Designing Refugee Stories
In 2015, Mums4Refugees (M4R) partnered with Shopfront to help develop their branding and collateral. The grassroots community group is comprised of mothers who came together to find ways to bring positive changes to Australia’s treatment of refugees and immigration detention system. They work to provide support to refugees and asylum seekers living in Sydney and in detention centres.
Five UTS students from the Design, Architecture and Building Faculty through the subject Socially Responsive Design were able to work with Mum4Refugees to create an animation from the perspective of the woman on Nauru Island that allows the audience to empathise with refugees and asylum seekers and understand the terrible conditions they have been subjected to. The script for the video was adapted from a poem written by Sydney writer and mum, Fiona Yardley, who wrote it after speaking to asylum seekers on Nauru.
The student team with their client, Mums4Refugees, on presentation day
The animation was a ‘message from the heart’, designed to make Australians aware of the cruelty being inflicted on refugees and asylum seekers. It calls on the government to act, finishing with a plea; “Malcolm Turnbull, end the war of refugee women.”
Morgan Roche, a co-convenor of M4R said, “We made this animation because we believe most Australians would not support this kind of cruelty if they knew what was really going on. What we are seeing on Nauru is not resettlement, it is complete abandonment.”
Less than a week after the students presented their work, M4R released the animation, which received viral support across multiple media channels including GetUp, Daily Life, and the Age Newspaper. The animation has been viewed over 65 000 times on the M4R facebook page alone.
A still from the students' M4R animation
Working on this project was an eye-opening and powerful experience for students. Kenny Mak, one of the team, commented that “working with Mums 4 Refugees was a truly valuable and rewarding experience. Helping a client with real needs, bold vision and important cause made the project challenging and motivating.”
Siobhan Costigan, a documentary filmmaker and the students’ tutor, said that “the students have helped to create an incredibly powerful and thought-provoking piece of communication. It’s wonderful that Shopfront have helped provide the students with the opportunity to develop a project that has made a real and positive contribution to the debate over immigration detention."
The video can be viewed here.