IGS parents help plan big ideas

As Ultimo streets and buildings transform to greener, more vertical and more mobile spaces around us, IGS is reimagining the future.

IGS Principal Shauna Colnan warmly welcomed parents to the new Bibliothèque to “think big” about how IGS relates to  emerging opportunities as Sydney embraces change like never before.

UTS Professor of Architecture Anthony Burke and IGS Board Director Michael Heenan shared a compelling and inspiring vision of the transformation that is underway that will turn Ultimo and its surrounds into an exciting international 24/7 hub over the next 20 years.

IGS is centred between changes set to take place at the Sydney Fish markets, Central Station (Sydney’s Tech Precinct), the Bays Precinct and Glebe as Sydney goes sky high to cater for population growth and to take advantage of major transport infrastructure investments already well underway.

Within the context of 168 million children being alienated from education due to COVID, Ms Colnan invited parents to think about UN Secretary General António Guterres’s calls for a renaissance in the way humans treat each other, including collaboration between governments, and processes driven by compassion and solidarity.

“What does this mean at IGS?” Ms Colnan asked.

Parents and carers were invited to name the attributes and skills they would like their own children to develop during their years at IGS, as the School collaboratively builds the next five-year Strategic Plan.

“Our mission at IGS is to equip our students to be world ready and the new strategic areas of action from 2022 are deeper learning, students striving and flourishing, and a strong and sustainable school,” Ms Colnan said.

Ms Colnan talked about the work that she and the Leadership Team and the School Board had been focusing on over the last 9 months to set some exciting directions for the School’s future. The School’s Chair Dr Marie Leech has a special interest in the Pyrmont Precinct Development Project and she has encouraged the School’s leaders to actively engage with this emerging international hub for the benefit of our students and for our school community into the future.

Drawing from international trends, Michael Heenan spoke of “unlocking the streets”, of more children and parents commuting via scooters, and the proliferation of autonomous vehicles.

He spoke of potential opportunities for students to learn with local businesses such as the revamped Powerhouse Museum, the ABC and Atlassian which is relocating to Central, and for classes to be held outside in parks and closed off streets.

“We are in the centre of all that planning of this part of the city,” Mr Heenan said. 

Anthony Burke said UTS boundaries were now considered “porous” and that IGS classes could also flow out of the School’s buildings and into surrounding parks and other open spaces, including into open space floors of new buildings.

“This is one of those moments which are really really rare,” Professor Burke said.

“It’s easy to talk about what’s wrong with things. It’s so rare to be able to ask ‘why not?'”

“Think big ideas and let it go right out there,” he said, adding that IGS was now in the centre of an “innovation corridor” encompassing Harris Street, Redfern and the Powerhouse.

He said IGS could consider offering classes outside of regular school hours, with class content also up for reinvention.

He spoke of students potentially working with start-up companies or studying sustainable aquaculture at the new fish markets, as well as students entertaining workers, residents and visitors with Drama and Music performances in nearby buildings and open spaces.

“We can really activate this neighbourhood in a positive way.”

Parent responses are being compiled and considered alongside student and staff comments as the new strategic plan takes shape.  

Congratulations and thanks to Carmela Reznik of Year 11 and her accompanist Laura McDonald who entertained guests upon arrival.