Many young people from refugee backgrounds struggle to develop positive cultural identities in the settlement context. Can connecting them to their peers and communities overseas assist in this challenge? The premise of the Home Lands project is that ongoing communication with ‘home’ and the diaspora could provide important sources of support and positive identification for young people from refugee backgrounds. To explore this premise, young people from refugee backgrounds in Melbourne are being supported in the production of audiovisual materials for exchange over the Internet with their friends, families and communities overseas in camp and settlement contexts.
In 2010, the project worked with a talented group of young Karen people who were provided training and support as they experimented with producing short films, original songs and music videos over a website and through Facebook. In 2011, the project is working with a new group of participants, while also following the activities of the Karen young people as they are encouraged to develop their own ongoing production team.
A research team have been conducting interviews and participant observation throughout the process, in order to document the impact of this innovative program on the activities, experiences and expectations of the participants, facilitators and project partners. The findings have implications for the experience and promotion of positive settlement strategies for youth from refugee backgrounds in Australia and elsewhere.
The HomeLands project is being funded by an Australia Research Council Linkage Grant, led by the Refugee Research Centre – La Trobe University and supported by the City of Melbourne (Arts and Participation Program), the Cultural Development Network, the Centre for Multicultural Youth and APC.au.
A public forum discussing themes related to the project was presented in March 2011.
Constructing home and identity with young people from refugee backgrounds through media and technology.
as part of Arts Talks 2011:
presented by the Cultural Development Network and the City of Melbourne,
supported by La Trobe University Refugee Research Centre, the Centre for Multicultural Youth and APC.AU
Papers and presentations are available here.