The Owl - general

ABC Heywire @ UC

“What are small, mundane moments of joy in your day?”
Student wearing a face mask and writing in a notebook
Student writing in a notebook
“What meal do you like preparing and feel nourished by?”
“What’s a challenge you’ve overcome?”
Two students sitting at a table and writing in notebooks

These are just some of the questions our students explored in a pair of workshops at UC last week, facilitated by Katie McAllister from ABC Heywire.

Heywire is an ABC initiative that has been running since 1998 in collaboration with the Australian Government. The program gives young people in rural and regional Australia a platform to add depth and texture to the representation of the lives of youth outside major cities.

Even though our students had just 90 minutes with Katie, they worked collaboratively to construct the first draft of what will hopefully become their entries into the 2022 Heywire competition.

Four students sitting around a table, some typing on laptops and others writing in notebooks

Katie first inspired everyone by showcasing the work of previous Heywire winners, like Charlotte from Warakurna and Yusuf from Broken Hill, demonstrating how a powerful story can be crafted and told in just two or three minutes.

The students were then asked to turn their attention inwards. “Let’s find your story,” Katie announced.

Katie McAllister speaking to students in front of a computer screen that reads "Building Resilience"

Guided through a series of short-and-sharp writing sessions, each student identified one story from their life and broke it down into discreet moments. Encouraged by Katie to embrace “growth mindset energy”, they started their story in the action and joined it up through those moments with a final declarative statement.

Powerpoint slide that reads "Write for 5 minutes: connect the start of your story to your final line by writing solidly for 5 minutes - quality not quantity."

While not everyone felt comfortable sharing the often raw and emotional drafts they had produced, several students read passages of their text aloud and the impact of those words in the room was immediate and tangible.

We were incredibly lucky to be able to host Katie at UC so she could share her skills and insight with our students. Good luck to all of this year’s Heywire entrants from around Australia — but especially our University of Canberra cohort!