Willhemina Wahlin speaks on inaugural storytelling festival Litfest2444 in Port Macquarie

Words in focus: Willhemina Wahlin will run a workshop at Port Macquarie’s inaugural storytelling festival Litfest2444 on May 19 at MacKillop College. Ms Wahlin wants people to be critical of modern literature in society.

Words in focus: Willhemina Wahlin will run a workshop at Port Macquarie’s inaugural storytelling festival Litfest2444 on May 19 at MacKillop College. Ms Wahlin wants people to be critical of modern literature in society.

A Charles Sturt University graphic design lecturer wants young people to start questioning everything they consume via the written, spoken, visual and digital word. 

Willhemina Wahlin will run a workshop at Port Macquarie’s inaugural storytelling festival Litfest2444 on May 19 at MacKillop College. The festival is open to all high school students throughout the Mid North Coast. 

Workshops will address traditional and digital forms, provide students with skills towards future employment and enhance the enjoyment of storytelling

Ms Wahlin’s workshop will focus on storytelling through visual literacy using photographs, props and drawings. She said people will work in teams to plan, create a storyboard and present their idea. 

Ms Wahlin wants children to be critical of what they are reading and viewing. 

“We need to look at communication as an integrated thing so it’s not just literal and it is not just visual but it’s always combined,” she said. 

Ms Wahlin gave the example of the meme of where visual and word literature combine to convey a particular message. 

“However we don’t really ask who created it or why it was created,” she said. 

“It can be funny and harmless but can also be used to undermine a group in society such as a political party.”

Ms Wahlin would like to help develop young critical thinkers and also encourage them to have fun in a safe environment.  

Ms Wahlin is from the Blue Mountains and moved to Port Macquarie over two years ago to start the graphic design program at Charles Sturt University. She began her career as a journalist and her education is in journalism and graphic design. 

She has also been the creative director of a New York-based non-profit organisation PROOF: Media for Social Justice since 2009.

She has designed multiple exhibitions which have travelled to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Australia, Switzerland, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cambodia and the United States.

The exhibitions focus on social justice issues, including genocide prevention and raising awareness for need of greater justice for the survivors of rape.

Ms Wahlin believes graphic designers have a huge responsibility to be mindful about what is being put out into society. 

“How we are emotionally, mentally and intellectually affecting people because it can be very powerful,” she said. 

Litfest2444 will cover topics including poetry, journal writing, podcasting, maps, film making, photography, social media, comics, drawing, and blogging. For more information visit www.litfest2444.com.au

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