Like most young people, when Bronte Gosper was growing up, all she wanted to do was get out of Orange, and thanks to a highly coveted scholarship at Melbourne University, that's exactly what she did after graduating from All Saints College in Bathurst.
Now, at just 22, Ms Gosper, has been awarded another prestigious scholarship for her research into domestic violence advocacy among Indigenous women which will form the basis for a documentary film.
The project saw the young Wiradjuri woman longing to connect to her own culture and language.
"Recently I've been thinking about coming back to Orange and giving back to the community," Ms Gosper said.
"Earlier in my life I just wanted to travel and be in a different place, and now, I really want to help make Orange a better place, especially within the Wiradjuri community."
The filmmaker, writer and historian is among just 13 students to be selected as recipients of John Monash Scholarships, which will enable her to study at Columbia University.
"My degree was in history but what I really love doing is making historical documentaries. That's what I'm quite excited about for this course in the US because a big element of it is a personal project that's a documentary, recording the histories of Indigenous Australian and Native American women who were involved in advocacy work in the 80s and 90s," Ms Gosper said.
"It's a really important issue because the story about domestic violence in Indigenous communities is usually told by outsiders... It's rarely told by the women in those communities."
Ms Gosper's interest in the topic came about during her internship with the Minister for Indigenous Australians earlier this year. The role required field research in the Northern Territory which involved interviewing frontline domestic violence workers in Indigenous communities. What she discovered shocked her.
"Indigenous women are 35 times more likely to experience domestic violence than non-Indigenous women, and obviously with the coronavirus that has skyrocketed even further," she said.
"I hear a lot of people say (they) want to give a voice to Indigenous women but I think Indigenous women already have a multitude of voices (as well) as really unique perspectives and a wealth of knowledge. I want to position those voices to be heard by a wider audience."
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