‘I’m a Local…’ Negotiating belonging with former refugees in regional Australia through inclusive partnerships
Anderson, L, Cumings, R, Gatwiri, K 2019, '‘I’m a Local…’ Negotiating belonging with former refugees in regional Australia through inclusive partnerships', Cosmopolitan Civil Societies: an interdisciplinary journal, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 21-36.
This article discusses the impact and implications of ‘I’m a Local…’, an initiative developed in partnership between a regional university, a refugee resettlement community organisation and former refugees from African nations in a regional Australian community. The initiative sought to improve understandings about refugees, acknowledge their contributions to Australian society and support local, inclusive cultures. It included the development of public resources exploring the process of former refugees in establishing a sense of belonging and becoming ‘locals’. Racialised ‘Others’ continue to be excluded from ‘belonging’ within Australian communities at a wide range of practical and symbolic levels, so it remains an ongoing challenge to broaden the experience of belonging, challenge the borders erected around ‘local’ identities, and work to transform Australia’s post-colonial paradigm. ‘I’m a Local…’ provides an instructive example of how change agents from different sectors working collaboratively can dismantle prevailing discourses and affirm more inclusive and hopeful futures.