The SOUL crew have had a very busy couple of weeks, with 2016 kicking off with a bustle of activity across all areas of the SOUL Award, including over 500 hundred new sign-ups, the first SOUL workshop sessions, and the fresh start of the 2016 SOULstar program.
In 2015 UTS Shopfront’s Penelope (Penny) Stannard officially became a 'Doctor of Philosophy’. Penny began her PhD in 2011 with then UTS Shopfront's Academic Director, Professor Paul Ashton, as her principal supervisor, and completed it in June this year. Her thesis, titled Cultural policy in an Australian suburb: A study of Campbelltown, Sydney, from the mid-1950s to 1988, builds on her twenty year industry experience in the Australian arts and cultural sector.
In mid 2015, after a period of intense growth within the SOUL Award program, the UTS Shopfront launched SOULstar - an initiative to train SOUL students in leadership and facilitation to meet a growing demand for the SOUL workshops. The pilot program, which officially launched in July, recruited 13 students committed to a series of challenging workshops, mentorships, and facilitation practice. This semester SOULstars have co-facilitated over 15 workshops, and have each attended over 30 hours of training.
One of UTS Shopfront's most high-profile collaborations in 2015 has been with Mums4Refugees, a grassroots advocacy group comprised of mothers coming together to find ways to bring positive changes to Australia’s treatment of refugees and the immigration detention system. A group of Visual Communication students produced a powerful animation for the organisation, that went viral less than a week after project completion.