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MOAH Ambassadors Transcript

Aston: I think it's very important that we're open to hearing different perspectives, hearing different views, because I think that broadens our world-view. Nia: We all have something to learn and we all have something to teach and it's our responsibility for each one to teach when. Menaka: Just the fact that I treated them the same as I would treat someone my age. So I think that's the most important thing, respect. Eddie Uini: And I remember a guy telling me, "Hey, this is the first time someone spoken to me in five weeks," which to me is crazy. Steph Beck: And just to bring everyone together. And that's what we want, kind of uniting everyone. I often just come back to our energy and like the universal lore, it can't be created or destroyed, only transferred. Jack: Welcome to the Making of a Hoodie Podcast. Welcome to Making of a Hoodie podcast. And today we are focusing in on making a hoodie about ambassadors, about ambassadors of equality, about people that stand up to be mentors and trying and see change through their own imagination and then go out and do it and make it come to life. And I'm very excited today to be able to have the chance to hang out with Steph Beck, who has become a pretty serious ambassador in the AIME world. And, Steph, we're really excited to hear your story today. So thank you for joining us. Steph Beck: Thank you, Jack. Yeah, I'm super excited to, I guess, bring forward some of my story but also nervous. Yeah. I think when I look back to when I first landed in town, so about three and a half years ago, I would never in a million years have imagined I'd have the role of vice chancellor of IMAGI-NATION University. First of all, that wasn't even a thing. But for myself, yeah, it was just something I just wouldn't have ever thought would be possible. Jack: Well, I think like from what I can see, you're the first Aboriginal vice chancellor of the university. What does that feel like? Steph Beck: Yeah. A lot of things sort of come forward with that. First of all, like when you asked me about the role if I was willing to accept it, I just returned home from a trip to Kalgoorlie for the first time in three and a half years. And it gave me like this opportunity to really kind of reflect on not only what I had achieved since leaving Kal and starting a new kind of journey in my own life for the benefit of myself and my kids but also just exactly what it is I want to do with the rest of my time. Like my brother's pretty sick. So that's why I went for a trip back home. And just looking at the value of time from his perspective was something that I knew that I want to be doing something super meaningful with the rest of my time that I have on this planet. And I feel like this role allows me to do that as well and also connect with people that have the same kind of values and vision and wanting to create change and fair well and just finding a way through that. So I think I've learned quite a bit from the obstacles that I've had to overcome to live the life that I wanted and just being able to be in a position to connect with other people that might find themselves without hope and in some points of real struggle in their life to reactivate some areas that could be super helpful for them but also their communities because that's kind of the way that it works when you're working in like this relational network. The way that we kind of operate is teaching people how to think and not necessarily what to think. And on those, we have professors who are our puppets, the professors under each of our knowledge areas, which is imagination to be able to think differently and design but utilizing that in a way that's focused on alleviating educational inequity. Jack: Wait, did you just say puppet to the professors? What's it like learning from a puppet? What's that experience like? Steph Beck: It's great because it removes... I guess it takes you into another space so that you can start thinking differently about some of the things that you may have as just ingrained biases or you feel like absolute reality for you. Jack: You're talking about me. Sorry guys. Professor Hope just joined the call. You might not be able to tell much of a difference between my voice and... This me Jack. And hello, I'm Professor Hope. But oh my gosh. You're talking about me Steph on this podcast, and you have been the best boss that I have had. There as a vice chancellor, you're exceptional to work with. The deadlines are a little bit tight sometimes, but I feel your delivering on our knowledge fields and, yeah, excited to work with you. Steph Beck: Just on the deadlines. I think it's expected. There's a lot of work when you're trying to change the world. So just feeling okay. We change the world works. I'm feeling okay that that is definitely a skill. Jack: I get sometimes a little bit confused in life because I just assume everyone's sort of like you Steph like that we just want to try and do our best. We want to try and help people if we can. And so the idea of being an ambassador of equality, I feel like that the human beings that all of us want to be ambassadors of equality. Sometimes just how we're networked like means we're distracted during the day or during a year or during a lifetime. Steph Beck: Yeah. A lot of what's kind of been coming through for me when talking to people like internally, externally as well is we have an understanding of what it is that we want to do. And that can go into some very kind of abstract