The Stranger in a Strange Land Conference held at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) was a celebration of Professor Andrew Jakubowicz’s enormous contribution, spanning over fifty years of his career and traversing media studies, multiculturalism, cultural diversity, disability studies, ethnicity and cyber-racism.
Plenary panel with image on screen “Redfern All Blacks football team at Casino"
(Andrew Jakubowicz, photographer, 1969).*
Among an array of impressive gigs, Jakubowicz was a historical advisor on the SBS series, "Immigration Nation" in 2011, he developed the concept for "The Great Australian Race Riot" for SBS in 2015, and Making Multicultural Australia.
An added layer to the celebrations was the book launch of Cyber Racism and Community Resilience: Strategies for combating online race hate, which was co-authored by Jakubowicz and his collaborators.
Jakubowicz’s own family refugee journey from Lodz in Poland via Lithuania during WWII can be traced via "The Menorah of Fang Bang Lu" (with Tatiana Pentes, designer). This strong family lineage is certainly cornerstone to his lifetime fascination and academic inquiry into topics of ethnicity and multiculturalism.
The two-day conference encapsulated a wide range of plenary sessions with Australia’s critically acclaimed and multidisciplinary academic rockstars.
Dr. Christina Ho, Senior Lecturer & Discipline Coordinator from Social & Political Sciences at UTS, reflected on the far-reaching impact of Jakubowicz’s research and teaching, which was evident in the forty presenters who spoke on topics from neoliberal multiculturalism through to Hazara entrepreneurs.
“We had around 100 people come together to celebrate the career of our friend and colleague, Andrew Jakubowicz and also had keynotes from SBS's Anton Enus and community workers Paula Abood and Amrit Versha.” Dr. Ho said.
Jakubowicz himself reflected on how he was moved by the conference and how the experience prompted insights on his fifty year career in academia.
“I was very grateful for the care and thought my colleagues had invested in thinking through how their contact with me had been of help on their own journeys. I was struck by the link people made between the scholar and the activist, that knowledge has to be made available for social betterment,” Andrew Jakubowicz said.
Anton Enus from SBS opened the first plenary with a talk on the risk of fake news in today’s digital media landscape, and the need for trusted people with expert knowledge in fostering credible debate.
Paula Abood discussed the rise of neoliberal multiculturalism and how this shift has both decimated the political culture in the multicultural NGO sector and emptied anti-racism discourse from multicultural politics.
Other standout sessions included one on cyber racism that explored innovative anti-racism research for disruptive online futures. One of the panelists, Andre Oboler, discussed a prototype tool that could in future provide technological support for a more robust online ecosystem, combating cyber racism and threats. The prototype is called CSI-CHAT (Crowd Sourced Intelligence— Cyber-Hate and Threats), a tool that was completed by OHPI in late 2016.
Conference celebrations peaked with Andrew Jakubowicz and guests during a conference dinner in Haymarket. Explore the gallery of photos here.
* Festschrift Friday December 8, 2017. From Left: Assoc Prof Heidi Norman, Assoc Prof Devleena Ghosh, Prof Heather Goodall, Assoc Prof Nina Burridge , Prof Hilary Yerbury.