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The university environment and surroundings feel very prescribed. Year after year new students come through Victoria, but there is no lasting, or even fleeting, impression of them having been here.
Last year after the earthquake, a temporary wooden wall was erected in the Hub to separate the safe zones from the library, which needed repairs. The following week happened to be Creativity Week at Victoria, and the idea was formed to use the wall as a canvas for students. As in any bureaucracy, approval had to be sought from the University, which was at first hesitant to relinquish control of that space to students.
The result was phenomenal. Over that week, the wall — which extended from the Louis’ kiosk to past the VicBooks one — turned into a vibrant display of paintings, poems, and comics, and even a Good Will Hunting-esque maths equation written by a lecturer, who popped by sporadically to check whether anyone had solved it.
The entire atmosphere of the space changed, and a staff member told me that they felt it was the first time they could hear and see the student voice coming through. It is a shame that it takes a natural disaster to bring people together in this way, but at the same time shows that having creative spaces on campus is not only possible, but also has a real, positive impact on students’ wellbeing. I encourage you as students to seek opportunities, and challenge the university to create space for this kind of creative outlet.
Many studies have shown the correlation between art and wellbeing, and in a campus community such as Victoria, there should be more opportunities for this creative expression.
If you are interested in getting involved in something creative, the Bubble has Pop Art Therapy sessions every Thursday at 12pm. The Bubble is located on Level 2 of the Student Union Building.