areas because it's so broad. But finding a way to figure out how to do it is, I guess, the key because I guess when you go into IMAGI-NATION, and you're thinking, 'This is what I want to do. How am I going to do it?" And you activate ideas. You have so many options to choose from, but how do you know which one's going to work? So how do you create the quality is, I guess, a big kind learning process as well because at the moment, we find ourselves in these systems and structures. We often don't have the options and choices to do things that you want. And how do you find your way around those bureaucratic processes? And, yeah, I think what we are doing at AIME is kind of removing those barriers and giving people a little bit more focused attention on frameworks that we've used on how this has worked for us, how can this work in your own world. Nia: Hello, I'm Nia. I'm zooming in from the beautiful Kaurna Country, and I'm an educator here at U-Think, and I get to work with these amazing legends every day. Abby: Hi, I'm Abby. I attend U-Think on Kaurna land, and I am a student here. Aston: Hi, my name is Aston. I'm a graduate from U-Think, and I am on Kaurna country. Nia: We're actually kind of proposing open a separate campus that has a bit more of a focused approach to making space for young people who really want to create change and kind of work towards building a fairer world. It's been so inspired by AIME and emergent strategy and really speaks to like a lot of the things you just said, I guess, really about just making a space, unlikely connections to occur and kind of really flipping that script on that like everything we do has to be big and grand and address the problem at the biggest scale and is really inspired by like Adrienne Maree Brown work, understanding fractals that like let's start with what we can do here now, like small is all, small is good. And those will create patterns that create big change. So essentially, like we want to spend this year working together to co-create a change studio. Like the harness is all the magic of the stuff we've been doing in this school, through the last two years but like a dedicated physical space for that, which is exciting. Abby: Oh, it's really enriching. Even just the words that come out of Nia, it just personally gives me the sense of hope for future generations to come, especially having a physical space for everyone to be welcomed and just express themselves and contribute to the community. Aston: It's a massive thing. It's a huge undertaking. And I'm just happy to be working with Nia. I call Nia my teacher. She's never technically my teacher, but I think that is a perfect way to describe her because I just learned so much from her, and like I just get to be surrounded by such inspiring people. And I'm just so happy to be a part of all of this. Eddie Uini: Well, [inaudible 00:09:46] everyone. My name's Eddie Uini. I'm a Samoan but born and raised in New Zealand. Things, I guess, to explain a little bit about who I am and what I'm really passionate about is probably the first thing is family. I've always been really connected with my mom, dad. I've got two brothers, two sisters. And I've always been in a really tight-knit family. And I think probably one of the things that I really learned, I guess, in our family and things that have been really important to us is just that we always find ways to support others, and that the world is much bigger than just our own world, and that there's people around us that we can support. And, yeah, I think I learned that from a pretty early age from my mom and dad. And then that's really, I guess, what led into to what I'm doing at the moment and what I'm really passionate about is supporting people that are doing it tough. So I run an organization in New Zealand called Orange Sky New Zealand, and we provide free washing and showers to people that are doing it tough, whether it's people on the streets or whether it's families that have been doing it tough since COVID. Just really keen to just make sure everyone has access to even just the basic needs. Menaka: Hi, my name is Minika, and I'm in Melbourne, also called Nam. I carry a lot of the baggage of being a person of color, so I like to talk about that a lot. And I came to Australia when I was nine. So I've lived in quite a few different countries. So I was born in Sri Lanka and then I lived in Hong Kong, England, moved to Australia when I was nine, then I finished high school, and then I went straight to uni just because my parents had been to uni. And I guess that's the only sort of path that I saw myself doing. So I did a bachelor of science, and I did a diploma of Spanish, and then decided that I was really sick of my life, and I wanted to change. So I moved to Japan, lived there for five years, taught as an English teacher. That was such a great experience, opened my mind to obviously teaching but also interacting with people from different cultures. And I love that. And I thought at first I was like, "Oh, I think I might become a teacher." But then when I did this for five years, I was like, oh no, I don't think I want to be a teacher as much as I want to work in an organization where I get to work with people from different cultures." So lived around a bit. And I think that is really important for my identity because I feel like only people who have lived in lots of different countries can also understand this unsettled feeling that I have constantly. And just also very easy to connect with people from different countries but somewhat