Writing competition winners “invent the future”

Published 03 December 2009

crystal_ballFour winners have been announced in the UNE’s Inventing the Future Writing Competition, run as part of the e-University project.  Project Director, Professor Belinda Tynan, has congratulated the winners for producing some truly creative and extraordinary ideas.

The competition was designed to gain impressions of what students might expect of the future and was open to all UNE students. The brief was to write about 300 words encapsulating the experience of a university student in the year 2020.  A total of seventy entries were finally received.

Professor Tynan noted that if some of the more common predictions prove accurate then, in the next decade, the world’s institutions of higher learning will all merge into a single world university, virtual classrooms will become the norm and books will represent a technological form of the past.

Chair of the Judging Panel, Dr Elizabeth Hale, senior lecturer in English, said the judges were most impressed with the range, inventiveness and enthusiasm of the entries. All entries were submitted anonymously and were judged according to strict criteria: originality, presentation and coherence, relevance and scope for publication.

The Winners

The winning entry was from John Drake, who lives in Sydney and is studying Law. He wrote a thoughtful dialogue, titled, ‘I love My I-screen’. This captured an essential point that successful technology has a tendency of becoming part of the background environment, so that it almost goes unnoticed. He achieved this by presenting an every-day kind of conversation between his subject ‘John’ and his ‘I-screen’. As this unfolded the machine proves to be far more intelligent, and perhaps even more sentient, than readers might have first imagined. Mr Drake has opted for the $500 cash prize.

Second prize went to Adam Bishop, who comes from Randwick in Sydney, and is studying towards a Bachelor of Teaching. Adam already holds a degree in journalism and his script, entitled ‘Expanding Intimacy’ portrayed a year 2020 student who preferred to attend university lectures from his own bed, but still had a problem getting plugged into the virtual lecture hall on time. Mr Bishop has opted for a $200 cash prize.

Third prize went to John Kucza, a Theatre Studies student who lives in Sydney, for his entry, ‘The University Student, 2020’. This was one of the more shocking entries. He parodied a world in which events in a real-time virtual lecture hall go haywire. A ‘Skype-Matrix’ Education Delivery System causes the sudden death of thousands of students when a mood enhancing system to simulate their virtual attendance at lectures apparently malfunctions.  Mr Kucza has opted for the LaCie iamaKey 8GB USB as his prize.

The Runner Up award went to Irene Lemon, a Theatre Studies student from Sydney, who has recently moved to Armidale to complete her degree.  Her entry, titled, ‘insert smiley face here’ presents a conversation between two busy mothers in a café. This turns into an exchange of encrypted text messages, including an entire essay that is quickly proofread by the other. Ms Lemon has opted for $50 cash prize.

Professor Tynan gave thanks to the co-sponsors of the competition, MAC1 at UNE who generously offered to supply various products at cost, as alternatives to cash prizes.

Media contact: Professor Belinda Tynan on 6773 3196, or by email on Belinda.tynan@une.edu.au.