Time for a change: I Can

June 22, 2017 // Colleen Hughson // No Comments // Posted in Blog, Community

If you take look at the Australian national education and employment statistics for people on the Autism Spectrum you’d be pretty horrified, they are very low. Whats worse is they don’t have to be this way at all, there is plenty that can be done to change them. Why not aim towards statistics that as a community we can be proud of?

As a society we need to do a lot more to understand and support people on the Autism Spectrum. Our schools need to change and our workplaces need to change in order to embrace people on the spectrum. Our society has a lot to gain by accepting, valueing and encouraging people in autism spectrum.

The I Can Network is changing attitudes about people on the Autism Spectrum Disorder through the power of story. A big part of the I Can Network mentoring program is to encourage young, shy kids on the spectrum to stand up and deliver public speeches. It is no doubt a huge leap for these young people, who are generally not confident in social situations. Hearing their personal stories is a very powerful thing and leaves one both empathetic and hopeful.
Founded by Chris Varney, the I Can Network movement is still in its early stages but is fast growing to be Australia’s No.1 Autism support network. It provides education and employment growth and opportunities. And just as importantly it instills confidence in its participants and hope for the future.

This video explains what the I Can South West is, how it came to South West Victoria, why it needs your support and why I Can should be in every town in the country. I hope this film leaves you inspired.

More Info:

I Can Network website

I Can Network Facebook

I Can South West (Victoria) Facebook


Everyone loves the Silver Ball

June 22, 2017 // Colleen Hughson // No Comments // Posted in Blog, Community

It is hard to imagine Warrnambool without the FJ’s Silver Ball on the skyline, but just a few years ago its future was in jeopardy.

Keeping the Ball in the air from First Ladies – Colleen Hughson on Vimeo.

Full of rust and a public safety concern, the ball was going to be taken down unless someone took responsibility for looking after it.

Back in 2014 when Tonia Wilcox started up the Save the Fletcher Jones Silver Ball & Gardens Facebook page, she had no way to knowing what a following and impact the page would have.

It was through this Facebook page that the Fletcher Jones Silver Ball & factory was bought and spared from a demolishment by neglect. It was also through this Facebook page that an outpouring of public love for the Silver Ball was expressed, along with stories of the FJ’s factory in its heyday.

Those stories, videos and photos shared on the Facebook page inspired the FJ’s community stories project and the development of a website to host those stories. It also inspired the creation of this 30 min documentary titled ‘Keeping the Ball in the air.’

In a world where social media gets so much bad press, the FJs campaign story is a great example of how social media can work effectively; how it can create social change and how it can connect people and create community.

There are plenty of people owed thanks to the telling of this story. As the filmmaker, I’d like to acknowledge that the film was made with crowd-sourced media. I’d like to thank all the people who made this film possible through contributing their photos, videos, newspaper clippings, artwork images and documentary memorabilia.


Back to the ABC…well, for a time

April 29, 2017 // Colleen Hughson // No Comments // Posted in Blog, People

I took some time off from my business in 2016 to enjoy a stint back at the ABC in the role of ABC Open Producer (south west Victoria). ABC Open is a project that works with regional Australians to create great videos, photos and written stories to share on the ABC. The stories produced are shared on ABC radio, web and TV. It’s a great opportunity for people in regional areas to have their voices heard. And for me, it gives me great personal satisfaction to share stories from my hometown and region. Here are some of my favourite stories I created during my 3-month secondment.