hard to connect with people from my same country who haven't had those experiences. Jack: This is a podcast where we make a hoodie and that's the title of it. And I'm here today with Steph Beck who's the vice chancellor of IAMGI-NATION University. And, Steph, you're working on gathering and bringing together a thousand ambassadors around the world to be ambassadors of equality with AIME. And that's what this hoodie is going to help support activate and inspire, connect. So let's cue the music. And now we're going to enter into the IMAGI-NATION design lab, and we're going to start making this hoodie. So I've got a few questions for you. Have you thought of a sense of an object or something in this universe that you think is an energy inspirer that we should sort of think of as we're designing this hoodie? Steph Beck: Yeah. I always... When I do meditation, which I'm still just learning how to kind of tap into all of that thinking and space as well. But I usually do it barefoot so that I'm grounding and earthing and how I kind of imagine the planet is like this big battery, which essentially it is because there's all of this energy in there. We've got it flowing in all of these networks and systems. And, yeah, if we imagine like where we are drawing our energy from, like I kind of visualize it as I'm sitting in the sun eyes closed, taking energy from the sun, and then it's like going through my body into the ground. Like where does that all go? And I often just come back to our energy is like the universal lore, it can't be created or destroyed, only transferred. And that's in like any area, whether it's positive or negative. So when I'm kind of out in the world, I kind of see my impact. Am I creating a negative energy transfer to people, or is that one going to be something positive? It kind of grounds me a little bit as well, like especially doing this work because you know that everything you're doing is going to go somewhere regardless because that's just the natural law of energy. Jack: Have you got a sense of a thinker or a book or a text that we could use as a reference or maybe a few that you think could be good references to help inspire this already that have inspired you to be an ambassador and ask other people to join you as ambassadors of equality? Steph Beck: Yeah. At the moment, I am reading The Neverending Story, and I had this real moment of feeling like I was going to be drawn into that book just like Bastian. And I was also working on a painting as well. So I think story is something that's got my mind kind of wondering about like where my story has come from and how I'm impacting on other people's stories or helping to develop and build those stories. But I also started doing this picture, this painting where I am calling it the journey or finding the way. And it's this almost watercolor background in acrylics with lots of dots kind of layered upon that. And then I wanted like this through line that connected from one side to the other. And as I'm doing it, like there's so many different ways that I could go, but I've got to look at what's already there so that it fits in with what I'm doing. And I got almost to the end of the canvas, and I was quite happy with it because it was just light pastels and pinks and whites. And then this piece of black paint that was stuck on my art table got stuck to the canvas and I was like so upset, but I thought this is actually life. Like this is what has happened to me. You have like an idea of where you're going. And then suddenly, someone throws some black paint on it, but I built it out actually. So I went with the flow, turning obstacles into opportunities, and I'm really quite happy with it. So it's going to have within the black portions going to put all of these bright colors because I've been into the depths of like depression and had so many kind of struggles throughout my life, but I've learned from those as well. And I think for me at least is when you learn from trauma or things that have impacted your life negatively, that's where some of the pain kind of starts to be released because it's not as if any of those things have happened to you for nothing. And, yeah, I think, yeah, that's helping me a lot at the moment, just embracing, just the journey, I guess. That's part of life. You're going to have obstacles and understanding that that's part of the process or makes it a little easier when you get speed bumps or black paint thrown on your canvas. Jack: It's a hard thing, don't you, reckon like imagination when you're eating a diet of fear and a lot of the news cycles that we get are... They're heightened at the best of times, and then I think that a number of the social platforms are very unhealthily designed to sort of send us towards more extremes all the time. So how do you go about thinking, Abby and Aston, about IMAGI-NATION or bringing people together, which I think are like the most fundamental things. But how do you navigate that with an information flow which can throw you off balance because it's hard to be imaginative when you're afraid? Aston: Basically. Yeah. And no, it definitely makes it harder because I myself get caught up in a lot of the whirlwind of the news cycle. There's just so much happening at the moment. It's hard not to. And especially when you want for the world to be better, and then you're just seeing things get worse and worse. It can be kind of paralyzing and debilitating. It makes you feel as though you can't really do much, and you feel bad almost for having success or for like achieving things