatory processes in this field (e.g. Lie and Mandler, 2009). This project sought to explore the potential of participatory media in enabling a marginalized regional community to grow their capacity and context for engaging with digital media through co-creation of their stories.
Research Contribution Big Stories, Small Towns: Port Augusta is the result of filmmakers in residence creating stories with the community, not about them. Members of the community participated in digital storytelling workshops and other media programs to facilitate the telling of their stories. The value of participatory media in this context was demonstrated by bringing out themes of social and emotional wellbeing as expressed by the participants. This project resulted in a media rich website including 48 short documentaries, 9 photo essays and 6 archival films. Other outputs included DVDs featuring story 'threads' from the project.
Research Significance This work was commissioned through Film Australia's National Interest Program ($102,000 cash grant, $40,000 equity). Additional funding was received from the South Australian Film Corporation ($40,000), Country Arts SA ($20,000) and Port Augusta City Council ($3,000). Films produced during the project premiered at the Adelaide Film Festival and were selected for 10 International film festivals between 2009 and 2010 including the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA DocLab 2009). Outputs from the project are held in the National Film and Sound Archive, and have been identified as a working prototype for large scale participatory media including ABC Open.
Item ID: 51740
Item Type: Other
Keywords: documentary, participatory media, community media, digital storytelling, Port Augusta, South Australia
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Additional Information:

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that the following works may contain images and voices of people who have died.

Funders: Film Australia, South Australian Film Corporation, Country Arts South Australia, Port Augusta City Council, Media Resource Centre
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2018 04:08
FoR Codes: 19 STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 1902 Film, Television and Digital Media > 190205 Interactive Media @ 50%
20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2002 Cultural Studies > 200212 Screen and Media Culture @ 25%
19 STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 1902 Film, Television and Digital Media > 190204 Film and Television @ 25%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9502 Communication > 950204 The Media @ 35%
94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9401 Community Service (excl. Work) > 940103 Ageing and Older People @ 30%
89 INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION SERVICES > 8904 Media Services > 890403 Internet Broadcasting @ 35%
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