Jessica Horner and Raven Cook.

The ABC has unveiled the winners of its Regional Storytelling Scholarship, with Jessica Horner and Raven Cook set to work with various teams from the broadcaster across a three-month period.

Now in its fifth year, the initiative is aimed at emerging content makers with disability who live outside capital cities and wish to develop their skills while gaining employment experience.

Recipients have the opportunity to be based out of any ABC regional office in Australia and create projects across different platforms, with previous contributions appearing on ABC Radio and iview, as well as online.

Horner, who is from NSW Riverina town of Wagga Wagga, said the scholarship was an exciting opportunity to help create spaces where Autistic voices could be heard firsthand.

“All too often Autistic adult narratives are rendered almost invisible in the media,” she said.

“It is my hope that through this scholarship I can contribute to the process of changing the Autistic narrative and contribute to what I hope can become a broader conversation, about the importance of Autistic voices being heard and understood more fully in society and in everyday life.”

Fellow winner Cook, a Cairns native, said he applied for the scholarship because he “wanted to make a difference in the community.”

“The Regional Storyteller Scholarship will enable me to create an audio series to give people with disability a chance to tell their story,” he said.

“I remember the first time someone wanted to hear my story, and what an impact that had on me. I want to help people in their journey and make people with disability feel valued and heard.”

ABC regional and local director, Judith Whelan, congratulated the winners and said she was looking forward to having them on board.

“Each year we have seen some exceptional talent emerge and some exceptional storytelling produced, all of which have resonated strongly with our audiences,” she said.

Applications for the 2023 scholarships will open later in the year. Emerging content makers with disability living in regional and rural Australia are encouraged to apply.

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