A Conversation with Aimee Hourigan, TheStoryBoxes

As part of our ongoing blog series, we will be sitting down and have conversations with a number of advocates in our local community. This week we speak to Aimee Hourigan from TheStoryBoxes.

What is your name and role, and what is your passion in life?

My name is Aimee Hourigan and I’m an impact producer at TheStoryBoxes, a storytelling production studio based in Brisbane and Sydney. It’s my greatest passion in life to share the powerful stories of amazing individuals with others, both in Australia and across the world, which is great because that just so happens to be my job!

Why do you do what you do?

Developing a rapport with others, to share in their ups and downs, their secrets and their dreams, is a privilege. As a producer and a storyteller, I’m always looking for ways in which I can help contribute to the larger narratives - I want to find where that individual stands amongst others around the world and the ways in which, by sharing their story, I might encourage or inspire someone else to step up and make a change. It’s about aligning the facts with emotion and having people engage with people, rather than just abstract themes or ideas. No single story is the same and I hope that by creating purposeful, beautiful films I’m helping to position those with a voice to champion and empower those without.

Are you a feminist and what does feminism mean to you?

I’ve worked to create films in countries where the idea of women having an equal standing in society, or even the most basic human rights, is completely unfathomable. Places where a woman’s voice is disregarded or silenced, sometimes through horrible means of force and violence. I’ve also seen the disparities around gender equality in more socioeconomically privileged countries such as Australia. At the moment, I’m working to produce an online documentary series called SheStarts, which follows a group of female entrepreneurs on their journey to create a successful tech startup in Australia. In the global startup ecosystem, women only make up 18 per cent of startup founders; amongst the top tier of global startups, there are more founders named Peter then there are women. Having seen all that gives me cause to embrace feminism and to push forwards through my hesitation and actually speak up, be it through a film or in my casual day-to-day conversation with my friends and family. As a feminist, but also just as (hopefully) a decent person, I don’t want to look back in twenty or thirty years and think about “what could have been” - I want to look back and be proud to have lived the life I did and to have believed in and supported the causes I did.

What do you think is the most pressing social problem today (globally)?

I strongly believe in the global need for access to education as a means of awareness and insight. If people don’t have the knowledge or tools to go out and create change then change won’t occur. We need to be smart in how we equip ourselves with the right information to then be able to go out and stand our ground on the issues that matter to us; be it equality (marriage, gender, financial), immigration, racial prejudice, access to an open political forum, media accountability, environmental sustainability; to be able to talk and discuss and put our ideas out into the world in an intelligent way, we need to give ourselves a strong grounding to be able to achieve that.

If there was one resource you think everyone should view, what would it be?

As someone who works in film I feel like I should be able to come up with this massive list of great television shows and movies but honestly, there are so many fantastic ones out there I wouldn’t know where to start! I am a huge fan of 'Hidden Figures', and I also really love 'The Secret Life of Bees.' A really close friend of mine is a regular contributor to the online feminist literature and arts journal, Feminartsy so I love reading her monthly profiles on female authors. Future Sex: A New Kind of Free Love by Emily Witt made me want to start a book club just so I could have someone to talk about it with! And I’ll always listen to the Lore, Call Your Girlfriend, or Reply All podcasts when I’m on the train to work.