Media Releases

NSW’s premier festival celebrating the cultural heritage and artistic talents of people from refugee backgrounds will be bigger than ever in 2016.

Following the stand out success of the inaugural New Beginnings: Refugee Arts & Culture Festival last year, the 2016 program has expanded to feature three separate events across Sydney both during and after Refugee Week.

New Beginnings 2016 will kick off with a one-day Arts & Culture Festival on June 18 at Tumbalong Park in Darling Harbour that will feature live music, dance performances and workshops.

Presented with the support of Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (SHFA), the free event will also include food and market stalls showcasing an array of international cuisines and cultural handicrafts.

There are a number of ways to get involved in the family-friendly event:

  • Performing artists from refugee backgrounds are encouraged to showcase their talents to the community. Individuals and groups are welcome to apply, provided that at least one member of the group has a refugee background or is currently seeking asylum in Australia.
  • Creative workshop facilitators are needed to deliver fun and engaging cultural experiences that appeal to a wide range of audiences, such as traditional dance and kids-only workshops.
  • Stallholders are invited to host cultural food and market stalls to complement the festival program

New Beginnings is currently inviting performing artists, stall holders and workshops facilitators to get involved. Expressions of interest are now open. Visit the New Beginnings Festival website for more information or to download Expression of Interest forms. 

New Beginnings 2016 will also feature an Art Exhibition from June 17–26 that will include visual art, photography, multimedia, installation works and film screenings. Presented with the support of Marrickville Council as part of Open Marrickville 2016, the exhibition at Camperdown’s Chrissie Cotter Gallery will conclude with a special closing event on Sunday June 26.

Marking the end of New Beginnings will be a Community Meal on July 13 to celebrate the break of the fast during Ramadan. More details to come, so stay tuned!

The New Beginnings festival is produced and presented by Settlement Services International (SSI), a community-based, not-for-profit humanitarian organisation. 

Participant enquiries:

SSI Arts & Culture Coordinator, Caroline Triana,
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (02) 8799 6783 or 0435 865 084

Media enquiries:

SSI Communications Coordinator, Louise Wallace
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 0488 680 255 or (02) 8799 6741

SSI Communications Assistant, Hannah Gartrell,
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or (02) 8799 6740

Success stories

Simon Shahin: The road from Syria to Australia

Former refugee Simon Shahin standing in front of a tree.From the first day I arrived in Australia, it felt like home. Everyone gets homesick sometimes, but if you have goals and dreams, it constantly drives you forward and takes your mind off the past.

Read more ...