and imagining a better world because it's like there's so much horrible stuff happening. And, yeah, I completely agree with that sentiment that like social media, we need to use it more wisely, I think, because there's a whole culture of like... Although it's incredibly great that there is a culture of like sharing and amplifying different causes and voices, I think that's amazing, but there's also the downfall of like people feeling as though they have to be on top of everything, which is just not humanly possible. And I think that's created a lot of problems because people are speaking on issues that they don't know anything about, and then misinformation is spread. So I just think there's... Yeah, it's a lot, and I think young people are in a weird situation where they're almost feel that they have to do it, otherwise they're an outcast or just they don't care or whatever. Abby: I think it coming into this, you need to have an open mind and an open heart. A lot of distractions are out in the world and facing them. And I think everyone just needs to have that hope. And I think through this, we have that power to create that hope for everyone. Aston: We're seeing it change so quickly with TikTok is a great example of like something that's really changing our attention spans and then kind of directing us into sort of like echo chambers. So we become involved in like a whole of stuff that we care about. And then we suddenly think because everyone else on our For You page is sharing the same views and opinions that we are the majority when in actuality, it could be that we are not, and that can be very toxic. I think it's very important that we're open to, like Abby said, having an open mind and like hearing different perspectives, hearing different views because I think that broadens our world-view and helps us to understand better the world around us because otherwise, we're just lying to ourselves. Abby: Absolutely. Aston: Yeah. Abby: Absolutely. Jack: And I think part of... Like you can't be across everything, Aston. Like I can't, none of us can. Like we can't possibly be... We can't represent every cause equally. We can't understand every cause equally, but we can be kind. Eddie Uini: I guess we talk about the basic needs and I think it's really important part of what we provide is the washing and the showers. But really I think the main goal of what we want to try to achieve is to just to connect people. And one of the biggest things that we've always seen is just the loneliness that people are experiencing. I remember just even here. So I live in South Auckland and just to see even in my own community people that were sleeping on the streets, people sleeping in their cars. But one of the biggest things was that no one really takes the time to even connect with them or say hi. And I remember a guy telling me, "Hey, this is the first time someone spoken to me in five weeks," which to me is crazy that like that someone in my own backyard is experiencing that. And so what we do when we go out on shift is... The first thing we do is we just pull out some chairs, and we provide like a space for people to come and connect and feel safe. And look, we refer to everyone that uses our service as friends, and it's really all about... And I know for me personally, there's so much more than just the [inaudible 00:22:21]. If you come out and see us and just the relationships that I volunteers that we being able to build with the people that are using our service, it just really starts to break down their stigmas of those walls. I guess they were built around people that are experiencing homelessness. So yeah, just really keen to just come and crash that down and just make sure everyone has an opportunity to feel some love and be connected. Menaka: I did a lot of volunteer work during the past two years and unfortunately, that had to be all online, but that was such a wonderful experience. So I did volunteering with refugee youth at the Centre for Multicultural Youth. And I also work with girls in the foster care system. I'm also doing some work with refugee at our ladies, trying to help them get work. It was just nice to be part of a community and help other people, but also, I feel like I didn't really help them as much as I got helped. So it was like a two-way thing. Jack: I was thinking as how would you now trying to get in the design like too quickly, but that idea of energy flow and that your energy's always going somewhere, kind of thinking about the canvas of a hooded sweatshirt and going, "Oh man, wouldn't it be so fascinating for you somehow create some sort of portal into it or some sort of sense that it's the space in between." Maybe we make try and make it out of mycelium as the cloth. Like maybe that's... You're wearing that. And when you're putting your feet on the ground, you're grounded to the oldest multicellular network in the world or continuous multicellular network in the world. Steph Beck: Yeah. And I love the mycelium idea for building the actual hoodie. I've just touched on some of that this year and like that. Mycelium has this external digestion where kind of lays in its food, but humans took a different route for internal. But I think what we kind of don't see is digestion of other things like knowledge. If we have a cycle where we digest knowledge and then put it back out into the world, that's kind of been closed off in terms of like education. Like it's not open and distributed the way that it was back when indigenous people here in Australia were living for 60,000 