New exhibition highlights environmental protection by multicultural communities

Our Place Our Voice 

A new exhibition launched at Western Sydney University has showcased the environmental initiatives being developed by the culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities from across Greater Western Sydney and the Illawarra.

Whether it's a backyard veggie patch or a local community garden, CALD communities have long had a history of growing their own food, being connected to the earth and being mindful of the environment.

The Our Place Our Voice exhibition at the University's Parramatta campus features photos and stories from a diverse variety of cultures, including those from Chinese, African and Afghan backgrounds. Each installation will be telling unique stories about innovative environmental and sustainability projects being run by these communities.

Professor Andre Renzaho, from the School of Social Sciences and Psychology, says the exhibition allows CALD communities to speak about the environmental problems and collaborative solutions needed to protect Australia's delicate ecosystem.

"Through collective story-telling and the power of imagery, people will share their experiences and convey the messages of their communities, promoting networking opportunities as well as social and cultural inclusion," says Professor Renzaho.

The exhibition is a collaboration between the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, the University's Centre for Educational Research, and the United Nations Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development for Greater Western Sydney (RCE-GWS), based at Western Sydney University.

Maria Rickert, Senior Team Leader of the Sustainable Communities Team at the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage says that everyone can get involved in sustainability regardless of culture or background.

"It is important that all communities and cultures feel like they can participate in sustainability projects because everyone's contribution is valuable," says Ms Rickert.

"The event demonstrates how photovoice can be a powerful and inspirational medium to communicate amazing stories of multicultural communities across Western Sydney leading environmental initiatives in their neighbourhoods."

Andre Renzaho and Costa Georgiadis 

Special guest at the exhibition launch was Costa Georgiadis, landscape architect and television personality, best known as host of ABC's 'Gardening Australia'.

Community groups represented in the exhibition include Parramatta District Men's Shed Incorporated, Hawkesbury EarthCare Centre, and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Australia.

The exhibition will be available on loan to interested communities for the duration of 2016.


22 March 2016

Media contact