3CR Beyond the Bars Digitised Collection Launched

A new digital archive of the 3CR radio program Beyond the Bars, a series of prison broadcasts facilitated by 3CR’s First Nations’ Australian Community Radio broadcasters for NAIDOC week, is now available. The project was funded through the Melbourne Social Equity Institute's Community Engagement Grants Program.

Beyond the Bars is a project founded by 3CR Community Radio in Melbourne in 2001-2002. Its purpose is to give voice to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members within the Victorian prison system and to include them in the annual National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) celebrations. The project is a series of live radio broadcasts featuring the voices, songs, poetry, opinions and conversations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victorian prisons.

Singer-songwriter, broadcaster and Mutti Mutti man Kutcha Edwards, and Aboriginal broadcaster and community advocate the late Gilla McGuinness helped found the program and drive its annual presentation. A large number of First Nations broadcasters have contributed as broadcast presenters during the annual radio project.

In  February 2021, the Melbourne Social Equity Institute awarded a Community Engagement Grant to  3CR and Dr Liz Dean from the  School of Social and Political Sciences to develop a Beyond the Bars digital archive. Dr Dean worked closely with Dr Juliet Fox from 3CR and Silvia Paparozzi, digitisation projects officer.

Digitised by the University of Melbourne Digitisation Centre, the archive consists of promotional posters, CDs, and CD covers from 2002-2020 of the Beyond the Bars program. The posters were displayed in and around greater Melbourne and online, to promote the annual project. The CDs include highlights from the Beyond the Bars live programming and are produced after each annual broadcast. The collection contains CDs from 2004 (the first year of CD production) through to 2020.

The Beyond the Bars program turns 20 this year. This collection demonstrates how Aboriginal communities contribute to shaping their own narratives.

Visit the Collection

Banner image:  CD booklet cover art from Beyond the Bars: Highlights from 3CR's Prison Broadcasts NAIDOC Week 2004.  Artist unknown. This work © 2020 by 3CR is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.

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Dr Liz Dean