Young People to Take Over ABC Melbourne

The ABC has announced the 31 young winners of the inaugural Takeover Melbourne storytelling competition.

Takeover Melbourne is a new initiative from the ABC in partnership with VicHealth, Resilient Melbourne and the Centre for Multicultural Youth, amplifying the voices of young Melburnians (aged 12 to 18 years).

Despite the many challenges faced by Melburnians this year, hundreds of young people from across Melbourne stepped up to share their stories. Thirty-one winners were selected, representing each of the local Government areas of Greater Melbourne, to have their stories featured on the ABC.

Swathi Shanmukhasundaram, CMY’s Project Support Officer who worked on the project, said she initially worked on outreach to get as many young people and stakeholders involved, and then helped support young people to enter with either a written story or a video.

“It had its challenges due to COVID-19, but we adapted and ran online workshops to take young people through how to write a story. The initiative showed why youth voice and participation is really important.”

Swathi also adapted a CMY leadership training module for Takeover Melbourne and worked with some of the participants one-on-one to help up-skill and support them to produce their stories for digital, radio and video. “Because of the lockdown we couldn’t proceed with a summit format so I helped translate that into a fortnightly workshop format to ensure that young people walked away with skills and also had the chance to connect with other young people from all across Melbourne.”

From growing up with Tourette’s Syndrome, to overcoming internalised racism, from finishing year 12 during COVID-19, to rebuilding after the Black Saturday bushfires, the stories showcase the resilience and talent of the city’s young people. From disability advocates and geologists, to musicians and sport fanatics, the 32 stories paint a vivid picture of Melbourne in 2020.

For Swathi, to see young people owning their stories was one of the best parts of working on this project.

“There was so much diversity across the stories and people have a lot to learn from what these young people have to say – some of the stories were particularly difficult and some made me cry even when I was working with them.”

Director of ABC Regional and Local, Judith Whelan, said the Takeover Melbourne Competition is an important platform for young people living in Greater Melbourne to make a difference.

“Congratulations to all of the winners for proudly sharing your courageous and powerful stories. Stories like these have the ability to bring us together as a community.”

A virtual Gala launch event hosted by Swathi will be held on December 3 and live streamed on the ABC Melbourne Facebook page.

The Takeover Melbourne winners will be showcased across the ABC, so keep an eye out for their stories on ABC Radio Melbourne and on ABC TV. To see the full list of Takeover Melbourne winners and hear their stories:

Takeover Melbourne is made possible through partnership with Resilient Melbourne, VicHealth and the Centre for Multicultural Youth, as well as with the support of the 32 local councils of Greater Melbourne.