odd years. And I feel like having that disconnect also disconnects us as people. So we don't have those conversations and relationships. So maybe viewing ourselves in terms of how we take in knowledge and then redistribute it in the same way that mycelium does with nutrients for trees and everything else that it's kind of connected to. Jack: Yeah. That's really cool. And like I love the idea that it's potentially the barefoot hoodie as well. So it might have some instructions. This is how this hoodie should be worn, like take your shoes off... Steph Beck: Yeah. Jack: ... down on the earth. Steph Beck: [inaudible 00:25:34] about the space between you and the sun and how you're getting your energy. Jack: Yeah. The hoodie in itself could be an energy like meditative experience. It can be a teacher, and it could pass on those lessons. Steph Beck: Yeah. I love that. And there was this phase with when shoes came in, like when they were literally insulated from the planet and removing ourselves from what we call nature even though we're kind of part of it. We're part of this whole universe. Yeah. I think that's really great. And you can also think about that space between and get an understanding of all the things that we don't get to perceive as humans but things that are there between us and the sun. Jack: Maybe the logic thread then stands that what you are doing with this hoodie, Steph, is reminding us that being an ambassador of equality is a natural human law that that's actually what we do. And it's what we have done. And the best societies have achieved peace. Indigenous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups and long systems 60,000 to 80,000 years almost perfected peace in lots of different societal design to live with peace, to live in harmony with nature, to live equally. And I think part of the space between is the space between now and yesterday and a long time yesterday when we've forgotten some very smart intelligence, which is sitting there. So then we put out... It's a barefoot hoodie. We take our shoes off, and we go and stand on the ground. And then when we're standing on the ground, we remember natural laws, and they're already there. They're already in us. Steph Beck: Totally. And, yes. And to offer like another kind of point for this through line is when people, I guess... I see some of the problems and this is for me personally as well is that I've had some of that understanding taken away from me. So through stolen generation. I literally don't know how the world works, so I want to be able to change it, but I can't see my place in that. And when I talk to my 11 year old daughter about like what it means to be indigenous for me, trying to explain that to her is a big kind of concept. So I kind of landed on this thing the other day. And it's like if you have 60,000 years of knowledge that's transferred, and these are like terabytes. It's not a small amount of data through story and ceremony and relationships. That's a pretty incredible thing because we were able to be custodians for the land and have just this ongoing, just prospering, I don't know if it's society, but we just say people across that length of time, which is so long for a lot of people to even understand. And yeah, for me, I said to her, "For me, being indigenous means that I've got a direct connection to people who knew how the world worked." And now we're in this space of disinformation, not knowing, unsure. I don't even know where my food and my water comes from, like super basic things. And we're living in these cities because we're almost forced to and working to pay tax, so the government can kind of tell us what to do. But maybe it's like... Then the last step is if you want to be a global ambassador of equality, you know what you want to do, but you don't know how to do it. This is to change the way you think about the world so that you can get a better understanding those systems thinking like locally to you. So taking that big, broad zoom out and then finding ways to better understand how systems are impacting you personally and your community. Jack: Now one of the beautiful tricks that very clever intelligence of indigenous systems thinking, I think, is that it's not only held by humans. I think that's the misnomer is that it's an oral tradition passed on just from human to human. It goes into the ground. It goes into the stories and the songlines of our animals. It goes into our totemic system for us, which is... Our family's from [inaudible 00:29:46] so it helps you think about your connection to the platypus, which may be an uncle or an auntie or another ancestor. And it goes into the stars. Like that is what I think is really profound about where you've sort of taken us with this hoodie design, Steph, is by... I've never really thought about this way before, but by being in bare feet, by having potentially a cloth made of mycelium on you and on your skin, you are invoking and calling in the skin of all of the genetic code that's sitting underneath the earth surface. And that is where all of us go to. That's where we all end up. So all of our beings, all of our memories, all our stories are in the ground, or they're in the ocean. And that I think is the most powerful, wonderful thing of indigenous systems thinking is it's interconnected. It's a story that then engages the star, which helps you map in this way, which then connects to the rivers and the way the rivers run, which connects us to the animals and everything is interconnected. So when colonial empires came in and thought