To conicide with NAIDOC Week 2017, Indigenous High School students from around Australia are experiencing what it’s like to live and study at University.  For 15 years Nura Gili’s Winter School has become a staple in many UNSW faculty calendars offering both insight into university life and stepping stones for achieving personal and professional potential.

High School students interested in the program apply to UNSW indicating three main areas of interest.  A competitive selection process ensures that serious students are best matched to the faculties that will enable them to consider real course and career opportunities.  Indigenous students in years 10,11, and 12 who are interested in studies beyond high school are supported to develop skills in engineering, medicine, science, art, design, and law.

UNSW Art & Design is running a program as part of the 2017 Nura Gili Winter School.  Eleven students from cities, towns and suburbs across the state including Ballina, Grafton, Alstonville, Guildford West, Parramatta, the Sutherland Shire, Campbelltown, Coffs Harbor, Maitland, and the Hunter Valley are participating.  During the day they attend classes at the Art & Design campus exploring creative conceptual development and execution in sculpture, painting, printmaking, performance, and digital media.  At night they take part in communal activities on the UNSW main campus at Kensington and bed down at New College, ensuring familiarity with a dormitory experience. 

The packed program aims to be interesting, diverse, and well-rounded.  The goal is for students to be able to visualise a place for themselves in each of the program elements that in total formulate ‘The University Experience’, including academic, cultural, and recreational components.  In addition, the program aims to provide pathways for student to access higher education opportunities in their specific fields of interest and talent. 

For every Winter School participant, this uni-taster can be the best way to introduce dedicated students to a higher education journey. As Tess Allas, Director of Indigenous Programs at UNSW Art & Design explains, “For young people from regional Australia, UNSW can be an overwhelming place: you only need to remember that UNSW employs more people than live in some of these kids’ towns.”

Caressa, a year 12 student from Coffs Habour Senior High School, hopes the program will help lead to her to a professional career in design.  While Courteney, from Guildford West is exploring a wider gamut of create options.  She’s unsure what she would like to do upon graduation from High School, but knows she would like consider tertiary education a genuine possibility especially in a creative field. 

UNSW Art & Design’s Winter School highlight will be an exhibition, open to all, on Thursday afternoon between 3-4pm at ADspace, a student-led gallery on campus coordinated by the student organisation ARC.