Voices of the South Side

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Voices of the South Side is a two year Federally funded project which aims to reduce the marginalisation of social & public housing communities in Port Melbourne and South Melbourne through community arts and community development.

Click here for more information.


Eight weeks of hard work is about to pay off for participants of the Speaking Out Course. They will graduate on the 14th October 2015 by giving their final speech to an audience of supportive friends and workers. The Speaking Out Course teaches people public speaking, advocacy and communication skills in a fun and supportive environment. It is a part of the Voices of the South Side (VoSS) program, an exciting new program for people who live in social or public housing in Port Melbourne and South Melbourne to participate in creative projects.  

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Here is more about the course from Valentina Diaz who is a past graduate:

The Speaking Out program was brought to my attention by my case worker. She thought I might be interested, and benefit from it. And boy was it exactly what I needed. I’d always been an outspoken person and very opinionated, awkwardly and inappropriately at times and man was I a terror when I was drunk…  I used to write growing up but drifted away from that as I became jaded and cynical about everything.

So the opportunity to be part of this program where we would find and exercise our voices in a safe environment was awesome, and it wouldn’t cost me a thing which was important as I was still living at Hanover emergency housing in South Bank at the time.

Having been out of uni for a few years, this would also be a retraining of my mental aptitudes and re-integration into the various aspects of education which I would have to engage in once again to move ahead.

We could not be a more diverse group.  Guidelines were established right off the bat to create a respectful and safe environment. The facilitators are two amazingly strong and entertaining women with loads of compassion and community spirit, and a girl that had done the previous course and excelled so well she was asked to help them facilitate this time round.

The program covered:

-       Preparing a speech- the structure

-       Body language- posture, expressions, gestures and eye contact

-       How to get the best out of your voice- vocal variety, speed, pitch, volume and quality

-      Use of silence and pauses for effect

-       Working with words, pronunciation and grammar

-      Communication styles and managing conflict

-       Critical evaluation of each others’ presentations

-      Managing nerves, tension and preparing for presentations

I had just come from a place where the best thing for all was to keep their mouths shut most of the time to either not get in trouble with the screws or other girls.

So with the Speaking Out crew we learnt again to play with and find strength in our voice, discover hidden talents, exercise assertiveness and create a

comfortable place to stand in our own skin physically and metaphorically