RMIT students have collaborated on a street art project to raise awareness about constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians.
The Recognise This campaign is a grassroots movement that aims to gain recognition in the Australian Constitution for the 40,000 year history of Australian indigenous peoples and remove any elements of racial discrimination.
Final year students Bachelor of Communication (Public Relations) students Holly Brambley, Abbey Harrington, Rebecca van Essen and Lauren Mikkor worked with the campaign to develop a communication strategy to inform young people of the need for and importance of amending the constitution.
Holly Brambley, a descendant of the Anmatyerre people who has grown up on Dunghutti land, said: “Constitutional recognition for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and getting young people heard in the political debate is a personal issue for me but something we were all passionate about.
“Working with Recognise This we have been able to put into practice the knowledge and skills we have learnt in the PR degree to help create positive change.”
Justin Rogers, who lectures in the Public Relations program, said: “Applying the theory learned in the classroom to a real world client facing a communication problem is an invaluable learning experience for PR students, many of whom are about to graduate and transition into the workforce.
“This course is about connecting students to industry through real world projects and tangible outcomes.
“Students are mentored by senior industry professionals throughout the project to ensure they are equipped to face the challenges of a rapidly changing environment and to give them the confidence to succeed beyond graduation.”
Young voters represent about 30 per cent of the electorate and will play a key role in the next referendum, for which a date is expected to be announced soon.
The street art project features large scale black and white portraits of RMIT and Australian Catholic University (ACU) students and is designed to provide a platform for young people to share their faces and stories in support of constitutional recognition.
The public relations students developed a media strategy allowing participants to share their views on the need for constitutional change, which focused on the cultural contribution and the unique heritage and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders that have helped shape the Australian identity.
The students also took the project off the walls and into the digital space, encouraging young people to take a self-portrait and share via Instagram to spread the message.
The communication strategy developed by the students will be used by Recognise This for future street art projects planned at Australian universities.