How is SSI responding to the Israel and Gaza crisis? SSI statement here. For new arrivals and host families contact us here.

28 May 2018

Media releases

Joint Media Release: New Beginnings Festival for Refugee Week to close Open Inner West

Open Inner West brings together new and emerging communities for a program of performing arts, installations and workshops.

Marking Refugee Week 2018, The Spirit of Welcome is a full-day public program of activities led by newly arrived artists. The day will feature an art exhibition, an artist talk, live performances, screenings, creative workshops and multicultural food.

The art exhibition will showcase works that have been created through a series of creative workshops facilitated by artists from refugee backgrounds for other newly arrived artists. Artist facilitators include Atefeh Hekmat and two other leading artists, Damon Amb and Majid Roberts.

The workshops are being held in the lead-up to Refugee Week at the Refugee Welcome Centre.

Settlement Services International (SSI) Arts and Culture Manager Carolina Triana foresees the exhibition to be an example of the successful collaboration between artists from refugee backgrounds who have been in Australia for a number of years and those artists who have recently arrived to Australian shores.

“The exhibition project is being artistically driven by artists from refugee backgrounds, from workshop facilitation all the way to the exhibition design and curation,” Ms Triana said.

Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne said he was delighted that Council’s partner at the Callan Park Refugee Welcome Centre was hosting an Open Inner West event.

“Council is looking to expand the programs offered at the Welcome Centre. We want to identify and support activities the refugees and their families have expressed an interest in. The Welcome Centre is a great example of how Council is promoting social justice in our own backyard.

“The Spirit of Welcome event, with its art, performance, workshops and food, is exactly the kind of activity we want to foster at the Centre,” Mayor Byrne said.

The exhibition will open during event times and by appointment during Refugee Week from 20-30 June 2018.

The SSI New Beginnings Festival for Refugee Week, supported by Inner West Council through Open Inner West 2018, is part of the broader SSI New Beginnings Festival 2018, an initiative of SSI. For more information, click here.

The festival will continue later in the year with a one-day music, dance, art and food extravaganza at Darling Harbour.

For more information, visit:

About the SSI New Beginnings Festival:

The SSI New Beginnings Festival 2018 is a celebration of the artistic vibrancy, cultural expressions and heritage of people from refugee and migrant backgrounds. Since its inception in 2015, the New Beginnings Festival has offered a free celebration of the diverse and rich creative talents of migrant, refugees and people seeking asylum.

About SSI:

Settlement Services International is a community organisation and social business that supports newcomers and other Australians to achieve their full potential. We work with all people who have experienced vulnerability, including refugees, people seeking asylum and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities, to build capacity and enable them to overcome inequality.

Media enquiries:

SSI Communications Officer Rebeka Selmeczki;


M: 0468 998 300

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