An extract from the graduation ceremony speech of Danielle Redford, Bachelor of Film & Screen Media Production.
There was a moment in high school when we were asked to state our preferences for what we would pursue after we graduated. I remember burying film down the bottom, aware of the betrayal even as I did so, far below more practical, reliable choices. The thought of pursuing life as a creator was too confusing, uncertain and full of fear.
Beginning my journey at Griffith marked the start of that fear dying a little more each day.
So many of us have experienced firsthand the way Griffith’s culture has evolved to welcome us in not as a number but as a human. We’ve seen the staff persist with us far beyond the boundaries of what’s required, giving us the gift of their time and energy over and over again. They’ve walked difficult journeys with us, cared for the individual, invested in our success and stood by us in moments of failure.
There is a culture in this institution that facilitates growth, because it makes it safe to explore ideas, even the bad ones. I want to personally thank the staff who have given us their all in this season. Your belief in us and commitment to our journey is unmatched and ever faithful.
We also owe a debt of gratitude to the family and friends who have stood by each of us during this intense, demanding and consuming season. I know my own journey has been marked by extreme highs and lows, which I’ve only been able to sustain because of the love and support of those doing life alongside me.
Thank you to all of you who have stood by us through these moments, whose love, support and commitment has at times made the difference between failure and success. Thank you for collaborating with us in our journeys and for your generosity of spirit in seeing us through to the end.
Griffith’s greatest gift to me has been the removal of fear, leaving in its place a certainty not in what each day will hold, but that the work we do and the way we are wired carries with it deep purpose. The gift of space to explore our skills and talents, to learn when to trust our instincts, to lean into the wisdom of those who have gone before and offer their experiences to us with complete generosity.
“Griffith’s greatest gift to me has been the removal of fear”
The courses we’ve undertaken demand of us vulnerability, both an artist’s great opportunity and their biggest challenge. But in return for that vulnerability, we’ve been drawn into and a part of forging something rare and something precious – a community. Made up of people with varying strengths and abilities, but with one core belief in common – we believe that the pursuit of a life marked by creation matters and is worth everything it costs to achieve.
Human history has been marked by its changes in belief in the value of art and the value placed on our ability to create. As creators, we live in a time of privilege. Our ability to use creative expressions to inform, analyse, commentate and influence the cultures we live in is cemented in the infinitesimal ways our society spends their days, consuming creation in more forms than ever before.
We are hungry for stories that resonate, for something that brings us to a pause with its eloquent truth. We desire to be known, understood, noticed.
We each leave here today and enter into a world marked by unequal parts of beauty and sorrow. The voices we carry have the potential to ring louder and cut through the clamour. I encourage you, as individual artists, to let the weight of that responsibility sit noticeably on your shoulders.
So let the doubt slip off. The exact pattern of our days may be an unknown, but the purpose behind them is as timeless as the sun. Tell the stories of who we are and why we matter. And make them good.
I wholeheartedly believe a new generation of Griffith students will be presented with the same breadth of opportunities and learning experiences we’ve been so blessed to receive, and as a departing cohort, we would like to offer our assistance in ensuring this experience is available.