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about westies

The Westies project uses drama to explore issues which face young people from the Arabic speaking community in Western Sydney on a day to day basis. Among these issues are racism, the pursuit of multiculturalism and dealing with life in Australia as second and third generation immigrants . The Westies project gives participants an opportunity to use appropriate artforms to express themselves and address some of the negative images which have been thrust upon this community, particularly over the last 18 months.

workshop period
The project workshops will begin on April 22nd. The project will work around identified themes as a way to access the participant's ideas eg. Car culture, sms phone messaging, nightclubs, fashion, image and Hip Hop.

The drama and creative writing workshops take place in April and May. The workshops include Forum Theatre elements and result in the creation of the first draft of a script. The writers continue to work on the script in July and August using the website to feed back material to the participants and allowing the participants to feedback their contributions to the writers. A completed second draft of the script is presented in September. The filming of the script is done by television professionals, camera operators and editors.

An intensive video making workshop takes place in August, teaching participants the technical aspects of video-making. This workshop gives them an insight into the filming process and helps to prepare them for the gruelling shoot period.

documentary

A documentary which charts the progress of the writing/production process is also completed in tandem with the drama. This documenary gives the audience a chance to see the personal lives and everyday tribulations of the participants in the project and sheds light on the sources for the creative work which evolves in the drama, writing and filming stages of the project.

westies website
The website is the communications hub for the project, enabling the interactive discussion on the script development from those within the project and also further afield. Drafts of the script are posted on the site for feedback as the project develops.

blogs
Workers and participants in the project produce Web –logs (known as Blogs) on the Westies website which chronicle their experiences of the project and how it intersects with what is happening in their life outside of the project.

participants
The participants in the Westies project are young people between the ages of 18 and 25 from the Sydney Arabic community. Participants may be employed, unemployed or be full or part-time students. Experience of video-making, acting or writing is not essential.

outcomes
The participants benefit through new skills in drama, communication and technical knowledge. The community benefit through improved networks with arts and media professionals and through validating the talents of its young people through their participation in a successful, high quality arts project.

exit strategy

At the end of the project an exit strategy is devised with the participants which includes practical workshops and follow up interviews to advise them on how to develop their new skills and to assist them in their arts careers.

personnel

Some of the artists involved in the project are Enda Murray, TJ Eckleberg, Claudia Chidiac, Patrick Abboud, Melissa Cooper, Lamia Dabboussy, Monique Potts, Brian Rapsey, and Cinzia Guaraldi. Artists’ bios can be found on the about us page.

funding

Westies has received funding from the Australia Council , the NSW Ministry for the Arts and Metro Screen.



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