SSI Arts & Culture

Empowerment through the arts – for everyone

SSI's innovative Arts & Culture program is inspired by the belief that everyone deserves the opportunity to develop their creative potential and participate meaningfully in Australia’s cultural life.

Our aim is to foster and facilitate artistic expression and cultural participation by nurturing artists and cultural practitioners from refugee and migrant backgrounds.

We provide a platform for connection and self-expression, underpinned by our understanding that arts and culture initiatives empower individuals, bring communities together and help build a stronger society.

Check out the SSI Arts & Culture Brochure

SSI Arts & Culture: Cultural Dancing in Costume
Photo by Danish Ravi
Festivals and cultural events: Festival Dancing in Costumes
Photo by Danish Ravi

Festivals and cultural events

SSI Arts & Culture stages a range of vibrant and diverse festivals and events that provide valuable opportunities for artists to connect with the community.

In 2015, our flagship event, New Beginnings Festival, was born; a multi-form arts event that showcases the artistic vibrancy and cultural heritage of migrant and refugee artists to Sydney’s diverse communities and beyond.

The Homelands regional tour, a dazzling live arts and culture tour, took place for the first time in June 2019, travelling across regional QLD and NSW. Homelands aims to build social cohesion and a deeper appreciation of cultural diversity within Australia through the sharing of art, music and settlement experiences.

From July – September 2020, The New Beginnings Freedom Sessions ran as a series of five performances and artist discussions featuring a diverse group of talented performers from refugee and migrant backgrounds, livestreamed from Wordplay Studios in Sydney. Click here to view the sessions

These sessions are one of the ways we are trying to support and highlight culturally and linguistically diverse artists through this challenging time.

Visit New Beginnings Festival Website

Upcoming events

futureproof

The Future-Proof showcase is a culmination of the works created by the talented artists of the Artist Development Program, depicting their unique interpretation of the many facets of life as new Australian artists. The exhibition will be a month-long, multi-artform experience featuring captivating live performances and engaging artist talks.

Click here for more information on the exhibition and click 'attending' on the Facebook event for updates

Community arts & cultural engagement

Through our community-minded approach, we work closely with artists and communities from diverse cultural backgrounds and enable participants to express themselves, find their creative voice and share in truly meaningful cultural exchanges.

Over the years, we’ve been able to connect artists through shared cultural engagement initiatives with the Sydney Writer’s Festival, The Iraqi Cultural Festival, The Human Sound Project and CuriousWorks.

Community arts & cultural engagement: Women Speaking Via Can Phone
Photo by Danish Ravi
Creative pathways for newly arrived artists and cultural practitioners: Man Painting a Lion
Photo by Danish Ravi

Creative pathways for newly arrived artists and cultural practitioners

Refugees and migrants bring new artistic perspectives, diverse cultural knowledge and heritage to their new home, enriching the cultural capital of the nation. However, no matter how talented they might be, artists from culturally diverse backgrounds who have recently arrived in a new country typically struggle for both work and recognition.

Since 2014, we have supported innovative minds through skills-enhancing workshops and have created showcase and employment pathways and income-generating opportunities for artists and cultural practitioners through our Creative Pathway and Artist Development Programs.

Arts advocacy, capacity building and leadership

We work year-round with key partners in the arts and culture sector to facilitate creative conversations and find long lasting solutions to issues facing artists from diverse backgrounds.

Some of the partnerships we have established include Australian Women in Music Awards, Diversity Arts Australia, Casula Powerhouse Centre and CuriousWorks.

'SSI Artist Voices: experiences of the pandemic and a desired future’ presents the findings of a series of virtual in-depth artist roundtables facilitated by SSI between August and September 2020. The roundtables aimed at providing an opportunity for artists involved in the SSI Arts & Culture program to discuss the future of the arts and their own artistic practice and to define what recovery and support would look like for them.

Click here to the view the report

Arts advocacy, capacity building and leadership: Woman Speaking at Conference
Photo by Danish Ravi
Partner with us: Group of People in Cultural Costume
Photo by Danish Ravi

Partner with us

The SSI Arts & Culture program partners with arts organisations, artists and cultural workers to deliver an annual program of events, projects and workshops.

If you are interested in partnering with us, please contact:

Carolina Triana
Arts and Culture Program Manager

Mobile 0435 865 084

Partner with us

Shape the future with us

We’re offering a range of exciting sponsorship, partnership and donation opportunities. Learn how you and your organisation can support the movement towards a more harmonious, inclusive and culturally enriched society.

Want to know more? Please contact:

Naushin Rahman
Fundraising and Partnerships Manager

Mobile 0435 865 084

Support us

Shape the future with us: Woman Looking Into the Sky
Photo by Anna Kucera

Arts & Culture Program

SSI Arts & Culture Program

SSI’s self-funded Arts and Culture program is inspired by the belief that everyone deserves the opportunity to develop their creative potential and participate meaningfully in the cultural life of the community— no matter where they come from, what language they speak, or their level of ability. The Arts and Culture program uses a number of innovative initiatives to accomplish this aim.


SSI New Beginnings Festival

Established in 2015, the SSI New Beginnings Festival is a unique celebration of the creative work of artists and makers from refugee and migrant backgrounds. Through an innovative, vibrant annual program staged at Sydney’s inner city venues, the festival encourages established and emerging communities to come together for a shared cultural experience. Visit our website for more details.

New Beginnings Festival in Spring
Image: New Beginnings Festival in Spring Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour

 

Artist development

The SSI Arts and Culture program supports newly arrived artists and makers to fully participate in Sydney’s creative community. We do this by facilitating and providing professional development, showcase and employment opportunities, and connecting artists to relevant industry networks. Examples include Singular/Plural (2017), Home: Between here and there (2015) and digital media workshops with CuriousWorks (2014-2016).


Image: Artist Development program

 

Community arts 

Working hand-in-hand with people from the community, SSI coordinates creative projects that enable participants to express their feelings, find their creative voice and share in a cultural experience. These have included Dancing my Dreams (2016-2017) and the SSI Community Kitchen: New Beginnings song (2017).

 

Arts advocacy and leadership 

We work year-round with key stakeholders and partners in the arts and culture sectors to facilitate creative conversations and find long lasting solutions for issues facing artists from diverse backgrounds. This included the 2016 Arts & Refugees Forum, which provided networking and development opportunities for artists, arts organisations, academics, policy-makers and community workers. See program here.

Arts & Culture Refugees and the Arts poster
Image: Arts & Refugees Forum
 

The SSI Arts and Culture program partners with arts organisations, artists and cultural workers to deliver an annual program of events, projects and workshops. If you are interested in partnering with us, contact Carolina Triana, Arts and Culture Program Manager, on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (M) 0435 865 084.

 

Vision and values

SSI’s vision is to achieve a society that values the diversity of its people and actively provides support to ensure meaningful social and economic participation and to assist individuals and families to reach their potential.

Social Justice

Equity and access to all

Diversity

Respecting diversity and being non-discriminatory

Compassion

Caring, empathy and respect for the dignity of others

Respect

Co-operation and mutual respect

Quality

Dynamic, flexible and responsive service

Ethics

Professional practices and accountability

Innovation

Commitment to partnerships and excellence