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Celebrating Diversity: UoN students to work at the Gannat International Folklore Festival in France

June 16, 2014

Six Bachelor of Communication students from the University of Newcastle have been selected for an international media internship to film and photograph the International Folklore Festival in Gannat, France from 16-30th July 2014. The festival is one of the largest gatherings of the folk and traditional artists across the world, which aims at promoting and safeguarding the intangible cultural heritage of the world. This year around 400 artists and 500 volunteers from 20 countries will be participating in the festival, which is supported by the UNESCO and CIOFF (International Council for Folklore Festivals).

The students will arrive in Gannat, a small town five hours from Paris, on 16 July and will spend two weeks interning under the mentorship of media production lecturer Dr Vikrant Kishore. This project has been possible due to the Federal Governments’ Short Term Mobility Programme (STMP) funding and support from UoN’s Hunter Creative Industries and Technology Centre.

To kickoff the participation of the students in the festival, the School of Design Communication and IT, University of Newcastle is hosting an event on the 27th of June from 4pm onwards where the selected students will be formally introduced. The event will include a showcase of last year’s students’ work in the Gannat festival, with the screening of two short documentaries, photography exhibition and a fusion dance performance by Savitri Naidoo’s Chakras group.

During the internship the students will be filming a documentary capturing the global diversity of cultures and will also work with the French media team to help with the coverage of the festival.

The ten-day ‘Festival Les Cultures du Monde’ is organised by the French National Association of Cultures and Traditions to celebrate and preserve international folk heritage. The festival is one of the largest gatherings of folk performers in the world and attracts around 65,000 people and groups from over 20 countries.

Dr Kishore has been involved with the festival for 20 years, and said he is
 looking forward to the students gaining media experience on an international scale.

"I think this is an excellent opportunity for the students of the University of Newcastle to experience the diverse cultures of the world all in one place and to work along with international media teams to cover the festival," Dr Kishore said.

"The documentary aims to capture how the Festival has become a site for cultural intermingling and globalisation, but still enables an understanding and provides encouragement in sustaining and protecting cultural heritages," he said.

Final year communication student and proud Aboriginal woman Elliana Lawford says she is looking forward to enriching her cultural knowledge at an international level, and further developing her media skills.

"The experience is such an amazing opportunity which will enhance our media skills and allow us to work alongside talented individuals from all over the world," Ms Lawford said.

"I’ve grown up with my own traditional dance and dreamtime so I’m really excited I now have the opportunity to experience the dance and performance of other cultures, whilst also getting to put the theory of my communication degree into action."

While another student Josh King hopes that the experiences he will have at the Festival of World Cultures will influence not only his future film projects but provide him with many other unforeseen opportunities.

Head of School and Director of the HCIT, Dr Anne Llewellyn, said the international experience should assist students with their future careers.

"This is a valuable opportunity for these students to apply their studies on an international level and gain experience working with other volunteers and media from around the world. They’ll be able to develop intensive media production skills on the ground and learn how to work at a highly skilled and fast-paced level, which are crucial skills employers look for in graduates," Dr Llewellyn said.

WHAT: Cultural Dialogue: UoN at the Festival of World Cultures: Dance Performance, Film Screening & Photo Exhibition

WHEN: Friday 27th June 2014

WHERE: TV Studio, ICT Building, School of DCIT, University of Newcastle

TIME: 4pm onwards

For more information please contact Dr Vikrant Kishore on +61 2 43 494591, 0432722746 Vikrant.Kishore@newcastle.edu.au

Festival of World Cultures

Student Profiles:

Melissa Wilson

Melissa Wilson is a third year journalism student with a passion for photography. She began shooting in her first year of uni, covering the live music events at Bar on the Hill. Melissa has gone on to shoot major music festivals including Big Day Out and St. Jerome’s Laneway festival as well as Groovin’ the Moo and Fat As Butter right here in Newcastle. In her spare time Melissa loves shooting film on her old school SLR.

Josh King

Josh King is in his 3rd year of study majoring in media production. He loves to work in film production and even volunteers for the university’s student media body YAK TV. Josh hopes that the experiences he will have at the Festival of World Cultures will influence not only his future film projects but provide him with many other unforeseen opportunities.

Jaime-Maree Kelly

Jaime-Maree Kelly is a third year Media Production student who has enjoyed working with cameras ever since she can remember. She has grown up in a highly visual loving family where everything is documented through photography or film. Jaime is excited to use the experience she has gained throughout her degree and involvement with YakTV, and put it towards the documentation of Les Cultures Du Monde.

Elliana Lawford

Elliana is a proud Wiradjuri woman with a rich heritage. She has a passion for story telling and is committed to the preservation of Indigenous culture through art, dance and Dreamtime. Her love of story telling and digital media has led her to study a Bachelor of Communication at The University of Newcastle, which she will finish at the end of this year. With a unique mix of both a city and bush upbringing – she is always excited to explore new endeavors.

Chris Wedlock

Chris Wedlock has had a passion in media from a young age, starting off in photography, he has been published in newsletters and magazines in Bathurst. After his successes in Theatrical Lighting Design in the HSC he pushed his focus towards film. After enjoying 2 years of an I.T. degree while still majoring in media, and founding Digital Emotions Creative back in 2012, he decided a full-fledged Communications course would suit better. His love for documentaries, travel and culture drew him into finding the perfect curricular experience: The Festival of Cultures, France.

Tayla Angel

Tayla Angel is a third year Bachelor of Communications student whose outlook on life and learning has always been firmly cemented in the historical, cultural and international. Her first step into tertiary education led her to study Ancient History at Macquarie University, where her appreciation of cultural heritage and historical societies blossomed. She has always held a deep interest in telling stories through dynamic visual and textual mediums, and from this she transitioned into a media production major.

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