In early 2020, prior to COVID-19 closing the campus and most other things, the Widening Participation Unit (WPU) set out to explore the theme of community by probing into interpretations and understandings around connection and what makes us feel a sense of ‘belonging’.
Taking inspiration from the iconic Humans of New York project, Everyone Belongs highlights the vibrancy of diverse perspectives and the dynamic environment that shapes our MQ learning community.
An online survey was shared across the MQ community inviting students, alumni, professional and academic staff to participate. The WPU gathered a small team of PACE students with backgrounds in media studies and anthropology to explore and present the range of feedback that was received.
In all, over 100 participants from across the campus shared their experiences of belonging.
Collectively their thoughts and experiences provided us with a snapshot of the MQ community at a time and space that will be uniquely remembered for its disruption, social distancing, online learning and isolation. Equally though, it has been a time of reflection and contemplation of our connection with each other that has made us realise how important belonging is to us all.
This project is a celebration of belonging, but also a chance to see what we can do better as a community. We have seen how a new online normal has created the chance for greater inclusivity, opening up new pathways toward belonging, if we can be innovative and driven enough to take up the challenge. But we have also seen the strong connection our community feel toward the Macquarie campus – “early morning walks before work along Walley’s Walk , the fairy lights are still glowing. The paths that weave through the campus. Anytime.”
As part of the project we asked our participants to share a one-word answer on what belonging means or feels like. The collection of one-word answers created the word image above.
Please visit our Library of Belonging and take a tour of some of our favourite spots on campus!