AFTRS head of Indigenous Kyas Sherriff and graduates Grant Maling, Marissa McDowell, Angela Bates, Rebekah Hatfield, Shontell Ketchell, and Maggie Whitehouse.

Three years after AFTRS’ Indigenous Unit was first established, the school has graduated 12 Indigenous students, a record number for the same year.

Six Indigenous students graduated today from AFTRS’ full-time degree courses. Alex Hancock and Timothy Miller graduated from the Bachelor of Arts Screen: Production; Angela Bates and Marissa McDowell from the Master of Arts Screen: Business and Leadership; and Jerome Comisari and Grant Maling from the Graduate Diploma in Radio.

Six Indigenous students also have graduated from discipline specific degree courses: Shontell Leah Ketchell graduated in screenwriting; Micha Barlett in directing; Joel Rasmussen in cinematography; Maggie Whitehouse and Rebekah Hatfield in documentary; and Irma Woods in script editing and development.

The Indigenous Unit was established in 2016 with the aim to develop and support talented Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to study across the school and to create pathways for for them to enter the Australian screen and broadcast industry in every creative role, so that it may better reflect the diversity of Australian society.

“AFTRS is dedicated to finding and supporting the next generation of content creators and we are extremely proud to have 12 Indigenous graduates this year across a range of courses and disciplines,” says AFTRS’ head of Indigenous Kyas Sherriff. “These students graduate with the skills and knowledge to confidently enter the screen and broadcast industries or move to a more senior role. We congratulate this year’s graduates for their achievements and look forward to seeing their impact on this country’s national voice and the world stage in years to come.” Ms Sherriff continues.

Several of this year’s Indigenous graduates have already been given opportunities in the industry. Angela Bates has become development & investment manager of Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department, Grant Maling has received a six-week paid internship at Southern Cross Austereo, andMaggie Whitehouse was a recipient of AIDC 2019 Leading Lights funding.

“Creating new pathways into the School so Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can study at AFTRS and take their stories to the world is extremely important to us,” says AFTRS chief executive Neil Peplow. “The School is built on first nation land, and I hope that Australian culture can be built on first nation foundations too.”

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