Proposing a possibility for a design response on the issue of Refugees and Asylum seekers can go down different paths in order to find one that creates a solution. The topic is so broad that there are many problematic areas that need to be fixed before approaching the main issues. Working in a group of four, our aim was to create a problem statement that cues the who, what, when, where and why of the issue and the solution to it. By answering these cues, it should help frame the problem statement and create ideas in which design can address.
Individually I came up with two different problem statements while brainstorming. The two problem statement are around the topic of racism and human rights breaches. The first problem statement is “Refugees denied entry into Australia based on race, religion and legitimacy when all they seek is safety”. Although I did not further analyse this statement with my group members I did look at it in depth and started to understand who the main stakeholders are, what is the reasoning behind the problem and different ways to solve it through the use of design.
The second problematic statement I created was “The indefinite state of asylum effecting the mental health of refugees in offshore detention centres.” The group brainstormed this statement and we found many different factors that contribute to the issue. There is a breach of human rights when it comes to these refugees in detention centres. A large percentage of these refugees face many mental health issues because they feel as though they are trapped behind bars without knowing a date they will be released and accepted. Stresses such as prior experiences and the search for safety all effect their mental health. Although there is government funding, temporary recourses, medical aid and legislation in place, the abuse still continues and conditions are getting worse. The solution to the problem comes from the stakeholders such as government bodies, if there was a way of defining the date of release for these people then they would feel more comfortable knowing when they will be accepted into the country. As well as providing a date of release, these asylum seekers and refugees need to be treated as people and not criminals for escaping their homes and looking for safety. The government needs to stop dehumanising refugees and start considering the human rights violations that take place in these off-shore detention centres. Many different countries have their eyes on Australia as an example of handling refugees and asylum seekers, if we do not treat them fairly and justly then the rest of the world will start making mistakes like Australia does with placing these people in an indefinite position in detention centres.
The six possibilities I have identified over the course of six weeks are:
*Looking at refoulment and the treatment of sending refugees back to where they came from due to not complying with immigration.
*The pattern of the refugee crisis around the world and Australia, looking at migration through the decades to show how it is a continual problem.
*The legitimacy of refugees on entering the country, how many are turned away by the government and what reasoning.
*Should refugees receive the same benefits or more than regular Australian Citizens. If people agree disagree, peoples emotions about the topic.
*Public indifference with refugees in the Australian community.
*Looking at detention centres and the indefinite state of asylum seekers placed on off-shore processing programs.
After looking at these six possibilities I have come to a conclusion that there are endless problems in the issue of Refugees and Asylum seekers. I want to target an issue that specifically effects me and create a design solution that will open the publics eye about these issues that might not directly effect us but happen regularly. Awareness is one of the biggest solutions to the problem, through creating awareness people are obliged to start thinking of direct action towards the issue. Awareness creates thinking and thinking creates action. We cannot directly target the issue because of the big stakeholders who are in the way such as the government, but if we create awareness the issue becomes more visible. My draft proposal is not specific yet but I aim to look at the recent refoulment of refugees in Australia and their placement in society and the indifference between them. I am also interested in the mental health of asylum seekers in detention centres and their indefinite statuses. Through these two ideas I aim to create a poetic visual map which projects the data and information on the specific topic and aims at creating awareness and talk about the issue that is not usually discussed. These issues happen everyday but do not directly effect us and we don’t see it happening but if It were visually projected then people will have no choice but to think about the consequences that come with the issue, therefore creating awareness.
By Tamar Nazarian