The power of sports and art to help migrants and refugees settle in
20 March 2021 at 8:30 am
An event exploring the benefits young migrants and refugees have experienced from grassroots sports and arts initiatives has taken place in Melbourne
Philanthropists, multicultural communities, academics and policymakers have come together to celebrate and share positive stories of youth resilience as part of a project focused on migrant and refugee youth.
Footscray Community Arts Centre (FCAC) hosted an event on Thursday for the “Youth multiculturalism from below” project, which is jointly funded by Gandel Philanthropy and RMIT University.
The research project examined ways migrant and refugee youth in Melbourne used sports and arts to develop “a sense of shared generational and local identities” with people from different cultural backgrounds.
It aimed to understand what helped young migrants settle in better as part of the community.
The event featured a diverse range of performers including Asanti Dance Theatre, Balmoral Football Club, KUD Dukat, Victorian Black Sea Turkish Cultural Association, and South Sudanese Traditional Dance.
Professor Hariz Halilovich, from the Social and Global Studies Centre at RMIT University, said the event was about getting a glimpse of the rich pool of talent that young people on the fringes of Melbourne possessed.
“The event – and the research project within which it is situated – focuses on positive experiences and stories that young people create, perform and live in their multicultural neighbourhoods, usually far from any media attention,” Halilovich said.
Vedran Drakulic OAM, the CEO of Gandel Philanthropy, said the project findings would help them better calibrate their future funding opportunities.
“We joined this research project to learn a bit more about what is best practice in helping new and emerging communities, especially young people, feel at home, feel engaged and involved,” Drakulic said.
“We hope the findings about what works – and what doesn’t – will inform our future granting.”
Dr Sandro Demaio, the CEO of VicHealth, added that the opportunity for young migrant and refugee people to participate in arts and sports was vital for their health and wellbeing.
He said the impact of these activities should not be underestimated.
“Building social connections, feeling a sense of belonging and having the space to discuss complex issues are among a host of benefits that arts and sports provide,” Demaio said.
“It’s great to see emerging research showing the positive outcomes from grassroots level sports and arts initiatives and to guide us in creating spaces that will meaningfully and sustainably support the health and wellbeing of young people.”