Community Saadaqa (Friendship): Cultural understanding through a Shared Sense of Place
Presenter: Lauren Carr
Queensland University of Technology
Theme: Cultural Exchange for Tolerance, Understanding and Peace
This project, “Community Saadaqa” (friendship in Arabic) seeks to engage local Australian students and Middle Eastern students in a series of creative based workshops on the theme of “living and learning in the community” as a platform for cultural exchange. The workshops will involve creative writing, poetry, visual art, spoken word, drama and music production which are then presented to the university and community online via a website, and in different physical locations on the university campus. It is envisaged that local and Middle Eastern students will collaborate and work together during the workshop process.
Initial research by QUT International (2007) at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane, Australia has indicated that Middle Eastern students are looking for events where they can “celebrate their culture” and meet with local students who will “share culture, friendship and offer help on university issues”. Through sharing stories and listening, this project will allow participants and the audience of community members to understand the culture and feelings of Middle Eastern students. This in turn will help to build and strengthen the community understanding and appreciation of Middle Eastern people, and allow Middle Eastern students to feel more connected to the local community.