Reconciliation through language

The United Nations has declared 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages because of the alarming decline of Indigenous languages all over the world.   Of the seven-thousand languages spoken in the world over two-thousand are in danger of being lost. Every two-weeks a language dies taking with it a unique cultural perspective and identity.

A place to belong: An Indian in Australia

I have always latched onto whatever I could understand of our family culture. But it's so complicated for us. In India, we are the reminder of a British invasion. In Australia, we are among a strange new collection of people who do things a bit differently.

Saltwater Sisters a reminder of linear cultural pride

Saltwater Sisters is a carefully considered celebration of culture and language. Each changeover between group performances is preceded by a handover process between the on stage performers and a blessing from pakana woman Aunty Theresa Sainty. There is a sense of guidance throughout the whole performance, guidance to the younger generations involved as well as to the audience.

The Cultural Constraints on Australian Aged Care

Ageing remains a process that many of us are too afraid to confront. I still get a leap of anxiety in my chest when I think about how quickly life passes, and how soon each phase of our lives is upon us. It forces us to confront our mortality, and seeing it reflected in our parents as they grow older, feebler, and eventually die, is often too difficult for children to face.

Rotten fruit: soft white supremacy on the Apple Isle

Not being aware of colour under certain circumstances is a privilege afforded almost exclusively to white people. In the workplace, schools, when job-seeking, when being interviewed, and in day-to-day interactions with people you don’t even know. I imagine power and colour can be difficult concepts to understand when your white skin is the coveted norm.

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall, Who is the Fairest of Them All? Colourism and light skinned privilege

When Elodie Silberstein moved to Melbourne from Paris, she sought out hair products for her Cameroonian-French curls and was dismayed to find a staggering choice of skin lightening products marketed toward women of colour. 

Skin lightening is not a new concept for Silberstein, who grew up in a culture where 'milk chocolate' skin can lead to more opportunities. In this piece Silberstein explores the social and economic impact of this privilege, and our shared responsibility for its continued existence.

Elodie Silberstein is a PhD candidate investigating representations of girlhood, and the geopolitics of beauty and black femininity.

The Complexity of Race and Identity in Predominately White Workplaces.

I came across Colin's writing by chance through a piece titled 'I Was Told To Go Back To Where I Came From. That Would Be Melbourne', and haven't stopped reading his work since. 

His work encapsulates the story of The Pin, how it came into existence, and why it still exists. 

It's 2017 and Australian POC are still being told to go back to where they came from, by people who believe you really do belong somewhere else. This piece is a survival guide for the daily slights experienced by a 21st century AUS POC.

The Face of Islamophobia

Zoya Patel recently left our shores for opportunities abroad. She is the founder of Feminartsy, and previously worked as Editor-In-Chief of Lip magazine. 

Patel has been writing about feminist issues for over a decade, and has had work published in a number of publications including Right Now,, Junkee and more. She was Highly Commended in the Scribe Publishing Non-Fiction Prize 2015, was the 2014 recipient of the Anne Edgeworth Young Writers’ Fellowship, and was named the 2015 ACT Young Woman of the Year. 

Matryoshka Dolls.

Matryoshka Dolls is a reflection on the experience of an Anglo-Australian living in Nigeria during in the '80s. As one of the few white faces in a crowd, Stephen Cutting eventually found solace and understanding in the unfamiliar.

The Sound of Protest: Voices in the Charts

Music has long been used as a form of protest in Australia, and the world. In the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s the sound of protest was embalmed in the Australian rock movement and, while various themes have been broached such as the treatment of asylum seekers, a key focus of Australia’s musically fuelled retort to social and political issues has been indigenous rights.

I'll Be Your First Mate: Whiteness and the Pursuit of Good Feeling

I'll Be Your First Mate [IBYFM] is an online arts community and collaborative space where people can engage in discussions about people seeking asylum in new and creative ways. Through creativity the site aims to contribute to a cultural change about asylum seeking and global migration. 

In this extract from I'll Be Your First Mate: Art, Advocacy and the Assuming White 'I' , co-founder of IBYFM, Daniella Trimboli, explores the complexities of providing platforms for new voices. To access the full essay visit the IBYFM website. 

Looking for Mai Tran: a new voice from the space between two cultures

Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen is a Vietnamese-Australian writer based in Narrm/Melbourne.

Nguyen's writing is often an honest and open portrayal of modern day life - exploring anything from sex, mental health, and race to pop culture.

In this piece Nguyen reflects upon fictional character, Mai, a sixteen year-old Vietnamese-Australian girl whose story unfolds through a series of diary entries. For almost any sixteen year-old girl Mai's story is a familiar one, but with the added complexity and overlay of existing between two cultures. 

My Name is Not a Joke.

Have you ever had the experience of someone laughing at your name? Do you regularly have to spell it out - letter by letter?

For Tali Aualiitia it's a daily occurrence. In this piece we learn the do's and don'ts of addressing someone with a 'different' name. 

Advance Australia Fair: Authoritarianism By Another Name

The notion of democracy in theory is that we, as the collective population of a democratic country, are equal; in our power to vote and elect politicians.

Advance Australia Fair, is a critical look at the practice of Australian democracy versus the idea of democracy that we profess to uphold, looking at the people’s voices that are often silenced and over looked.

Tinashe Jakwa is a Zimbabwean-born African-Australian author and political and security analyst with a focus on Southern Africa. She is a Master of International Relations student at The University of Western Australia, and her research explores the causes of African state instability, international relations from an African perspective, and comparative democratisation.

Living in Colour, Writing with Skin.

Cath Moore is a freelance writer and filmmaker based in Narrm/Melbourne.

Born in Guyana, Moore had a global upbringing - and spent part of her childhood in the USA before moving to Australia. Growing up in a single parent home and with her white mother, Moore was aware of a perceived difference but found inclusiveness within her own home. 

As an adult, she continues to unpack this experience - and regularly explores the topic through her freelance work.

Fact or Fiction: Researching Australian Identities

As the biracial child of a white Australian mother and South African father, Alyssa Scott grew up being made aware of race. A constant outside interest into Scott's cultural heritage and requests to touch her curly hair alerted Scott to the difference between her own family and others.

Now an adult, Scott proudly identifies as a biracial woman yet she is keenly aware of the cultural dissonance biracial children can experience in terms of culture and identity.

Scott came to realise there were very few public conversations about the biracial experience from an Australian perspective, which she attributes to a cautiousness in approach. Our history of invasion, the Stolen Generation, and the risk of reinforcing notions of racial purity by identifying as mixed are all good examples of why the topic needs to be approached with care.

Nevertheless these are important conversations to have and, with care, Scott has commenced a research thesis as part of her Masters of Social Work. Through her research, Scott hopes to give biracial people space to share their experiences and be able to identify in their own terms. For Scott, it's important 'just to acknowledge them' and 'make a really small contribution to this as the conversation begins to take off'