What is a Refugee? On Perception, Displacement and The Role of Art

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  • Where: UTS, Building 6, 702-730 Harris Street, Level 3, Room 22. Limited capacity: RSVP essential

UTS Gallery presents a public forum on refugees in tandem with our current exhibition The InvisibleJoin Julian Burnside AO QC, Abdul Karim Hekmat (curator of The Invisible), Professor William MaleyNiamatullah Ibrahimi, Professor Jock Collins and Hannah Factor to discuss the current status of asylum seekers and refugees in Australia, the struggle for recognition by Hazaras in Afghanistan and the role of art in changing public perception. Convened by Lucy Fiske, Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow, UTS.  

Julian Burnside AO QC, is a prominent human rights and refugee advocate, author and barrister who specialises in commercial litigation. He is a past president of Liberty Victoria, and is also passionately involved in the arts: he is the chair of Melbourne arts venue fortyfivedownstairs and the Mietta Foundation. He is the author of several books including From Nothing to Zero, a compilation of letters written by asylum-seekers held in Australia’s detention camps and Watching Brief: reflections on human rights, law, and justice.

Abdul Karim Hekmat is a journalist and PhD candidate at UTS, curator of The Invisible and one of the participating artists. He often writes on the subject of refugees for The Guardian, The Saturday Paper, The Sydney Morning Herald, and The Monthly. He was a 2017 finalist for the United Nations Media Peace Prize.

Professor William Maley is Professor of Diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy at the Australian National University. He has been a visiting research fellow in the Refugee Studies Programme at the University of Oxford, and is a fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. He has published widely on Afghanistan, on refugee policy and on contemporary diplomacy. His most recent book is What is a Refugee (London: Hurst & Co. 2016).

Niamatullah Ibrahimi is the author of The Hazaras and the Afghan State: Rebellion, Exclusion and the Struggle for Recognition (London: Hurst & Co. 2017). He has previously worked for the International Crisis Group and the Crisis States Research Centre of the London School of Economics. He is an Endeavour Scholar at the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy of the Australian National University. His recently submitted Phd focused on social mobilisation and political movements in fragile and disrupted states in Afghanistan.

Professor Jock Collins is Professor of Social Economics in the Management Discipline Group at the UTS Business School. He has been teaching and conducting research at UTS since 1977. He is Co-Director of the Cosmopolitan Civil Societies Research Centre at UTS and co-author of the 2017 report From Boats to Businesses: The Remarkable Journey of Hazara Refugee Entrepreneurs in Adelaide. 

Hannah Factor is a group counsellor working with refugee and asylum seeker clients at the Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS). She has a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Psychology from the University of New South Wales and completed her Masters in Art Therapy at Western Sydney University. Hannah joined STARTTS in early 2017 and has been running a variety of art therapy groups, supporting clients to express and process their experiences through visual art making and crochet.

Please join us in the gallery following the forum for Afghan cuisine, refreshments and a musical performance.