Post 10: Design Proposition – Make Your Choice

Initial Proposal

Stemming from my in-depth engagement with the scholarly article from McCallum and Nguyen which guided a lot of my research and mapping throughout this process, I wanted to focus on a way that people can be informed on the refugee issue beyond influence of media and policy makers. In this way, it’s important for people to engage in the issue beyond the leverage of political and metaphorical language that saturates the Australian media.

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Post 8: Possibilities for Design led solutions

Developing concepts seems to be the greatest challenge beyond developing sound conclusions from different sets of data. In saying that, in order to develop some ideas to directly respond to the issue at hand, I had to develop a set of questions to lead me to that point. I focused on what I knew so far, analysed what I had drawn from the collaborative class sessions.

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Post 7: Inferring meaning from complex stakeholder links within issue mapping

Collaborative classroom experiences have allowed more varied responses to this issue and has deepened my understanding of the issue overall. In having the opportunity to hear different points of views, and indeed different issues within the areas that people are focusing on, we’re able to draw conclusions and data from collaborative brainstorming in order to uncover in-depth links between stakeholders in the issue, and the complex emotions that this draws from these stakeholders and the people/figures linked with them.

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Post 6: Data Scraping

With the topic of Asylum Seekers and Refugees being so deeply entrenched within today’s societal context, these research methods have been crucial in furthering my own understanding of the issues intertwining relationship with the community. This latest task has allowed me to further understand this issue on a community and public level by engaging more deeply with social media trends and posts. By doing so, I have been able to engage with a predominant source of primary communication in today’s society.

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Post 3: Stakeholder Mapping and Image Collection


new doc 83_1

Above is the initial stakeholder map that my group completed in the second week. Comprehending the level of complexity at which the issue functions was the main insight taken away from this exercise. Stakeholder’s are often linked by differing are similar values and beliefs, and we found that nationalism and personal belief seemed to be an influencing factor amongst stakeholder who were not even directly effected by the issue (eg Murdoch runs own Newscorp, is Right-Wing, therefore most media assets he owns are Right-Wing, unintentionally becoming a social influencer of change). Exploring this line of though further, we could extrapolate that the decision and policy makers in this situation were those who help the most amount of power (in this intense is was the Australian government). However, stakeholders directly effected by the issue, asylum seekers and refugees themselves, had the least amount of ties to these policy makers and influencers and therefore had the least amount of agency in the issue.

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Post 5: Design-led ethnography

My goal in this interview was to really try and understand how media could influence opinion on the issue by creating narrative or presenting particular biases in reports on the issue of Asylum Seekers/Refugees in Australia. In this way, I wanted to further dissect the polarisation of public opinion as generated by media representations and to bring out any possible motivation behind this if any. I wanted to give Rebecca lead in questions, however a general lack of in-depth understanding of the topic on her part gave rise to a third view that I had not considered on the spectrum as a moderate viewer who may be more uneducated on the issue. As such, I expressed to Rebecca that she may then only be seeing what the media is presenting to her. She responded thusly:

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Post 4: Influencing Social Change through Design by CleverFranke

CleverFranke is a studio based out of the United Kingdom that works within the field of Data Visualisation and Interaction Design. As such, they are in a position to extrapolate information that is concise and representative of emergent practices and issues. In their project “Seeing Data”, the studio explores the effectiveness of data visualisation within the realm of quantifying complex information, in this case in relation to Asylum Seekers and Refugees.

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Post 1: Asylum Seekers in Australia

The Australian

“Ten myths around asylum seekers arriving on boats in Australian waters” Candance Sutton

Sutton is writing for the unaware Australian public and addresses common misconceptions to due with concern surrounding Asylum Seekers. 

Sutton writes this piece for The Australian, a right-wing leading Newspaper owned by Newscorp, which in turn is owned by the right-wing supporting Rupert Murdoch. In this way, the Australian generally has right-leaning tendencies. However, the motivation behind the article is to address these misconceptions surrounding Asylum seekers entering Australian waters. In this way, the article adversely engages in a topic that challenges right-wing policy as it addresses these misconceptions in such a way that it questions extremist rhetoric surrounding the issue. As well as this, Sutton supports her article with factual figures. In such a way, the article has no particular bias, but rather an agenda to end uninformed perceptions.  

Sutton herself is a well regarded journalist who has written for just about every newspaper in Australia. As well as this, she has experience as a journalist in New York. However, she is by no means an expert on Australian Asylum seeker policy, but rather presents factual evidence through the form of policy making which she has been writing about for quite some time. As she writes across a variety of papers, it can be scrutinised that the bias of a particular institution or media source does not influence her writing. In fact her rhetoric is supported by a variety of scholarly articles, but the language of this article is simplified to denote to the Australian public, and indeed readers of the Australian that there is unfair stigmas presented in Australian media in regards to asylum seekers which I tend to agree with. 

