National Electoral Education Centre

Australian Electoral Commission

Each year around 90,000 students see this multimedia presentation at Old Parliament House in Canberra, as part of the award winning program run by the AEC’s National Electoral Education Centre.

Our task was to provide an almost total refresh of the existing presentation – designed for a bespoke theatre, with six synchronised screens showing six separate but inter-related pieces of content.

As such, we can’t show it here, but we’ve tried to boil down the complexity into a quick description.

Our approach involved creating an animated timeline to support the narrated content; using primary sources as much as possible, to illustrate and add life to timeline; introducing ‘real people’ as characters to help students engage with the subject matter; and retaining and re-integrating the four existing ‘peppers ghost’ or 3D hologram characters – hugely popular with the school groups – into the new content.

Importantly, a core element of the AEC’s brief was the to acknowledge up front the laws, rules and customs that existed for millennia before European settlement and to include the voice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders throughout the content.

It’s hard to overstate how much we loved working on this project – working closely with the National Library of Australia, State Libraries, Newspapers and collecting institutions, as well as the ABC’s archives and Parliamentary Broadcasting Services, to source and curate hundreds of images, documents, newspaper articles, footage, pieces of legislation and ephemera.

We also cast and filmed five actors, working their multi-screen segments of dialogue seamlessly into the animated components. And as luck would have it, the timing of the 2016 general election meant we could capture up to date footage of polling booths and vote counting, which we used in the closing sequences.