Student gets cameras rolling on sun bear project

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Student gets cameras rolling on sun bear project


Design student Leah Duncan at USC’s main campus at Sippy Downs.

31 May 2016

Endangered bear cubs have taken the starring roles in a film project by a University of the Sunshine Coast student.

Design and Communication student Leah Duncan of Battery Hill recently returned from the Free the Bears rescue centre in Cambodia, where she spent two weeks filming local staff, volunteers and the resident sun bears and Asiatic black bears.

Leah, 21, is now creating 12 videos that profile the activities and the people behind the organisation for an online series that will give an inside look at the organisation in its 21st year of operation.

The sanctuary, located near Phnom Penh, is dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of bears that have been poached, abused or exploited.

Leah said she felt lucky to have undertaken such an eye-opening overseas placement as part of her degree.

“It was out of this world,” she said. “I’d never been anywhere like Cambodia, and to get hands-on experience with a group like Free The Bears was fantastic.

“We’re releasing one video each month on the centre’s Facebook page to mark the anniversary. The first few have focused on the bear cubs and the international volunteers at the sanctuary.

“It’s made me a lot more confident about working with clients in the design industry, and the videos will be a really valuable addition to my professional portfolio.”

Senior Lecturer in Art and Design Kevin Todd said Leah’s placement was part on an ongoing relationship between Free the Bears and the University.

“This trip allowed Leah to help make a valuable difference to a real-world project and enabled her to put together a portfolio of genuine substance,” he said.

To see the videos, visit

— Gen Kennedy

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