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Regional Arts Development Central West NSW

Micro Grants Stories: Paul Stafford develops History Here

Writer and literacy consultant Paul Stafford tapped into Micro Grants to further develop the materials for the excellent History Here schools program.

When all of your arts and heritage project happens live in schools, and schools close due to Covid-19, how do you keep working and earning income?

Using an Arts OutWest Micro Grant, Paul Stafford, one half of the Project Zone team, was able to earn a small income and get a lot of development work done on the celebrated History Here program.

History Here began life in 2017, devised and led by author and literacy consultant Paul Stafford with Miles Wright, David Anitoch and Vince Lovecchio. It was Funded by NSW Office of Environment & Heritage’s Community Youth and Seniors Heritage Grants 2016-2017, auspiced as an Arts OutWest project.

Paul and Vince, now working as The Project Zone, have since continued the project as a collaboration between the Department of Education’s videoconference hub DART Connections, NSW primary schools and various museums and agencies. They were mid-point working with schools when Covid-19 shut things down.

History Here utilises a project based learning model centred on school students making short films about an historical incident or character in their immediate area, with content based on the students’ interactions with senior citizens and follow-up research Students draft the scripts, star in the films, operate cameras, edit footage and devise promotional strategies including media interviews, poster design, ticket sales and DVD merchandising.

Watch: a profile of the History Here project on the NSW Heritage youtube channel:


Paul’s $1200 Micro Grant helped him create a professional learning resource/module (delivered via videoconference) to build teachers’ capacity to design whole-of-community film making projects from their school, building skills in research, scripting, and framing/theming a community festival.  The micro-grant funded the research, drafting and finalised VC module content.

What did you do with the funds from your Arts OutWest Micro Grant?

“The Covid-19 lockdown of schools precluded all activities on school grounds that are about 90% of the History Here program.

We were midway through three of ten films (due for acquittal in May, 2020) and have completed scripts and were scheduling with schools to return to film the scripts when everything went off the cliff.

I have shared this resource with a few teachers who have hosted History Here films in the past and their comments are contained in the course proposal.

What were the benefits gained from your Arts OutWest Micro Grant and how did it help you or others during the Covid-19 crisis?

“With AOW funding I was able to spend 40 hours gainfully employed creating a completely new resource enabling Project Zone to extend the footprint of the History Here to schools which lack the financial resources.

This type of fast turnaround injection of funds can be a great comfort when your employment prospects suddenly shrivel to zero through no fault of your own.

About the artist

PAUL STAFFORD  is a literacy consultant in primary and secondary schools throughout Australia, specialising in reluctant male readers. One of his literacy projects for boys, ‘The Dead Bones Society’, won a NSW Local Government Cultural Award in 2007. Paul has written seventeen fiction books, distributed throughout Australasia. He has published four titles in the Horror High series with Random House Australia, and You’re History, Mate!, about the dingbats, dills and disasters in Australia’s history. Paul Stafford has been working with the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum as a literacy consultant over the past 10 years delivering our Scattered Bones and Dead Bones education programs.

About Project Zone

The Project Zone specialises in developing innovative collaborative projects utilising the power of story, technology and creativity to make a positive and sustainable difference in people and communities across regional NSW. We are committed to delivering enriched learning experiences through a range of place based initiatives including projects that inspire, educate and engender greater awareness, capacity and resilience.

See the Project Zone website 

See the 2017 History Here films  or on our YouTube channel 

See the recap of the History Here project on the Heritage NSW youtube channel 

Read about the 2017 History Here project

Read about the current History Here project