they were going to destroy indigenous systems thinking by killing the people, they can't because it's already been placed in all... When you talk about the terabytes, like we already had our servers. Our servers are the trees. Our servers are the stars. Our servers are the earth around us. It's everywhere. So the opportunity to be an ambassador of equality to connect with natural laws is taking shoes off, stand on the ground. Steph Beck: I met with Vic Stephenson probably like a year ago now. And like I had this moment in my life where I was kind of in mourning for never being able to hear my grandmother's stories and her mother's stories. And just trying to figure out how to come to terms with that. But when I met Victor who does fire-stick farming in Cairns, I kind of mentioned this to him, and he said, 'It's never gone. Like it's in the land. You learn from it." And I think that was... I almost started crying when he told me that. And I just dived into a lot of Tyson's work as well to understand it. And I feel like now I'm at the point where I haven't been prouder of being an indigenous person. Even though I don't have all those stories, I know that I'm still connected to it, and it's still there. But also with colonization, I think, when at a glance, when you look at indigenous culture across the country and what they saw happening, it was misinterpreted because of the complexity and just the processes that we had in place were not... They couldn't be understand by lineal thinking. So when people, I guess, take back their own responsibility for understanding that, you'll find that you probably connect to it more than you do to the currently outward facing narrative that we have in Australia. Jack: Abby and Aston, is there anything that you'd like to see on this ambassador hoodie so that this hoodie would be the one that people would be able to engage with and connect with to then support the thousand ambassadors doing this work with AIME globally? Aston: Something that I mentioned to Nia yesterday is I love the idea of like the word iridescence to me speaks to like... I feel as though us as people, we're all iridescent. Like from different perspectives, people can view us differently. Like I think that where multidimensional. Like as people, we're not just one thing. And I think it's important that we recognize that. It kind of goes into that discussion around like intersectionality. And I would love to maybe near mentioned it yesterday when I was... Not yesterday. So on Tuesday when I was talking about iridescence. The idea of like having sort of like a patch of a material that kind of is reflective. And I love that whole concept. But also if you look up iridescence on Google images, there's just beautiful colors. And I think it kind of matches with AIME sort of branding, which I know is like evolving and changing, but I just love the colors that are used. Jack: Okay. Consider that in the lab except as [inaudible 00:34:07]. An iridescent patch maybe. It's like there's a letter on it. We sew it on. People could take the letter off... Abby: Oh my goodness. Jack: ... [inaudible 00:34:14]. You could see the... Nia: Yes. Jack: ... [inaudible 00:34:21] hoodie out there. Aston: Incredible. Jack: Except that... Aston: Yeah, that was stunning. Jack: ... we got to show it [inaudible 00:34:21] to get your lab ideas in. So, Abby, have you got anything you'd like to throw in there? Abby: Oh, I love that idea in general and what you just came up with because I think of this as a very life-changing thing. This is something that everyone can adapt to. And you've got things that come off and come on. I think that really represents the person in their raw. And I think that needs to be highlighted and appreciated. Nia: I'm going to tie in another idea that Aston shared that means something. I think like just circling back to something you said. Like I've always... My parents are like really involved in the [inaudible 00:34:56] movement and each one, teach one was a big, kind of saying... And I think that's like, that speaks to mentorship to me. Like you said, it's a two-way street. Like we all have something to learn, and we all have something to teach, and it's our responsibility for each one to teach one. And what that links to is Aston shared an idea also of like a hand dropping some seeds. And I think seeds are such a beautiful representation of that because, yeah, it's like everything, all that possibility is held within the seed, but it takes like a cool heap of the conditions and like love and nurture and to bring it to life, which is kind of to me like reflective of that, like mentor and being a two-way street, and we all have a part to play and create in the right conditions. Jack: Maybe you could have... It could be a reversible hoodie potentially, like kind of go... Abby: Oh my goodness. Aston: Yeah. And to go on like what Nia was saying before, I did mention to Nia just the other day, we're on a phone call, and I had like between the stage of like falling asleep and then waking up and then like kind of resting your eyes, and you kind of had these visions and ideas. That's basically when this concept of like somebody dropping seeds came into my mind. And so I woke up and I like immediately started sketching. It's a very, very rough sketch, but I like had to get it out onto something. And yeah, that's kind of where the idea came from, really. It just stems from like... I had this vision. I was like, "Right, something's told me I need to put this onto something." So I did it. And yeah, I just