A Welcome Design for Refugees
Design by UTS Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building students has been adopted as the official branding of international non-profit organisation Refugees Welcome.
Started three years ago during the Syrian Refugee Crisis, Refugees Welcome connects people with spare rooms to those seeking asylum. They have ‘homed’ more than 1,100 people and are now in 14 countries.
Refugees Welcome Australia, established earlier this year, wanted to develop a logo and a ‘host’ package for people wanting to make their spare rooms available, but did not have the resources to get the design work done. That’s where a group of final year Visual Communications students and UTS Shopfront Community Program came in.
UTS Shopfront is a service that matches community organisations with the expertise available within the University of Technology Sydney. For 21 years now, Shopfront and the Visual Communication Course have collaborated on the Socially Responsive Design subject, setting up real-world, pro bono design briefs for students with non profit organisations.
“While the design was originally planned only for use in Australia,” says Hannah Lai, Sydney Representative for Refugees Welcome Australia, “The groups in the other countries were so impressed with the students’ final work that we decided to use it internationally.”
“Refugees often face stereotypes so it was a welcome change to see UTS students’ creating a design that allows people to see beyond the stereotypes and focus more on the humanity - featuring hands that share and encourage,” says Ms Lai.
During the design process, the students themselves shared lunch with a group of refugees and participated in the Refugee Camp in my Neighbourhood, a simulated refugee journey led by asylum seekers where participants are immersed in the experience of fleeing a country and seeking safety.
“Getting to meet and talk with refugees was eye-opening and really helped us to understand exactly who we were designing for,” says Leah Gelman, a member of the design team. “And it reminded me that my own family were once refugees after fleeing from Russia during the 1920s.”
Leah, along with Ziyi Jin, Erin Taylor and Yushan Yan, completed the project under the academic supervision of Design, Architecture and Building academic Robert O’Farrell.
The deadline to submit a community project to UTS Shopfront for first semester is January 31. Click here for more information or to apply.