University students help Timorese youth arts projects

January 14 / 127

Endure crew enjoy time at the beach
Endure crew enjoy time at the beach

In late 2013, Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) students Amanda Huskard, Bryan Phillips and Chris Parkinson, with Chemical Engineering PhD candidate Joseph Richardson, received two DreamLarge grants to teach East Timorese youth valuable skills to document Timorese art, dance and music.

The students worked collaboratively on the two-week long project in Dili to empower East Timorese youth at risk in ways that is culturally constructive.

Bryan worked with five or six local youth groups and helped them to produce songs from genres as diverse as punk, hip-hop, house, and culturally inspired music on a donated portable ipad music studio.

Chris helped some of the youth learn how to film and document Timorese art, dance and music through photography. As dance coordinator, Joseph taught breakdance and hip hop to one female dominated group and one male dominated group.

Amanda worked with a group of United Nations members specifically focused on female engagement as the project included a number of young women.

The project was documented by the young participants and resulted in a performance choreographed by those learning breakdancing, who performed to the songs created in a mobile studio.

The trip also culminated in a significant art exhibition at the partner organisation, Arte Moris, the cultural hub of the Timorese artistic community.

Hundreds of locals and internationals attended the exhibition, providing great publicity for the young performers and artists and for Arte Moris.

The group members have become local leaders and celebrities especially after the first trip.

 “This project has become truly sustainable for Dili and hopefully will move out into the districts soon,” said Joseph.

 “One crew, Endure, has recently won a few national dance competitions and gained a great deal of notoriety. They want to spread their knowledge of dance to the districts and we hope to get the opportunity to facilitate this.”

 “This would extend the sustainability of this project to the national level by allowing locals to teach locals,” he said.

 The team members were thankful to receive the DreamLarge grant and the Timorese youth were very appreciative to the University of Melbourne.

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