The Project

Asylum seeker self-immolations are “part of the policy game-plan” Waleed Aly

Waleed Aly is a well known journalist who often exposes extreme rhetoric within the Australian governmental system through leftist expositions on the program “The Project” – a current affair program that addresses news, entertainment in what was originally pitched in a comedic slant. In this way, they often target youth based audiences.

Waleed Aly is a Muslim journalist and as such has a bias, but particularly contextually relevant view on the extremism that Australia’s refugee policy concerningly demonstrated. He addresses the recent self-immolations on Nauru and condemns Australia’s refugee policy and claims that by burning themselves, asylum seekers are merely martyring themselves for no cause, but rather falling into the trap of the policy – that is, to keep asylum seekers offshore, in such away that they don’t enter Australia. Although he has addressed this issue before, Aly’s views are biased and personal, although incredibly passionate. His views are often responses to events, and his personalised rhetoric is not marginalised, but one that reflects the views of many people within Australia whose voices or opinions are not often heard within fact based Australian media. 

Sunday Morning Herald

“Stop the bastardry of Australia’s offshore detention centres” Michael Short

Short’s article is a mostly opinion based article in response to Four Corner’s recent exposal of the treatment of children in offshore detention. He writes for SMH and is the Chief Editorial Writer for the Age. As well as this, he writes across a variety of Fairfax owned properties and has many years experience as a journalist. 

 The well researched article uses facts to support a rhetoric which, again, indefinitely condemns offshore detention, voicing the opinion of the many in the Australian public. He is a regular contributor to the Sunday Morning Herald, one of the more moderate newspapers within Australia. However, Short uses strong language to condemn offshore detention in response to these recently exposed images. The article has a very frustrated tone, as Short eloquently criticises the government for their lack of action and policies that are in clear violation of certain human rights policies. Although the article is a response to the detention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait in detention in the Northern Territory, Short extends his article to discuss the overall failure of the government in providing adequate conditions for asylum seekers in offshore detention. 

Although he is not necessarily an expert on this particular issue, Short’s argument is solely based on a condemning report. He uses his experience as a journalist to support his rhetoric and targets key government policies that back his exasperated claims. Thus, although an emotional piece, the sources he targets as support are meant to galvanise the public in relation to this issue, which is a point of view I agree with. 


The Saturday Paper

“Damned lies, News Corp and Manus Island refugees” Behrouz Boochani

Boochani is a Kurdish journalist who was held in detention on Nauru. He is writing in opposition of media that he claims distorts the way in which asylum seekers in offshore in detention are living.

He claims that the Herald Sun in particular falsifies how tax-payers money is being used on Nauru. Writing for the weekly newspaper The Saturday Paper, Boochani as a contributor is unique in his positioning having experienced life in detention before. In such a way, his view is biased but coming from first hand experience, therefore becoming more trustworthy than the claims outlined within the Herald Sun. He speaks directly of his experience on Nauru, the exposition becoming a recount to damn what he deems as lies from the Herald Sun and Newscorp, two right-leaning media sources.

The editorial in itself is emotional in such a way that it has truthful discourse in its favour, leading the audience to view this prerogative as a primary experience over what a right-wing journalist may write. Although his position is not marginal amongst leftists and moderates in Australia, it adds credence to their position and validates that offshore detention is damaging to refugees seeking asylum within Australia.

Herald Sun

“Manus Island asylum seekers trading taxpayer-funded cigarettes for booze, marijuana” Peter Michael

Michael is a journalist for Herald Sun which is a subsidiary of News Corps, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch. As a journalist for the sun, Peter Michael seems to have no expertise in this area but rather bases his article on loose reports.

In his report, he claims that there is a black market trade within offshore detention in which taxpayers money is being used on marijuana, electronics and alcohol. As well as this he mentions that taxpayer-funded cigarettes are currency on Manus Island. The article comes at a peculiar time in that detainees are holding protests within the facility. As such, the article seems to have a bias and agenda in damning their actions. In fact, rather than stating that the cigarette currency comes as a result of detainees needing to buy basic necessities, Michael links it to some sort of illegal activity like theft or robbery, positioning the reader negatively. As well as this, cigarette trade is often associated with trade with prison, so by not substantiating his claims with first hand experiences, whether it be from a refugee or policy maker, Michael immediately angles the audience to view detainees on Manus Islands as prisoners, showing a distinct right-wing media prerogative in the way they have chosen to present the issue.


