ICS Seminar Series

Event Name
ICS Seminar Series
4 June 2020
11:30 am - 01:00 pm

Address (Room): This seminar will take place online via Zoom. Please RSVP to e.blight@westensydney.edu.au to receive the Zoom details.


Abstract: This paper reflects on belonging as a ‘feeling of our times’, albeit a political one that attempts to move past a superficial libertarian focus on harmony. Instead, through the case study of a recent young migrant community project with a creative outcome based in South West Sydney, I examine what belonging looks and feels like when the focus is on co-creating cultural safety through approaches that favour reciprocity and creativity. This lens on belonging also reverses the discursive construction of new migrants as those requiring integration initiatives to fit in, or of certain others in need of de-radicalisation. Instead, it asks – what will make them feel safe enough to invest in local and national communities? This is not to discount the value of resettlement programs and English-language classes. Rather, it is about augmenting those with projects that decentre the majority community and make space for cultural belonging to emerge in a reciprocal manner. Therefore, this paper spotlights the following aspects of ‘belonging’: a) it is more effective than ‘identity’ as a point of solidarity in the 21st century; b) it needs to be seen as a ‘reciprocal affect’ and not just as an individual feeling to make solidarity possible; c) its manifestation in the local and/or the creative is a way to ground and enable reciprocal affect, re-conceptualise and co-create belonging that is more culturally mobile while being safe. These conclusions are illustrated through the feedback obtained from the youth participants of the project, as well as from audience members present at the screen and industry mentors who facilitated the technical workshops. As such, the paper re-conceptualises belonging from the ground up, and provided an empirical template for more large-scale projects of this kind. Biography: Sukhmani Khorana is a Vice Chancellor's Senior Research Fellow at the Young and Resilient Research Centre at Western Sydney University. Previously, she was a Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies and Academic Program Leader (South West Sydney) at University of Wollongong. Sukhmani has published extensively on diasporic cultures, multi-platform refugee narratives, and the politics of empathy. She is the author of The Tastes and Politics of Inter-Cultural Food in Australia (RLI).

Web page: https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/ics/events/ics_seminar_series