Animation students spread hope and kindness in 'Isonotes' belonging project

Animation students spread hope and kindness in 'Isonotes' belonging project

With face-to-face classes on hold, RMIT animation students collaborated remotely to create GIF cards of positivity during isolation.

Isonotes was a voluntary project for students from the Bachelor of Design (Animation and Interactive Media) created to maintain student engagement and creativity in a positive and collaborative way.

Lecturer and industry fellow Rebecca Hayes ran the project with support from School of Design lecturer Helen Dickson and voluntary industry collaboration from animator and illustrator Laura Eldar.

The collaboration involved 25 second and third-year animation students, who created more than 60 'GIF cards' published on a self-contained website and verified GIPHY account.

Hayes said she was inspired to connect with students in a constructive way that would put a smile on people’s faces in light of negativity in the media.

“The wholesome and positive aspect was a real change of pace and suited the situation we were in," Hayes said.

The cheerful animations included ‘thank you notes’ to essential workers, ‘reach out notes’ just to say hello, and ‘occasion notes’ to make spending a special day in isolation that little bit easier.

Hayes said engagement at an industry level and the ability for students to test their skills in different ways were key parts of the project.  

“We wanted to give them a form of connection that was industry-based or gave them something they could practise their skills with,” said Hayes.

It was the first time working with GIFS for second-year animation student Indigo Colquhoun, who said the project taught her new ways of working within the discipline.  

“I learnt a lot about the value of collaboration in creative projects,” Colquhoun said.

“Everyone had different strengths that they brought to the project, we would nominate ourselves for different roles and sometimes a few of us would work together on the one outcome,” Colquhoun said.

Acting Associate Dean of Digital Design Mark Lycette said regular remote meetings and check-ins fostered belonging and wellbeing between students and staff within the project and the broader program.

“In the animation program we endeavour to build a sense of belonging and community,” Lycette said.

For many of the students, the project was a way to stay connected to the university community and peers after classes were put on hold.

For Colquhoun, the highlight of the project was seeing it from start to finish.

“Getting to be involved in the development of the idea at its early stages to seeing it being completed now feels really rewarding,” Colquhoun said.

To view all the GIF cards and a full list of students visit the project website.

GIF authors:

  • Remote learning: Julian Hudson-Jones
  • Thank you researchers: Indigo Colquhoun
  • Social dis-dancing: Eloise Lohrey


Story: Sasha Sweatman

27 August 2020


27 August 2020


  • Society
  • Arts and culture
  • Student experience

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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.