Communications & Media

Tasmanian human rights stories under the spotlight

While human rights issues are not something people readily associate with Tasmania, they do exist and need to be talked about openly says University of Tasmania law student and film maker Grace Williams.

One of the recipients of the 2018 Sandy Duncanson Social Justice Bursary, Grace has spent the last 5 months with fellow students Alex Rylah  (Bachelor of Science) and Tim Cooper (Bachelor of Surveying and Spatial Sciences) documenting the human rights experiences of 10 Tasmanians.

The project will culminate in a screening of the film Citizen at the Moonah Arts Centre, this Saturday (Oct 6) at 6pm.

The documentary is aimed at informing people about the impact of human rights violation.

“When I applied for the Sandy Duncanson Social Justice Bursary I thought about the fact that it had been 10 years since the Law Reform Institute proposed for us to have a Human Rights Act to consolidate our rights landscape in Tasmania, yet little had been done to make this happen,” Grace said.

“A lot of people in Tasmania are not aware of the fact that they don’t have a Human Rights Act in law so I thought a documentary of stories would be interesting and would spark that conversation in an innovative way.”

“That’s when I had the idea of a storytelling project and inviting people in the community to share their stories.”

More than 200 hours of interviewing, filming and editing went into making Citizen, which was juggled in between study, deadlines for assignments and work.

A photo journal of pictures taken by photographer and filmmaker Tim Cooper is also part of the project.

While some stories were positive and some negative, Grace said the documentary proved a rewarding journey for many of the participants who wanted to tell their stories.  

Production manager Alex Rylah said many of the stories in the documentary would surprise people.

“How close these stories are to us will really surprise people and some of the stories are incredibly powerful and were difficult to film,” he said.

The Sandy Duncanson Social Justice Bursary was established in memory of Tasmanian lawyer Alexander (Sandy) Duncanson, who died in 2010 at the age of thirty-seven, and was widely respected for his work in the community, legal and housing sectors.

Grace said she was honoured to be recognised with the bursary.

“Sandy Duncanson has a left a legacy that still today empowers positive social transformation; I am proud to be a part of that legacy,” she said.

For tickets and reservations for Citizen email


Published on: 04 Oct 2018 4:55pm