Filmed in 2016 over six months in Queensland and Victoria, Struggle Street Series 2 offers a raw and unflinching portrayal of struggle and hardship in Australia.
Told through personal stories that touch on the lives of a diverse group of Australians struggling against the odds, the documentary is an honest reflection of what it is like to be doing it tough in Australia. In the two years since SBS aired Struggle Street Series 1, the issues facing Australia’s most disadvantaged communities such as unemployment, homelessness, rising drug use, mental illness, soaring rents and declining industries remain at crisis point. A recent report by the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) and the UNSW Social Policy Research Centre revealed that a staggering 2.99 million Australians – 13.3% of the population – live below the poverty line.
Struggle Street Series 2 delves into some of the key social issues that are affecting millions of Australians. It explores the challenges facing working Australians who live on the poverty line; the damaging impact of the decline in manufacturing industries; homelessness particularly among women aged fifty-five plus as rent and house prices continue to rise; the financial difficulties facing Australia’s disability carers; and the daily challenges facing those who live with mental and physical illness.
The first series of Struggle Street ignited national debate around these issues, helping Australians to better understand the realities of social disadvantage. Series 2 continues this crucial national conversation.
The Struggle Street study guide has been written for students in Years 9–12. As a curriculum resource, the series expands and enriches students' knowledge and understanding of social disadvantage and its impact on individuals, families and communities. Teachers may select from the information and activities to support students' viewing and close analysis of the documentary.
This study guide's key objective is to provide a framework for positive discussion about the experiences of the series' participants. The activities challenge students to think about people experiencing disadvantage in a compassionate way and allow students to engage in important conversations about the ways that we response to disadvantage as a society.
In Years 9 and 10 English, Struggle Street can be used as part of thematic units exploring the ideas and issues raised by the series. The activities within this study guide provide opportunities for Year 10 English students to:
- analyse, explain and evaluate the structure of a text and how the features of the text influence audience response;
- to develop and justify their own and other interpretations of a text;
- to create a wide range of texts, make presentations and contribute actively to class and group discussions. In Years 9 and 10 Media, students critically discuss contemporary works such as Struggle Street.
They analyse, interpret, and evaluate the stylistic, technical, expressive and aesthetic features of these works and the ways that the works communicate and challenge ideas and meaning. The activities within this study guide provide opportunities for Year 10 Media students to:
- understand the aesthetic, style and format of an observational documentary;
- use critical approaches to analyse and interpret an observational documentary;
- understand how audiences participate in the construction of the meaning of an observational documentary and explain ways in which an observational documentary reinforces or challenges social, cultural and artistic values;
- use appropriate media terminology and personal interpretations to describe the structure, content and aesthetic qualities of an observational documentary.
In Years 9 and 10 Health and Physical Education, students are provided with knowledge, skills and behaviours to enable them to achieve a degree of autonomy in developing and maintaining their physical, mental, social and emotional health. Struggle Street allows students to discuss the establishment of personal identity, factors that shape identity and the validity of stereotypes. In addition, the series can be used to plan, implement and critique strategies to enhance the health, safety and wellbeing of communities.
can be used to teach English, Health and Human Development, Media, Sociology and VET Community Services in Years 11 and 12. Teachers are advised to consult the curriculum outlines relevant to their state or territory.
Students should be briefed about the content and purpose of Struggle Street prior to viewing. Teachers are advised to establish clear expectations about student participation in activities. Students should be reminded to listen respectfully to the views of others and to express their own opinions in a thoughtful and considerate way. For some students in the class, viewing Struggle Street may be both confronting and upsetting. Teachers need to respect the circumstances of these students and remain aware of their sensitivities. Struggle Street contains coarse language and drug use. Teachers are advised to preview the series before showing it to students.