Western Sydney Making Spaces fund is creating opportunities for local young musicians

Local artist Kealoana before her performance at Street University Mt Druitt's Street Sessions event

Local artist Kealoana before her performance at Street University Mt Druitt’s Street Sessions event.

We spoke with Senior Workshop Facilitator, Stan Campbell and Ian Escandor, Assistant Manager from The Street University on their successful application to the Western Sydney Making Spaces fund.

Why did you apply for the Western Sydney Making Spaces fund?

The Street Universities are focused on the reconnection of young people with their community and the cultivation of social inclusion. We use music and other artistic forms as vehicles for encouraging involvement, creativity, goal-setting, self-expression and skills development. An immediate benefit to participants is a significant increase in their personal capacities, access to material and social resources and their ability to be included in society, so the Western Sydney Making Spaces fund was just the sort of funding program we’ve been looking for.

Can you tell us how The Street University has made use of the Western Sydney Making Spaces Fund?

At both Liverpool and Mt Druitt the funding has allowed us to create an imaginative and open space that enables young disadvantaged musicians to be able to create and to develop professional artistic skills. Importantly, we’ve been able to pay the young people who take part in the project.

The young musicians will be paid to run the studio including recording music, publishing music, promoting artists and creating live music events. The funds will help to kick-start careers within Western Sydney by enhancing the profile of art and culture in the area, educating future artists, and strengthening the community image and awareness of home-grown art.

The fund was highly competitive, and applications had to be strong. How did you approach the application process?

We had a number of meetings where we gathered together managers and creative staff and workshopped ideas that would fit both the guidelines and the Street Uni ethos. Once we had a clear artistic direction in mind we talked with some people at Create NSW to make sure that it was the sort of thing that would fit with their approach. While Create NSW can’t help you write your application, they can offer general advice about whether your idea is in keeping with the objectives of the funding.

A real strength of our application was our extensive experience in working with disadvantaged young people in Western Sydney and in using arts-based workshops to support them in reconnecting with their community and reaching their potential.

What tips do you have for someone applying to the Western Sydney Making Spaces Fund?

Do your research, try out your idea first on a small scale before you apply. That way you’ll have a good idea about facts and figures instead of trying to guess. Read the guidelines carefully to make sure that both your organisation and project are eligible. Attend one of the Create NSW Roadshows so you’ll get to meet some of the friendly staff
first-hand and discuss with them your ideas and concepts. Most importantly, be honest and as clear as possible in your application about what you’ll do and what you hope to achieve.

Has the fund impacted the lives and careers of the students at The Street University?

The funding will generate opportunities for young artists in terms of exposure and by providing them with the skills they require to assume responsibility for their own careers.

Our programs are specifically designed for and in consultation with participants and operate in highly visible youth-friendly environments. We have particularly strong ties with Indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse communities and our two Making Spaces projects are geared towards the celebration of cultural diversity and the promotion of tolerance. This will have the benefit of achieving non-artistic outcomes that build individual resilience and a stronger community.

About The Street University

The Street University is a youth development project created by the Ted Noffs Foundation which provides various community-based services and interactive spaces for people aged 12 – 25. The Street University’s trained directors, mentors and facilitators use a multifaceted range of youth work, counselling and community development techniques to combine progressive approaches to social work with grassroots community participation.

Check out The Street University Street Sessions videos below:

Part One

Part Two

Published: 1 November 2018