How to Close the Gap with a snap

Educating for change, Indigenous Australia article written on the 29 Feb 2016

Students huddle around a mobile phone to showcase their interest in the Close the Gap Instagram challenge

We’ve created an Instagram photo challenge especially for Australian students to help Close the Gap.

If you’re into Instagram, you may have noticed these little things called photo challenges taking the world by storm.

Every day, people create themes that inspire thousands of people to get creative, take photos and post them onto Instagram.

So we’ve created our own photo challenge, especially for Australian students. Adding your creative voice is a powerful way to help raise awareness and inspire others in your community.

Plus it’s showing off young people at the forefront of this movement, and all the awesome events and activities you’re doing across the country.

Last year we received more than 140 entries from across the nation, with the images receiving more than 1000 ‘likes’. And when you hear the story of the students behind last year’s winning photo, it’s clear the challenge is much more than mucking around on social media, or even being heard on issues of national importance.

It’s also about transformational experiences — the kind that we can all be proud of.

The winning photo

Ce’lanne, Isiah, Sunita, Lloyd, Maxine, Samson and Shaun from Centralian Middle School in Alice Springs won for their photo for the ‘In our hands’ theme. The shot involved painting a classroom window with their hands, then using a lamp to illuminate the shadows.

NCTGD_WINNER 2015

The students were supported by teacher Rebecca Hunter, who said her students loved taking part in the photo challenge, not least because the health issues Close the Gap deals with are the reality for many of her students and their communities.

“After we had a long discussion about Close the Gap in class, the students’ got really determined. They were saying ‘Well, I’m not going to be like that, because I’m going to be healthy and I’m going to keep going to school,” Miss Hunter said.

“The fact that the challenge was creative was perfect, because it was so easy to do and it gave them an outlet to express their feelings and determination. Plus they loved that we got to use an iPhone in class.”

The win is even sweeter, as the students are part of ‘Small Group 3’, a group of students experiencing behavioural or emotional difficulties, or mild intellectual disabilities. Their vision of a world where the Gap is closed just beat the entire nation.

“The students and everyone in and around the school is so excited and proud that we’ve won,” Rebecca said. “We’ve put it in on our Facebook, in our school newsletter and the students are also doing a presentation at assembly showing their photos to the school.”

To say we’re proud too is an understatement.

So how does the photo challenge work? It’s mega easy.

First things first, follow @closethegapcampaign on Instagram. Each day, from 14–18 March, take a photo that fits in with the daily theme.

Day 1, Monday 14 March: Wellbeing
Day 2, Tuesday 15 March: Identity
Day 3, Wednesday 16 March: My, your, our future.
Day 4, Thursday 17 March: Decade
Day 5, Friday 18 March: Journey

Once you’ve snapped your masterpiece, it’s time to show us. Upload your photo to Instagram, apply a fantastic filter and add a caption.

This next bit is super important. Make sure you use #ctgstudents and @closethegapcampaign in the caption, so we know the photo is part of the competition. If you forget, you can post it as a comment and we’ll still find you.

Check out other students’ photos by searching for #ctgstudents.

We only have two rules:

1. No faces allowed in photos! And always get people’s permission if you’re taking photos of them. We take your privacy super seriously. While this means our challenge is a selfie-free zone (awww!), on the upside it means you can go crazy taking the most creative photos ever. Crop images in unique ways, take some super-close ups, focus on hands and feet, snap objects rather than people — the options are endless.

2. Any photo you submit must be your own. No uploading other people’s photos and claiming it as yours. Apart from it being totally not cool, you may also be in breach of copyright laws. If you take a photo of someone else’s artwork, make sure you give them credit! For example, “this is an amazing dot painting we saw by local artist X, who visited our class this week.”

And the final cool bit — every snap goes into the running to win prizes as one of the Daily Deadly Four!

Register for the Close the Gap Instagram Photo Challenge

Engage your school with an issue of national significance. Register for NCTGD and tell us you’re taking part in the photo challenge! You’ll also receive a free schools pack and find out about heaps of fun activities to participate in.

Learn more