Student experience goes beyond the lecture theatre at Southbound

January 22, 2015

Festival goers enjoy the photobooth set designed by Murdoch theatre and drama students

Festival goers enjoy the photobooth set designed by Murdoch theatre and drama students

A long standing partnership between Murdoch University and Sunset Events enabled Murdoch students to put theory into practice at this year’s sold out Southbound music festival.

As principal sponsor of the event, student volunteers engaged festival goers in a range of quirky activities that saw them gain on the job experience by directly applying the skills gained through their degrees.

Photography, theatre and drama, sound and radio, engineering, veterinary and life sciences students and volunteers from the Murdoch Sports Centre ensured punters were never short of something to do during the two-day camping and music festival extravaganza.

Theatre and Drama PhD students Allison Bell and Jason Dean Hatchett designed impressive sets for the interactive photobooth and recycled fish sculpture activities that were run by photography and veterinary and life sciences students at the festival.

Ms Bell jumped at the chance to be involved in an event as large and high profile as Southbound as a Murdoch student volunteer.

“This was a once in a lifetime opportunity to showcase the skills and expertise I’ve developed through my studies in set design at Murdoch to an instant audience of more than 10,000 like-minded people,” she said.

“What amazing exposure. Not to mention the fact that I got to collaborate with Murdoch students from other schools to design and develop engaging activities that were really relevant to an audience with a shared love of music and art.”

Creative genius saw engineering students Kieran Peters and Daniel Hoy build a series of solar powered wheelie bin sound systems to broadcast Southbound Radio (also run solely by Murdoch’s Radio students) at various points throughout the campgrounds in a sustainable and unique way.

“We used an existing concept for the sound systems, but improved the design and functionality specifically for this event,” Mr Hoy said.

For Mr Peters, the challenge of creating something sustainable, robust and portable was a great test of his skills.

“Seeing the sound systems put to good use on site, and being able to trouble shoot any technical issues as we went along was not only fun, but a really valuable learning experience,” he said.

Murdoch University Acting Vice Chancellor, Professor Andrew Taggart was delighted with the opportunities the partnership provided Murdoch students.

“Murdoch’s involvement at such an iconic, Western Australian event provided the University with a unique and valuable opportunity to engage with young people in an authentic and meaningful way,” Professor Taggart said.

“Not only was this a fantastic opportunity for our most valuable brand ambassadors, our students, to apply their skills in a real-world setting, it also allowed the University to showcase its strengths in engagement, learning and teaching.

“Giving our students the opportunity to gain such significant exposure is one way that Murdoch is proud to supports its prospective graduates on their career journeys, and is synonymous with our vision and values.”

Other activities at the festival included:

  • Bringing back Bush Court: Run by Murdoch student volunteers from a number of schools, the University’s most recognisable landmark and famous chill out zone included a camp flag making station using recycled materials that saw festival goers make their own tent flags.
  • Murdoch-Red Cross op shop: The University collected clothing donations of a period of months prior to the festival, establishing an op-shop and ‘customisation station’ on site that allowed punters to tailor their purchases to their personal style while raising funds for the charity.
  • Southbound Radio: Run entirely by Sound and Radio students, Southbound Radio was broadcast daily from 8am – 6pm.
  • Photobooth: A popular attraction featuring a set designed by Murdoch’s PhD Theatre and Drama students and run solely by photography students.
  • Giant Fish Recycled Sculpture: Designed by Murdoch’s Theatre and Drama PhD students, and run by students from the School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, this activity encouraged festival goers to recycle their empty drink cans by ‘feeding’ them to the giant fish sculpture.
  • Murdoch-Southbound Silent Disco, a very popular festival activity saw six talented broadcast students DJ’ing on a Murdoch channel alongside some of Perth’s top DJ’s.
  • Silent Yoga Classes: Run by instructors from Murdoch Sports Centre, the silent disco area was transformed into a tranquil space for festival goers to calm the mind and stretch their weary limbs after a night of dancing and camping.

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