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Woroni retrospective exhibition celebrates 70 years

An exhibition celebrating 70 years of iconic ANU student publication, Woroni, has opened at the ANU’s aMBUSH Gallery, Kambri.

Curated by current Woroni staff, Woroni – 70 Years of Outrage and Activism is an engaging retrospective that dates right back to 1950, goes through the ANU student paper’s archives and highlights the different generations of students who have passed through.

Canberra Weekly spoke to Woroni editor-in-chief, Isobel Lindsay-Geyer, and deputy editor-in-chief, Josefine Ganko, ahead of the exhibition opening.

Ms Ganko said her predecessor Ben Lawrence conceived the idea for the exhibition last year prior to her further exploring how it would work.

“When COVID hit it didn’t seem like it would be possible this year, but in June we revisited it and aMBUSH were able to do it,” she said.

Ms Lindsay-Geyer said they were chuffed aMBUSH were willing to “take a chance” on them to produce the retrospective exhibition – which is the largest milestone celebration Woroni has enjoyed yet.

“We were thinking of a way we could commemorate (the 70-year milestone) while also reflecting on the culture of Woroni and how it progressed over the years,” she said.

The exhibition includes a 7-metre-long timeline feature wall, a display of full-colour reprints of dozens of past Woroni covers, an overview of the paper’s history, plus separate walls devoted to Activism, Outrage, Woroni Radio and Woroni Television.

Compiling everything proved a “huge job” according to Ms Linsday-Geyer, who explained a team of five went through the publication’s entire online records, while they had to pay the National Library of Australia a visit to get their hands on the extensive physical records there.

“We had to go and make high quality scans at the National Library, which involved pulling a few strings and turning on the charm to bring physical copies up,” she said.

“It was all sealed in plastic and we were there for days copying it all.

“We ended up with a few broken USBs, and we were certainly hogging the scanners.”

The history of the publication and ANU is intertwined given Woroni was founded just two years after the University.

Upon its establishment, Woroni quickly forged a reputation for scrutinising and commenting on social justice, political and environmental themes, to name a few.

“The same issues are still affecting students, and we remain interested in similar things,” Ms Lindsay-Geyer said.

“The broader theme from this exhibition is that Woroni’s given students a voice for the past 70 years and a platform to express creativity and views even if they’re not popular.”

Woroni – 70 Years of Outrage and Activism is on display at aMBUSH Gallery, Kambri ANU until Sunday 1 November; click here for more.

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