Changemakers – Viarnne Mischon
Monday, 10th December 2012 at 9:50 am
Viarnne Mischon is the founder and executive producer of The School Broadcasting Network Inc (SBN) and Wonderful World Media Network. This week we profile Viarnne in Changemakers – a regular column which examines inspiring people and their careers in the Not for Profit sector.
SBN empowers young people to communicate their ideas, innovations and commitments for sharing culture and creating a sustainable and equitable future – currently via the global stage of weekly radio broadcast, including live local programs in Melbourne, global internet streaming, national broadcasts via CRN and podcasts/vodcasts.
What are you currently working on in your organisation?
SBN’s vision is to create a global internet multiplatform media hub, populated entirely by young people for young people. Currently I personally produce over 12 hours a month of live radio programming (this equates to approx 150 pre/post production hours per month) and our production team collectively produces 32+ hours per month of live broadcasts with the majority of content focused on community wellbeing, sustainability, social justice and healthy living – as well as promoting local independent music artists. We continue to build numerous media affiliations and partnership, both nationally and globally, with organisations, (such as Jane Goodall Institute, Banksia Foundation, Conservation Volunteers, Green Cross and KIOSC Discovery Centre at Swinburne University) that share a common vision for creating an equitable and sustainable future for our coming generations. Right now we are in the preparation stage for the ‘2020 Vision for Creating Sustainable Societies’ Youth Symposium and Public Exhibition – a major event to be held at KIOSC from 22nd-24th March, 2013.
‘2020 Vision’ is a joint initiative between SBN Inc, Jane Goodall Institute Australia and KIOSC. ‘2020 Vision’ will be inviting young leaders from across Australasia and the Pacific to participate in this unique event; to be mentored and inspired by world leading specialists and visionaries through engaging young hearts and minds to actively contribute to potential global solutions and innovations for creating an equitable and sustainable future. Our keynote speakers include world renowned futurist and SBN Patron Dr Peter Ellyard; Zoe Weill Founder, Institute for Humane Education, USA; Michael Short, Multimedia Editor ‘The Zone’ and Editor ‘The Age’ and SBN’s International Ambassador, Erin Schrode, who founded ‘Teens turning Green’ in USA at just 16 years old and is now a renowned international speaker at the age of 21!
What drew you to the Not For Profit sector?
I have chosen to work in the NFP community media sector as this offers such an excellent opportunity to produce ‘media that matters’, which is unfettered by the constraints of conforming to the agendas of media corporations and advertisers. In the mainstream media arena, as a producer I would be told what to produce – whether I believed in its intrinsic value or not. This also means that I have dedicated many thousands of voluntary hours to my industry for nearly 7 years and undoubtedly most people who are passionate about working in the NFP sector can also relate to that ‘personal price tag’, including in the lack of sleep! However, SBN’s commitment to fulfilling the vision of uniting quality, positive media production with the passion and raw energy of young people who care about creating a viable and thriving future for our planet, is paramount and continues to drive my own daily life, with no sign of abating at this point.
Greatest career highlight?
Whilst I am most appreciative of, and honoured by, the many awards and acknowledgements that our radio productions have achieved over the last 6 years, I consider the greatest highlight to date to be winning the 2012 CBAA Award for Australia’s ‘Best New Radio Program – Talks’ for our children’s show ‘Primary Perspectives – radio created for kids, by kids’. This program and its crew received a total of 4 finalist places across 3 categories including: Best Digital Media Initiative, Best New Radio Talk Program and Outstanding Youth Contribution, and was the only program to receive so many finalist places amongst top stations such as PBS, SYN fm, Radio Adelaide and 3RRR. This was a phenomenal result for a children’s program hosted entirely by young people between the ages of 10-13year old! As their Executive Producer I was both so very proud and humbled to see these amazing young people honoured by their adult peers in receiving what is one of the top awards for our industry.
Wisdom is only as valuable as the action it inspires
I’m very bad at…
If you could be or do anything else, what would it be?
Ah that’s easy – if I had a spare life in my pocket I would retreat to a quiet island somewhere and return to creative writing. I still receive random emails asking where readers can find the sequel (part 4) to my trilogy novel that they found in a second hand book store somewhere, or borrowed from a friend, more than seven years after it was published. Unfortunately the first few chapters have been waiting for me to return for many years now! However, I did manage to co-write the screen play (part one) three years ago and that was so much fun. I would love to find the time to write the second and third screen play of the trilogy, so I can find out how it ends!
Who inspires you?
I have a long list, though on the top of this list is Dr Vandana Shiva, Dr Jane Goodall, our patron Dr Peter Ellyard and our International Ambassador Erin Shrode. Here I would also like to pay tribute to both my parents as key inspirational role models. My mother Joanne, devised and produced one of Australia’s first television shows designed specifically for women called ‘A Touch of Elegance’, which went on to be one of the longest running TV programs in Australian history, being in continual production for over 21 years. Also my father Peter Bennett, who has now passed away, as he was the maverick leader of the Australian ‘organic revolution’ and dedicated his life to educating farmers and the wider community about sustainable horticulture and agriculture. His book has been in continuous print for over 30 years and is acknowledged as the definitive text on organic horticulture. My father also spent several years working in radio, TV and as a journalist and I never once heard him say “I don’t know” when asked a question. I only wish I could have learnt more from this amazing man, whose depth and breadth of knowledge and sage-like wisdom seemed endless.