Fitzroy High School, VIC
The Cabinet of Lost and Found, 2008
Fitzroy High School was closed in 1992. After a passionate eleven year campaign by parents and residents, the school re-opened in 2004 with a mandate for educational innovation. In order to foster an environment where strong relationships could develop between teachers and students, enrolments were capped, with no more than 100 students accepted in a year level. Fitzroy High values children as individuals, learners and contributors. Our aim is that Fitzroy students will become life long learners, reflective and creative thinkers, and responsible and active citizens. The small size of the school enables us to get to know our students well, and to establish deep relationships in order to engage students in an intellectually challenging education based on powerful ideas which help them toward social maturity and active participation in Australian society.
Fitzroy High School was the first interstate school to take part in Red Room Education.
With Australian poet Briohny Doyle, Red Room Education ran workshops during Fitzroy's 'Excel' sessions. These personalised learning sessions gave students a stake in their education and addressed the unique strengths, interests and priorities of students with the guidance and support of their teachers and families. Students participating in the construction of the 'Cabinet of Lost and Found' specifically selected this session to expand their poetry writing skills. As a result, the poetry class – run by year 9 teacher Briony O’Keeffe in conjunction with The Red Room Company – was a passionate space occupied by enthusiastic, engaged young students.The class worked toward the creation of an installation and live event in the school library. They created a series of diorama-like spaces and talismanic objects in which to display their poems, and recreated the library into a dimly lit, decorated exhibition space. The students performed their work in the evening to an audience of friends, teachers, family and the Red Room.
Briohny Doyle writes for performance and the page. She makes the zine largeflightlessbird, has recieved commissions from Red Room Company and the MCA. She works in kitchens for minimum wage. Briohny's poem 'The Widest Wide Shot', featured in The Poetry Picture Show project. Briohny worked with Fitzroy High School in the 2008 Red Room Education program. She has performed her spoken word at the State Library of NSW, the Art Gallery of NSW, the Sydney Writers’ Festival and the Museum of Contemporary Art. She has published criticism and poetry in Overland, Cordite, Voiceworks and Going Down Swinging. Her short fiction has been anthologised and in 2002 earned her a Dymocks/Northern Territory Literary Award. In 2005 she co-wrote and performed in hit Sydney Festival show Slamming.
In 2009 she completed a sci-fi novel about 'cinematic disaster', was commended in the Judith Wright Poetry Prize and received an Australia Council for the Arts New Work Grant to develop a spoken word show.