15 Jun, 2015

Visual Feast Welcomes Our City’s Refugees

To raise awareness of the City as a Refugee Welcome Zone and celebrate Refugee Week 2015, City of Adelaide has rolled out the welcome mat in some innovative and eye-catching ways.

A special video has been produced by Council to celebrate the City as a Refugee Welcome Zone, as well as a webpage featuring the week’s events and activities.

In partnership with the Australian Refugee Association, portraits of refugees who settled in Adelaide are on display in a City Library exhibition ‘Faces of the Refugee Story’ and these portraits can be seen in Francis Street laneway (off Rundle Mall) in the City at all hours.

Video vignettes of the exhibition portraits have also been developed with the story of the portrait subject spoken as audio. The exhibition was officially opened by the Lady Mayoress on 10 June.

Nineteen large and striking banners featuring the refugee portraits are also on display along King William Street flagpoles between Victoria Square and North Terrace.

The Lady Mayoress, in partnership with Red Cross, will host a women’s morning tea on Tuesday to welcome women of refugee and asylum seeker background. On Wednesday, the Lord Mayor and Governor General will host a reception in Town Hall.

In addition, Council has provided community development grants to help individuals, groups or organisations host activities to celebrate Refugee Week in the City and North Adelaide.

Lord Mayor, Martin Haese, looked forward to the week’s events and activities, and said Council works closely with agencies that support people of refugee and asylum seeker background to make the City more welcoming.

“As a recognised Refugee Welcome Zone, we are committed to making people of refugee and asylum seeker background feel safe, comfortable and welcome in the City,” Martin said.

“All migrants make an important contribution to our society, including those from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds.

“While they enhance our cultural diversity, their characteristics of courage, resilience and hope bring great strength to our community.

“I’m proud Council has put so much work into making this a very special week.”

Australian Refugee Association Chief Executive Officer, Kirsten Bickendorf, said the support from the City of Adelaide has raised the profile of this important week that was first established in 1988.

“The many exciting events and initiatives the City of Adelaide has developed for Refugee Week demonstrate the city’s commitment to welcoming people from a refugee background into the community,” said Ms Bickendorf.

“By sharing refugees’ stories publically within the city, City of Adelaide helps raise awareness about why refugees have come to Australia and the new energy and skills they bring.”

Three of this week’s activities have been funded by City of Adelaide grants of up to $2000.

Welcome to Australia will run a community film night of the film “The Good Lie” about Sudanese Refugees on 17 June at Mercury Cinema.

Random Acts of Welcome will host a get together at City Soul Experience Café, on 13 June 11:30am-3:00pm, for the local community and people of refugee or asylum seeker background.

The Liberian-Australian Service Foundation are hosting Telling Our Stories "Sharing Our Refugee Experience" on 27 June 5:00pm-10:00pm at the North Adelaide Community Centre and Library. This is a free cultural evening of traditional Liberian dance and food, as well as a community screening of "The Good Lie". This free event is a chance for the Liberian Australian community to share their story with mainstream residents of Adelaide and all are welcome.

Council also provided an $8000 Arts and Culture Grant to the Migrant Resource Centre (MRC) to coordinate activities for Refugee Week. MRC brings together and promotes the activities of multiple organisations on their website and in a printed calendar. MRC holds its Refugee Week and Youth Forum and Exhibition launches today, and has arranged a Local Government Reception with Mayors and CEOs this Friday.

Refugee Week starts today and runs until Saturday 20 June.

For more information

Matt Halliwell