“Stories of Our Town” Newcastle Documentary Series Gets The Green Light

The University of Newcastle’s Cultural Collections and its film maker partners Glenn Dormand (aka Chit Chat von loopin Stab) and Tony Whitaker (Carnivore Films) express their excitement and gratitude at being among one of the five successful applicants sharing $1.2 million from the NSW Government’s Round Five of the Newcastle Port Community Contribution (NPCC) fund.

Stories Of Our Town

The Stories of Our Town Project aims tell Newcastle’s key historic stories through Novocastrian eyes and points of view, and is a great partnership between the film makers and Newcastle’s major Cultural and Educational Institutions.

“Newcastle is evolving at rate unprecedented in its history and only by knowing where we’ve come from can we measure how far we’ve come” said film maker Glenn Dormand. “This project preserves our history through the stories of those who lived it. We are so grateful Newcastle Port also sees the importance and has partnered with us on this project.”

The Stories of Our Town film Project is a partnership between the film makers, the University of Newcastle’s Cultural Collections, the GLAMx Living Histories Digitisation lab, Hunter Living Histories Initiative, NBN Television, City of Newcastle’s major Cultural Institutions; the Newcastle Museum, Local Studies, Newcastle Art Gallery, the Real Film Festival and the Lost Newcastle Facebook Group.

All these institutions will help the film makers in supplying the historical imagery, audio visual archives and documentary evidence of Newcastle’s past needed to provide the background help understand Newcastle’s living character, its achievements, both good and bad, and most importantly where it goes next.

“Our dream has always been to have our key stories told in film and made through local eyes and voices. We’ve always relied on global celebrities to do that for us, and mostly been disappointed with the results.” said Gionni Di Gravio, OAM University Archivist and Chair, Hunter Living Histories. “So I’m very chuffed that for the first time, thanks to this great financial boost from the NSW Government, we can give local born and bred film makers a go at capturing the real character of the place, its people, and the impact Newcastle has had on the rest of the world through these amazing stories”

The Stories of Our Town Project will also provide the next gen of local film makers in the form of collaborations of work integrated learning students from the University’s Schools of Creative Industries and Humanities and Social Sciences in the Auchmuty Libraries GLAMx lab the opportunity to assist Glenn and Tony with the preservation and digitisation of historic audio visual film archives from NBN ( dating from 1962) and the Hunter Region itself ( dating from the mid 1920s) as well as sourcing historic material for the individual stories.

“We are thrilled to see this success for our University library staff involved with this project about storytelling. It shows that stories are at the heart of who we are – our histories and experiences – and provide points of connection between different parts of our wider community”, said the Head of School of Humanities and Social Science, Professor Catharine Coleborne. “Our students opting to take up projects in the GLAMx Lab looking at historical materials including visual and documentary evidence will be able to extend their work experience and learning as part of their degree study in several areas, and bring new stories about our region to light.”

We will create original visual content and document oral histories associated with the Newcastle port, Hunter River, waterways and harbourside. We will also make use of the rich audio visual material contained in the NBN Television archive. Content that is created will be archived at the University of Newcastle (UON).

Press Release 6 April 2020 by The Hon. Taylor Martin MLC, Member of the Legislative Council

Audiovisual content will be on permanent display at the Newcastle Museum, and freely available to the community online at Livinghistories@UON, storiesofourtown.com and Newcastle Library digital platforms.

By making films freely available this allows this resource to be used as an educational tool by schools and tertiary institutions, as well as a promotional resource for attracting visitors, and generally broadens knowledge about culture and history of Newcastle. The availability of the films at the Newcastle Museum and Library enables our stories about Newcastle to be shown to a much larger audience.

Gionni Di Gravio, OAM
University Archivist & Chair, Hunter Living Histories


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