thought it was very interesting that that what can be learnt from that as well. Jack: Yeah. Maybe we've got the... Maybe the hand could be on the end of the fabric with the seed sort of dropping around. And then when you go into the hood, like so the outside might be playing with the iridescent layer on the back, and then the hand could be down on the cuff of the sleeve. And then inside might be this fractal world tree land, like the inside of our minds or the world. So maybe inside is just sort of like completely wonderfully mad. Aston: [inaudible 00:37:08]. That sounds awesome. Eddie Uini: Yeah. Yeah. Hope this isn't too corny, but like, I guess like this is really what I got in my head it's like... For me, it's really important that when we speak to kids, that we're speaking to them on their level. So like I said, that's why I love like when a CEO comes down and gives time to someone. It's not [inaudible 00:37:29] and them or it's not like, "Hey, I'm so much better than you," but it's someone that's just coming to show that, "Hey, I'm so interested and invested in you, and I've been in your position, and this is how I got up." I guess in my head what I picture was kind of like two people kind of facing each other, and it could just be kind of like a shadow. Like it have to be like detailed. But like kind of like... So you don't even know who's what or whatever, like if it's a kid or whatever. And then just like their words coming together into like a speech bubble but like... Maybe a heart is too corny but like maybe some sort of like... I'm still trying to picture what the shape could be. But then just having some words in there of like things like belief and dreams and just starting to like just to open up those conversations with these kids. Honestly, New Zealand is definitely... We're built on all different cultures, and I would really love to see not just English, but like a lot of representation from like Maori words. So like we say conversation but you put it like [inaudible 00:38:37]. Like there's so many... Yeah. There's so many words that we could just easily have to change and have some of that mixed up in there. And maybe like you could have every color is like... So say red is assigned color for one word. So an English should be like conversation or dream or whatever. And Maori, it would still be that same word but in red. Menaka: So I would like to have a dark colored hoodie with splashes of color, kind of like paint ink, just splashed on. Really hot neon colors, like maybe like hot yellow, hot pink, orange on maybe like a dark blue or dark black background. And I also wanted... I had this idea where we had little caterpillars and little butterflies like just smooshed on. Or maybe they can be like sewed on separately, like how you sew buttons on, you can sew like little motifs on. Because I think we come in to AIME, we come in as little caterpillars, and then we end up as butterflies when we leave the program. And not just the students but the ambassadors as well because we go... Like I would go in just be like, "I don't know what's happening." And then two years later, I'm like, "Wow, I know so much. I've met so many amazing people. My life has changed." So it's not just the students that go from caterpillars to butterflies. It's everyone. Jack: What are your real dreams for yourself in this role of vice chancellor of IMAGI-NATION University? For you as an ambassador of equality, what are you dreaming and what energy do you hope to pour into this hoodie that we can hopefully capture? Steph Beck: Yeah. For me and my children as well, I want to get to a space where I want to see a time where there's no negative association when stories are told about indigenous Australians. And when people get a better understanding of what it is to be indigenous or what our culture look like a better understanding of that, I think that could possibly happen. And it won't just be me, and my children that benefit from that. It'll be these First Nations people from all over the planet that have this knowledge and this way of thinking as well. So, yeah, that's kind of where I'm working towards. I have a question for you as well, Jack. Jack: Well, let's finish up with a question. Steph Beck: Yeah. So you have a daughter who's not yet in primary school. Jack: Yes. Three and a half. Yep. Steph Beck: Yeah. You've worked with high school students trying to change this system for the last 18 years. What does her high school look like in the ideal world for you? Jack: I think teachers are trying their best. I think kids are trying their best. I think parents are trying their best. I think that we've inherited some programs and some lessons which are like basic fundamentals, which are sometimes helpful. I think math and science can be helpful. I just hope that there's a little bit more color and light for the space in between. And I think most classrooms, if you think about a lighthouse, the lighthouse is sort of shining on 17 out of the 25 students. And I just hope that we can put in a couple of filters to that lighthouse, so it just generates a pink light and a purple light out to the edges. So you actually can speak with a different light and engage with a different energy. So the lighthouse lights up the whole classroom. That's what I'd love to see for my daughter's schooling experience. And then also know that school's not everything. So like I'm not... We're going to have to put responsibility on everything that we've done from 9:00 until 3:00 in the afternoon. It's pretty good that kids get