The Social Studio – completed Nurturing Grant update

In 2021, MWF’s membership awarded their $35,000 Nurturing Grant to The Social Studio. The Social Studio supports new migrant and refugee youth to forge their own path toward a better future through accredited and effective education and employment opportunities in fashion and design. 

MWF’s Nurturing Grant supported an exciting initiative, Designing Our Futures: Women’s Empowerment Scholarships. This program’s aim was to engage young women from refugee or migrant backgrounds in further education in the fashion industry, providing the skills, confidence and qualifications necessary to create secure futures for themselves. 

Now complete, the Designing our Futures: Women’s Empowerment Scholarships enabled 18 women to be placed in accredited training and showcase their creative designs in the arts precinct at Collingwood Yards in collaboration with RMIT. The Social Studio also supported participants in gaining work experience and employment in the fashion industry, resulting in two women securing their first jobs in Australia, an exciting milestone.

The program’s key measure of success is the percentage of graduated students who go on to further education and/or employment. The Social Studio is pleased to report that 87% of their Designing Our Futures graduates are preparing to transition to further employment or study in 2023.

Education and Training

  • Placed 14 participants in an accredited 24-month Certificate III Clothing Production training program
  • Delivered printmaking workshops led by artists from the Nagulu Jarndu women’s art centre (Broome)
  • Delivered a graduate showcase of TSS’s student work at Collingwood Yards, in collaboration with media, art and design at RMIT
  • Showed student work in the Modest Fashion Runways for Melbourne Fashion Week.

Employment, employment pathways, industry, and connections

  • Supported 4 current students to access paid employment in the industry, including employment with wholesaler Elizabeth Fashions to work in retail and quality control. For two of these students, this was their first job in Australia
  • Supported 2 graduated students to enrol in a paid Work2Learn industry training program
  • Facilitated industry work experience for 3 students.

Holistic support and skills development

  • Supported students with Centrelink advocacy to access benefits and entitlements
  • Delivered community support and weekly social sewing classes to approximately 10 participants at TSS’s Heidelberg West satellite training site and employed a TSS graduated student as a teacher for this program
  • Coordinated the delivery of industry workshops on topics including:
    • Building a visual diary for their fashion portfolios
    • Business planning
    • ‘How to sell your stuff’ for the budding fashion design students

Nyamal, originally from South Sudan, came to Australia as a child. At the end of 2022 she graduated from her Certificate III studies with The Social Studio and is building her label Nya Omot while working in the industry.

“Your creativity can be the first thing to go when life and struggles get in the way. But The Social Studio elevates your creativity and helps us believe that this can be a way of life. Some other places in the creative industry might focus on creativity but they make it feel like hard work, like it’s all about money and business. The Social Studio is different. It feels like home”.

Support The Social Studio by:  

Tags: Economic empowerment, Grants, Impact, Women