Home Lands: young people from refugee backgrounds, cultural identity and media


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 were 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 worked with a new group of participants, while also following the activities of the Karen young people as they were encouraged to develop their own ongoing production team. A research team conducted 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 was 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.

For information about the project:


Rodriguez-Jimenez, A. and Gifford, S.M. (2010)  ‘Finding voice: Learnings and insights from a participatory media project with recently arrived Afghan young me with refugee backgrounds’. Youth Studies Australia 29(2): 33-41

Public forum: March 2011, Constructing home and identity with young people from refugee backgrounds through media and technology.

Presented by the Cultural Development Network and the City of Melbourne, supported by Latrobe University Refugee Research Centre, the Centre for Multicultural Youth and APC.AU. Papers and presentations are available here.

Project website
Latrobe University Research Centre