Network Symposium – University New South Wales, Australia

The inaugural international symposium of the Childhood and Nation in World Cinema network took place from Monday the 28th until Thursday the 31st of July 2014 at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Hosted by Network Partner Professor Stephanie Hemelryk Donald, the symposium incorporated events taking place over four days attracting up to one hundred and thirty attendees. The programme is available here: Australia Childhood and Nation in World Cinema programme

The symposium began with an introduction to and screening of the film 52 Tuesdays, followed by an interview with the director Sophie Hyde, attended by over 50 people. The second day of the symposium saw three academic panels adopting a novel approach which attendees found enabled more profound and rigorous academic discussion. Conference papers that were submitted and read beforehand were then summarised by discussants who facilitated constructive debate and feedback around the panel themes “Global Cinema”, “Europe” and “From the Americas to the World.”

The penultimate day’s events were brought to a close by Professor Donald’s public “So What?” lecture on child migrants in film attended by one hundred and thirty people including many members of the public. Professor Emma Wilson has written about the lecture here.

The fourth and final day of the symposium focused further on engaging with young people. Eighteen pupils from Fairfield High School, along with their teacher, Rebecca Goldsmith, and the filmmaker, Enda Murray, visited the iCinema at the invitation of Dennis del Favero in order to partake in a virtual reality experiences and workshops. Sarah Wright and Emma Wilson engaged in discussion on film with the pupils. Fairfield High School, a “multicultural, co-educational learning community” is committed to providing quality education to students from diverse backgrounds. For many of the students in attendance, stories of migration formed a crucial part of their own lived experience. The films made by Fairfield pupils are available to view here. The final event saw Sarah Wright and Emma Wilson take part in a Postgraduate Masterclass with four postgraduate students who benefited from the expertise of Wright and Wilson in this close learning environment.