The students of Shepherds Park Education and Training Unit found that the Enlighten for Equity Project was a great opportunity to promote respectful relationships, improve interpersonal skills, in particular positive communication amongst their peers, teachers and staff, along with the ability to recognise what positive and respectful relationships consist of. What was highlighted and had an immediate impact on student learning was the alarming statistics relating to Domestic Violence at a local level, compared to the state average.
The importance of promoting positive and respectful relationships, helped our students recognise how they might positively contribute in their immediate environment, be it home or work place, but rather how this positive approach can enable people to feel accepted, positive and free to be themselves in the wider community.
Our design process started after drawing inspiration from Mount Austin Primary School posters, our students went through the design process which resulted in the final product. The sphere of respect at the top of the sculpture represents signifies “what goes around, comes around” in term of respect and equity, and is a two-way street. The sphere also represents that domestic violence is a global issue with the hands signifying that respect and equity are within all our hands to uphold. The base signifies balance and equity within the scales of justice and the Wiradjuri meaning of respect, Yindyamarra, adorning the river red gum sides of the sculpture. The incorporation of the river redgum ties in the environment of which the sculpture would be located. Our students also saw the location on the banks of the Murrumbidgee as important as the river represents the healing power of water and the concept of moving forward like the river. It was always a priority that the sculpture was to be interactive, the deliberate choice of materials that possessed a contrast of texture – river red gum (rough), Stainless Steel (smooth) will hopeful encourage the desired interaction.
The students of Shepherds Park ETU found the process very rewarding, the idea of giving back to the community provided a great motivation for our students to procedure a quality design. All the ideas and opinions of the students were shared, highly valued and considered throughout the process. Teamwork was encouraged by teachers and staff, but it was the students that promoted the positive contribution that was needed in order to complete the design before the deadline.