Boats! Boats! Boats!

If you have seen any media coverage of the so-called “refugee crisis” that is supposedly happening in Australia, you no-doubtedly would have seen an image like this:

Photo credit:
Photo credit:


Oh, the image of a rickety boat holding hoards of unfamiliar foreign faces ready to take our jobs and resources, that is ever so favoured by today’s media. It’s no wonder why 60% of Australians want the government to increase the severity of treatment of asylum seekers who arrive by boat, when images like this one circulate through the media. Fear-mongering front page articles and news reports like this start to affect how we think about migration. They hide away individual’s stories that help us empathise and instead create panic with images of invading boats.

Don’t worry, there is hope for us. While the front pages and current affair programs battle it out to see who has the best boat picture, other forms of media are telling a whole different story. According the the 2001 and 2006 censuses,

“more than 200 nationalities were recorded as living in Sydney. In Fairfield…55 percent of the total population is overseas born, 37 percent are under 25 years of age, and 71 percent of people speak a language other than English at home.”

So it only seems fitting that we start to hear the stories of those who actually have experiences of migration or diaspora. Shopfront Theatre, a youth theatre that I spoke about a few weeks ago, has created many projects with this aim. One of the most recent is Travel Songs of Land and Sea, which was created by 100 young people aged 12-25 from Menai High School, Fairfield High School, Fairfield Intensive English Centre and St George Community Mental Health Service. The theatre describes it as:

“A diverse mix of young people – refugees and new migrants, young people with and without disability, and those who have grown up in suburban Sydney – have created music and visuals for this cinematic series that come together in 30 minute film. Beautiful cinema-songs reflect recent personal, physical and emotional journeys.”

You can watch the trailer here if you like

Although a large number of mainstream media may have a close-minded view of migration, it’s fantastic to see that local media such as youth theatres are attempting to change this through digital storytelling of individuals who have experienced being connected to multiple nations and cultures due to migration. Salazar states that:

Digital stories allow people to make their own stories (and histories) important.”

These stories are important and hopefully one day we will see them on the front page.


Salazar, Juan Francisco. (2012). ‘Digital Stories and emerging citizens’ media practices by migrant youth in Western Sydney’. 3CMedia: Journal of Community, Citizen’s and Third Sector Media and Communication, Issue 7.


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