Upon further examination and dissection of these articles there seems to be reoccurring themes within them. As such, as they are contextually relevant and repetitive, further positions to be explored are as followed; mental health in offshore detention, education of youth in detention, media bias and polarisation in the issue of offshore detention. 


Television Programs

Asylum seeker self-immolations are “part of the policy game-plan” 2016, Television program, The Project, Channel 10, Sydney, May 2


Boochani, B 2016, Damned lies, News Corp and Manus Island refugees, The Saturday Paper, viewed 28 July 2016 <>

Michael, P 2016, Manus Island asylum seekers trading taxpayer-funded cigarettes for booze, marijuana, Herarld Sun,  viewed 30 July 2016 <>

Short, M 2016, Stop the bastardry of Australia’s offshore detention centres, SMH, viewed 31 July 2016 <>

Sutton, C 2013, Ten myths around asylum seekers arriving on boats in Australian waters, The Australian, viewed 29 July 2016 <>

Post 2: Using Scholarly Articles to Dissect discourse on Asylum Seeker Policies in Australia

“Drowning in our own home: a metaphor-led discourse analysis of Australian news media reporting on maritime asylum seekers” Li Nguyen & Kelly McCallum 

Nguyen and McCallum present a cross examination of certain way that Australian media uses metaphorical language and constructs to present refugees seeking asylum by boat (maritime asylum seekers or MASs). As such, they present the argument that this metaphorical language legitimises certain immigration policies. They present their findings in the journal “Communication Research and Practice”, which analyses broad spectrum areas of communication and social policy, meaning that their having their article published within this particular publication adds credence to their research and legitimises their findings.

Both Nguyen and McCallum are based out of the university of Canberra. Nguyen, as a researcher, focused in the area of discourse and language in relation to social policy and power. McCallum is Associate Professor of Communication and Media in the News and Media Research – in short, her area of focus lies within political communication in the media and policymaking in Australian Indigenous affairs. Therefore, in combination we can conclude that their dissection of media examination of Asylum Seekers presents a well researched prerogative to their presented topic. In fact, their research lies in a point of view that is legitimised by their sources, supporting their theories around conceptual and figurative language being used to construct false narrative within certain areas of the Australian Media.

When examining their particular prerogative, the basis and reasoning behind their article becomes abundantly clear – as researchers and experts within their fields of communication and social policy they argue that particular narrative and bias’ presented by the media concretise the idea that media amplifies social perception of asylum seekers by boat as the “menace”. They examine this view in conjunction with ever-changing asylum seeker policy within Australia, adding value to their conclusive argument that media narratives change according to government policy.

“Children in Australia’s immigration centres” Ryan Essex

Ryan Essex is a PhD student at the university of Sydney who studies the ill effects of offshore detention on children’s health. He emphasises that although offshore detention has been legalised, conditions in these facilities were not under review at the time, and therefore infringe on basic human rights.

 As a PhD student he uses the opportunity to scrutinise and examine policy in relation to offshore detention in ad article that uses children as a focus group to frame his argument as a researcher and scholar. His reasoning beyond being a PhD student is to urge the government to develop humane responses to this critical issue. As such, there is a bias in his emotional plea in his abstract explanation of the article. However, as the issue is one that is highly polarises opinions within Australia, we can see that as a PhD student that Ryan validates his claims through his sources and cross examination of flip-flopping policy and attitudes within government policy. As such, Essex also frames his well researched article through reports from paediatricians at University of Sydney to the Australian Human Rights Commission in October, who argued that the conditions on Nauru and in Wickham point were detrimental to the mental and physical health of children. Therefore, Essex’s article is not merely an opinion piece of a rigorously researched article that has the support of experts in its sources.

As well as this, Essex’s claims can be supported in the fact that this is not a marginal view amongst experts in his field. Although just a student, it can be seen that this viewpoint is clearly discussed and condemned by high level scholars in his field, such like Nguyen and McCallum.  

Upon examining these articles and dissecting them thoroughly, I cannot help but agree with the views presented in both arguments which are both rigorously researched and supported through reliable and strong sources. It is hard to ignore that what is happening in offshore detention is a blatant violation in of human rights, and in Essex’s own works the government needs to develop a humane and sustainable response to this critical issue facing Australia.


Essex, R. 2016, “Children in Australia’s immigration centres”, The Lancet, vol. 387, no. 10031, pp. 1903.

Nguyen,  L & McCallum K. 2016 “Drowning in our own home: a metaphor-led discourse analysis of Australian news media reporting on maritime asylum seekers“ Communication Research and Practice, vol. 2, no 2. pp NA