What do disposable cameras to promote mindfulness, a print magazine telling our students’ stories in their own words, and a seminar with professional graphic novelists have in common? These ideas are all becoming a reality thanks to the 2021 Student Co-curricular Grants Program. We spoke to three of the successful teams about their projects, what inspired them to seek funding, and how you can get involved.
All of us have been guilty of this at some point: taking hundreds of near-identical photos of the same thing and getting so caught up with capturing the perfect shot that we forget to look away from our phone screen and take in the scene we’re trying to document. That’s what inspired Kylie Tan to create the project ‘Lost in Film’. The project involves purchasing disposable film cameras for participants to shoot photos on, allowing them to live in the moment while still capturing it. Students will use up their roll of film, return the camera for processing, and then meet up and reflect on their photographs.
‘Project: Lost in Film hopes to inspire you to explore film photography! By providing disposable film cameras, I encourage you to live in the moment instead of obsessing over getting the perfect shot on digital cameras. With only 27 shots, I urge you to think creatively when capturing life on #35mm!’ says Kylie.
‘I hope that you remember to find beauty in life even during difficult times. To appreciate the small things. To live in the moment. To be present.’
‘Sign ups are limited, so check us out on Instagram @lostinfilm.usyd right now. Feel free to dm us for more info!’ says Kylie.
Most people are familiar with Humans of New York, the famous photoblog and books that tell the stories of ordinary New Yorkers through photographs and interviews. Inspired by this, PhD candidates Emma Ho, James Puterflam and Alessandra Marcelo created Students of USYD.
‘Students of USYD firmly believe that each student has a unique story to tell, and when shared, these stories can inspire others who are embarking on their own journeys through university,’ says co-creator Emma Ho. ‘Students of USYD aims to celebrate the diverse and colourful voices of students from the University of Sydney, culminating in a printed magazine that will launch in early 2022.’
Our University community is made up of tens of thousands of students from all over the world and with a vast array of lived experiences. Many of us have experienced social isolation over the last two years, and Students of USYD encourages everyone to share and celebrate their stories, showing their courage and strength and fostering connection.
‘We hope that readers will be inspired by the journey of others and become emboldened to celebrates their own successes and fearlessly face the challenges that come their way, to best enrich their student life experience at the University of Sydney,’ says Emma.
‘We are excited to announce the official launch of our Students of USYD website. From the website, you will be able to access the submission link, read student stories, access our social media pages, and contact the Editors. We are inviting all USYD students, and USYD staff members who are affiliated with enriching the student experience, to submit a written story!’
The best and most successful project ideas are usually those rooted in solving real-life needs. Students of USYD identified a gap in the student experience and sought to develop a tangible project to meet this gap.
As well as helping students live in the moment and tell their unique stories, some projects are helping students succeed in their chosen careers – even less common ones such as producing graphic novels. Students Kaitlyn Cho (Student Representative), Ryan Carter (Student Representative) and Ashley Cho (Designer) received funding to create Graphic Novel Awayday (Gday), a series of seminars and live interviews with well-known graphic novel artists to foster the professional development of interested students.
‘I have always been passionate about graphic novels and thought it would be beneficial to students like me if I could arrange a seminar with professional artists where authentic and in-depth information can be shared about the current industry. So, the need of students who are interested in the graphic novel industry inspired me to plan out Gday,’ says Kaitlyn. ‘We also aim to encourage students from diverse backgrounds and disciplines to build social connections with their like-minded peers.’
Gday promises to be a fun, exciting and worthwhile event that will both allow students to learn new skills as well as make new connections, and a networking opportunity for what may seem to be a niche field.
‘I wish Gday can be remembered as an exciting project where individuals can meet professional artists and make friends with others who share similar interests. Also, it would be rewarding if Gday can further enhance student’s interest in graphic novel and promote its charm across the disciplines!’ says Kaitlyn.
These are just three of the 20 projects that received funding, and as they demonstrate, virtually any good idea has the potential to be funded. So if there’s something you’d like to see happen at Uni, but you don’t have the cash to get it off the ground, a Co-curricular Grant could be the way to get it going. And with applications for the 2022 grants set to open in mid-December, now is a great time to start brainstorming ideas.
‘The best and most successful project ideas are usually those rooted in solving real-life needs. Students of USYD identified a gap in the student experience and sought to develop a tangible project to meet this gap. Don’t be afraid to harness your creativity doing so!’ advises Emma.
‘Just start somewhere. Get the ball rolling and don’t look back!’ says Kylie from Project: Lost in Film.
We congratulate all our 2021 Student Co-curricular Grant recipients.