Current Students

“All I want is for them to axe that stupid show”

Karen Wills

A lot can change in five years and a team from the School of Sociology and Social Work at UTAS is keen to find out just how much.

In 2006, researchers led by Dr Karen Willis partnered with the Launceston City Council to invite 1170 primary school pupils from across Northern Tasmania to write down their hopes and aspirations.

Known as the Tree of Hope, the project drew responses that were precocious, humorous and often touching.

Interviewed in 2006, Grade 3 pupil Scott said his biggest hope was for “no more Mcleod’s Daughters”; Scott was no doubt pleased when Channel 9 cancelled the Australian TV series in 2009, following a steep dive in the ratings.

Another Grade 3 pupil, Amber, who wanted to be Australia’s first female prime minister, has probably also re-evaluated her hopes and aspirations since Julia Gillard took office.

Grade 5 pupil Brett hoped to become an official protector of Launceston “just in case aliens invade”, while Grade 1 pupil Jayden proposed a revolutionary new economic system, whereby each Australian was handed $1000 each week but had to give half to someone else.

Many pupils also outlined their hopes for world peace, the environment, and their communities.

Now, five years later, Dr Willis and her team are meeting up with some of these children again to find out how their hopes have changed.

Two workshops will be held on September 7, and September 17, to allow the researchers to re-interview some of the original participants.

Dr Willis said the team was hopeful of hosting an exhibition later in the year to outline the results from the second round of interviews.

Picture: The School of Sociology and Social work team behind the Tree of Hope project Claire Green, Dr Karen Willis and Mara Schneiders.

Published on: 25 Aug 2011 11:11am