A part of community, not apart from it.

“We should be the ones leading the way, shaping the culture and advocating for marginalised and oppressed.”

Michelle Sanders, the smiling face behind the creative arts and community development courses at Eastern College Australia, has so much passion to bring to her teaching and through studying the Bachelor of Applied Social Science with a major in Community Development, students will be able to learn so much more than just the coursework from Michelle.

When the Bachelor of Applied Social Science was approved to go full steam ahead at Eastern, Michelle was a bundle of delighted energy moving throughout the office. Asked about her obvious enthusiasm for the course, Michelle replied: “I just love the marginalised and oppressed, and I think that we should be dispensers of equity, empowering each other to be able to help others.”

Michelle has developed her coursework because of what she has been involved with over her years working in community development, and she is especially excited to see the combination of art and community development run alongside each other and the impact that this can have upon people.

“Studies have shown that when you take someone on a creative pursuit, information is processed in the unconscious, so art has a way of helping us process life and has the power to change a negative view.”

Inspiring and growing Michelle’s passion for helping people has been her involvement in various programs and organisations. Each year, for the past 8 years, Michelle has travelled to a Chicago prison to run an art program with the prisoners there. She has also visited other prisons around the world – with one particular experience where the sincerity of the heart of one particular prisoner in a Romanian prison especially having impacted her. Through these visits to prisons, Michelle and the team have the privilege of seeing individuals transformed, meeting people who are defined by the worst thing that they have ever done and communicating to them that there is so much more to their identity and their past does not define their future.

The painting group enjoying one of Michelle’s creative worship nights.

As the founder of an organisation called ‘Art and Soul’, Michelle is currently involved in running groups in Dandenong for girls at risk of commercial sexual exploitation and for people who suffer from anxiety and depression. Some of her work is also done from the location of the L’ Arte Central Cafe a cafe that employs people with mental health challenges so that they are empowered to get into the workforce. For students considering undertaking the Bachelor of Applied Social Science, there will be opportunities to join Michelle, and complete a placement at the L’Arte Central Cafe, running community building art workshops.

Through studying the Bachelor of Applied Social Science, students will learn to empower, strengthen and advocate for the community, how to approach and treat people equally and will be equipped to become leaders of social change.

Find out more about the course here

CREDIT: Thank you Catherine Doedens for your work on this piece.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *