Last Wednesday night, the University of Technology Sydney held its biannual Social Justice and Human Rights Award ceremony in the Great Hall of the Broadway campus. The award recognises staff and students who have made contributions to the advancement of social justice or human rights at a local, national, or international level.
As both a student and staff member of UTS, I was thrilled to receive the ‘Creative Media Social Justice Award’ (for the creators of an audio/visual and/or multi-media project in which human rights and social justice themes are explored). I was nominated for my work on EngageMedia’s Papuan Voices project, including the organisation of Camp Sambel, at which three Papuan Voices videomakers participated in distribution and security training
While I play just one part in this complex project, I am very proud of this award and believe it is a great indicator of the reception of Papuan Voices on a global scale. Papuan Voices is not so much about demanding that mainstream media take notice of the appalling situation in West Papua, as it is about helping Papuans tell their own stories, produce those stories as videos, and get them out into the world. It was particularly excellent to be recognised in this category, which shows that human rights work can be creative, innovative, and collaborative. The other nominated projects were of a very high standard and included the SBS series ‘Once Upon a Time in Cabramatta’ (Andrew Jakubowicz) and the youth movement ‘Silence is Betrayal’ (Toha Mohamed).
It was also very encouraging to know that there are so many people at UTS committed to equity, justice, and sustainability. Too many of us go about our own busy working lives without taking the time to find out what the person in the next classroom is doing.
I would also like to mention the recipient of the Jo Wilton Memorial Award for Women, which went to Sydney Friends of Bumi Sehat, for their sustained support of the Bumi Sehat clinic in Bali which provides a clean and safe birthing place for local women.