ABC strengthens cultural ties in Western Sydney

The ABC has partnered with Australia’s first multimedia public space storytelling project, Storybox Parramatta, as the national broadcaster looks to strengthen its presence in Western Sydney.

Snapshots of life in Parramatta from the 1950s and 1960s, drawn from the ABC Archives, forms a central part of the ABC’s contribution to the three dimensional Storybox platform, which launches in Parramatta Square today.

ABC Managing Director David Anderson said Storybox gave the ABC the opportunity to tell local stories at a local level from within the heart of the Parramatta community.

“Earlier this year we opened our first Western Sydney newsroom in Horwood Place, Parramatta, to strengthen the ABC’s coverage of Western Sydney’s diverse communities. Over the next five years we are committed to relocating around 200 ABC staff outside of our Ultimo headquarters and many we hope will find their new working home in the Parramatta area.”

Mr Anderson said the ABC would like to have a larger presence in the proposed cultural precinct in Parramatta and were in talks with the NSW Government to make that happen. “Our local and regional services are at their best when they are working from within their local communities,” he said.

The ABC’s Content Ideas Lab has curated a series of stories for the Parramatta community which include archival footage of an Italian farming family in Epping in 1958; a wool fashion parade at Elizabeth Farm in 1959; Cedars of Lebanon footage along with interviews with community members from 1963; and a Ukrainian/Australian ballet performance recorded at the Parramatta Town Hall in 1959. There is also animated Indigenous language lessons as well as a look to the future with interviews from local residents about what they want their community to look like after the pandemic.

City of Parramatta Lord Mayor Cr Bob Dwyer said: “Council is proud to be a key partner in Australia’s first Storybox – a new media platform in the world-class Parramatta Square precinct that allows our diverse community to share their own stories about Parramatta in an innovative way.”

Storybox Parramatta has been created by digital placemaking studio Esem Projects in partnership with the City of Parramatta, ABC Content Ideas Lab, Western Sydney University, Story Factory, FORM Dance Projects and Curious Works.

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