looked after, so we can go and do work. We need a hand. So there's some basic stuff that schools have to do. Will my daughter be reasonably safe like if someone tries to hurt her? Or like is there processes to support someone like if someone bullies my daughter? Will there be places where she can make friends? Other heaps of things that happen which aren't designed in a curriculum. Yeah. And then there's all the space in between outside of class catching the bus or moving different places or where you go to school or experiences you have. I think the long answer to a short question is I think we should all be ambassadors of equality. And I think if we all embrace natural laws of passing on knowledge if we all see a responsibility to be mentors for kids in our communities and in communities outside of where we live. If we think about networking in ways where we're not just looking after our own, then schools will be rich, but more importantly, life will be richer. Eddie Uini: All these kids have all these hidden talents and things that like they haven't really given time to grow because they feel like maybe I have to go and support my family and get into a job. But if people can come and have this one on one time and if we have people that are going in and like getting kids to explore things like whether it's dance or whether it's art or whether it's music or things that you wouldn't think of like, "Oh, that's a career or that's something I could do." So I really think it's important that we, yeah, that we get people in there and take the time to sit with these kids and find out what their passions are. Menaka: I made so many amazing relationships with my students in Japan. I think the most important thing is to give them a lot of respect. I tried to treat them the same as I would treat someone my age, and I think they really noticed that because a lot of teachers would be like, "I'm here, and you are here below me." But I tried to be like we're equal. I think that's what they really liked about me. Just the fact that I treated them the same as I would treat someone my age. So I think that's the most important thing, respect. Jack: What do you want ambassadors to feel when they see the people that are purchasing this hoodie? What do you want them to feel? Steph Beck: When people are purchasing this hoodie to support the ambassadors, I want the ambassadors to feel like they have more people on their team. I want them to feel like when they are trying to explain their vision and have people support them that they're not alone. A lot of the time, I feel like when people give up for me at least is because it's just you're talking into like an echo chamber and no one believes you, no one hears your story, no one thinks that it can be done. And all of that becomes like your own narrative as well if you let it. So I just want them to have the understanding that people get you. They know what you want to achieve, and they believe that you can do this. Nia: The word that just brings to mind is possibility, how we can... That what an honor is to have a role as someone that is might be able to sit with pain and possibility in the same hand, and the opportunities and magic that kind of being able to sit with those two things opens up and just supporting people to see themselves through the lens of possibility and the world and each other through the lens of possibility. Aston: I think for me, there's just so much room for imagination and like getting to, I guess, collaborate and learn new ways of making the world more fair and bringing more justice. That's what I get from it. Abby: Yeah, I agree with both Aston and Nia. I think that sense of... It kind of creates a sense of belonging within the community just to bring everyone together. That's what we want, kind of uniting everyone. Eddie Uini: Just having someone that could talk to me and really believe and like even just bouncing off ideas of like, "I want to do this and that," and really believes in those people and doesn't put any barriers in their way or put any walls around them to saying like, "Oh no, but you can't do this." I guess what I'm really passionate about is that people in schools will know that they're not just confined. So any restrictions around if they can't afford books or if they can't afford to go to school, that just really breaks my heart. And so if there's any way that we can come in and support people in that situation, I'd be, yeah, super keen. Menaka: Just to be as a part of other people's lives in a really sort of fun and cool way. Obviously, we're here to just support, and we're here. Just being here is enough. Steph Beck: This is a space where people can feel like they are enough. And that was... Oh my God. I feel like I'm going to cry now. But I feel like that's the best advice that you gave me is that what I have is enough and all the rest of it will work itself out because I'm super committed to overcoming the challenges. Like I know what it kind of takes to get through it on a personal level. But yeah, I'm also really optimistic, which is hard sometimes when I'm talking to some people who are really struggling to finding that balance with it. But, yeah, thanks for all your advice and leadership and just believing in me as well. Jack: It's an absolute pleasure. And yeah, maybe we'll leave that summer and the hoodie that you're enough. Thanks, Steph. Thanks for joining in Making of a Hoodie Podcast. Let's go ramp it up with some wonderful ambassadors around the world.

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