BOLDING GOING…WHERE NO RAINBOW FAMILY HAS GONE BEFORE!
A rainbow family is going far out into space, blasting off to Jupiter in the first of a series of five thrilling audio adventures launching online as part of Future You, a nationwide Australian government initiative to encourage primary school children to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Far Out! is the first of five Imagining The Future stories presenting young LGBTQIA+ and culturally diverse characters as protagonists in an interlinked series of space adventures. In each story, the young protagonists grapple with future technological, environmental and cultural challenges, and use STEM thinking to resolve these problems. Far Out! is written by Lili Wilkinson, one of Australia’s leading authors for young people, who has also been the lead writer of the series. Her story is read by Wear It Purple Vice President Brenna Harding, who starred in Channel 10’s Puberty Blues and featured in a Play School Through The Windows segment in 2004 with her two mums.
In Far Out!, 14 year old Stella, 5 year old Cosmo, and their Mum, who is a top astronaut, take off from Earth to join their Mama on the Moon, before heading for deep space to set up humanity’s first outpost on Callisto, a moon of Jupiter. But they’ve not gone far when potential disaster strikes, and it’s up to the ingenuity of Stella to save her family…with some quick thinking, her science knowledge and the help of a dancing robotic frog.
When Brenna read the story, she immediately agreed to come on board the project.
‘Kids of all genders should be excited about and have access to the important industries that shape our world and future. These characters and stories represent big possibilities for the little people that we love. Reading about a queer-parented family at the centre of Far Out! made me feel personally connected to Stella’s journey and bursting with pride to show the young gaybies I'm lucky to have in my life.’
Says writer Lili Wilkinson: One of the greatest things about working on the Imagining The Future stories for Future You has been actually imagining the future I want to see: one where a queer woman of colour astronaut isn’t rare or remarkable, and where two of the best astronauts in the world also happen to be women, married and raising two biracial kids together. We owe it to the young people of the world to strive towards a kinder, more inclusive future, and that can only happen if everyone is involved, and every voice is heard.
The Imagining The Future podcast series is part of Future You, an initiative of Australia’s Women in STEM Ambassador, Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith, who identifies as gay. The STEM workforce is currently unrepresentative of Australia’s population in terms of gender, ethnicity, disability and sexuality, while rural, regional and Indigenous Australians also face barriers to entry into the sector. Equally, the persistence of enduring stereotypical ideas around STEM and its workforce present further challenges for young people when considering future careers. The Future You program aims to address these issues, offering a range of programs inspiring diverse role models for children and engaging them through a variety of forms: the Imagining The Future stories, short documentaries, graphic art, jokes, competitions and even a pop song (Galaxy Vibes), which is integral to Far Out!
‘As someone who grew up in the U.K. at a time when positive LGBTQIA+ representation was forbidden in schools, it’s incredibly important to me that Future You represents everyone in our community.” says Lisa. “Kids are smart and would expect nothing less! All of the content of Future You will reflect Australia’s diverse population so that everyone can see themselves in the content, and imagine their own ‘Future You’.
With Far Out! now rocketing around the world, four more stories from Imagining The Future are currently finishing production. They include adventures from Gary Lonesborough, who wrote acclaimed queer Indigenous love story The Boy From The Mish; Alison Evans, author of Euphoria Kids and who identifies as non-binary; Children Book Council of Australia Award Winner 2022 Rebecca Lim and Melissa Keil.
Far Out! is available on YouTube and all leading podcast providers, as well as in downloadable text and comes with a suite of free, downloadable activities resources for children, families and teachers, available on the Future You website: https://futureyouaustralia.com/imagining-the-future/far-out/.
A second series of stories, set under the oceans of future Earth, are in development, with a further five of Australia’s most exciting writers for Young People already lined up for late 2023.
For more information and to listen to Far Out!, go to www.futureyouaustralia.com