Post 10: Reflection and Proposition

Tamar Nazarian

Over the past 8 weeks in working and brainstorming with my peers I found that there is an emotional conflict on the issue of refugees receiving benefits by the government and it starts to become evident that the negative emotions outweigh the positive ones.

Benefeel is a hybrid between a data visualisation and service design installation that targets the negative outlook and emotions people have over the government helping refugees through benefits. The aim of the installation is to make people aware of the majority opinion on the issue and how the negative emotions and feelings are dominant over the positive ones. Citizens aged 18-25 are encouraged to be honest and rate their emotions on the topic through a series of four coloured stickers that represent four different emotions. Once the user has picked an emotion they are then encouraged to draw a face on it which represents what they are feeling and place it on a blank wall in a line. Overtime the installation grows and becomes a visual representation of what society paints their emotion and feelings as on the topic of refugees receiving benefits. The transitional design becomes a data visualisation through emerging patterns of emotions with the use of colour and shape that becomes evident in the installation. The aim is to create empathy through user participation and bring awareness to the negativity that the issue causes which then leads to other issues. When people start to see how their emotions effect the issue they start to think about the consequences and how it adds to the problem. Nothing can be fixed through negativity, only positivity becomes an action for change. It allows for people to be open for discussion and give them the opportunity to react and display their views on the issue, therefore creating awareness.

My peers helped me realised a couple different key points I should consider about my proposal and how it aims at being a design action to support change. The first key point was to map out sentiment over a period of time to see how effective it is in practice. Another key point was to look at in depth how the design will invite the user to engage. Looking at the who, what, when, why and how of the design and whether it ticks all the boxes is also something we explored while breaking down my proposal. It is important to consider all these key points because it ensures a successful design that works. Through looking at these key points and seeing how it resonates with my design it can help shape it into an action that will possibly support change.
By Tamar Nazarian



Post 8: Brainstorming possibilities for a design response

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


Post 9: Visual Documentation of the brainstorming session

Brainstorming possibilities for a design response with a group of people is a great way to get input on certain topics that surround an overall issue. During this exercise I found many of my peers comments toward my response to be constructive and helpful in finding the right issue to target for my final. Their opinions helped direct my problem statement in a way that was more specific to the issue. As well as providing criticism they also  helped me gain an insight into different ways I can project the design solution. Through collectively discussing and comparing, new ideas and perspectives start to emerge.


Our group taking images of a mind map we worked on creating together. Image documentation is important to collecting information.


The first mind map is about the indefinite state of asylum seekers in detention centres. Our group discussed the reasoning behind the issue and the consequences its stakeholders. Through this mind map I gained a new insight into different sectors which effect the issue. I learnt that mental health and human rights play a big role in the indefinite state of these individuals and that the government is doing little to help people in this position.


The second mind map is about public indifference with refugees and asylum seekers. Through this mind map I leant that more public indifference is driven by equality, rascal and culture/race. Through collectively brainstorming we came to a conclusion that as much as we help these people we view some of their benefits as un-equal to us (Australian Citizens). There always be public indifference unless the refugees and asylum seekers get equal rights as we do.


The third mind map is about over burdening developing counties with refugees. Many of the first world countries pass over their refugees to third world countries and assist them with pay and facilities. Our group came to a conclusion that by passing on our refugees we are becoming an example for the world, other countries are now looking at the way we process refugees and are leading by example such as off-shore processing in detention centres. We devised that the issue needs to be fixed through government bodies and awareness.


Our group only completed three mind maps due to over-discussing and deconstructing the problem statements by our peers. The downside to this process is leaving enough time to discuss other peoples topic of interest, some information was left out due to this. 

In conclusion, brainstorming with a group of people has been a learning experience for me personally. Through peoples insights I have gained different understanding and perspectives into the topic of refugees and asylum seekers. Group work is fundamental in further exploring an idea and deconstructing it to build and make it stronger. Through this process I feel I have a better understanding of the issue through all its angles, each position has been looked at in depth and discussed. Through my peers constructive criticism and ideologies I have gained knowledge that will assist me in my research and final design solution.

By Tamar Nazarian


Post 7: Issue Mapping

In week five working with pairs, we were asked to collaboratively map the issue of Asylum seekers and refugees and look at in detail at the stakeholders that are involved in the topic. The process included looking at various questions which highlighted the relationship between stakeholders in more detail, the controversies and disagreements involved, how they intersect and the emotions behind them all. During this exercise information about different parties in the issue were surfaced and all the conflicting issues between them. The aim of this exercise is to look at the relationship between these individuals and discover how they work and don’t work with one another.


The first step of the mapping process was writing down the stakeholders that we had from our previous map and analysing them further by looking at them more specifically. My partner and I looked at four different stakeholders that play an important role in the issue, the media, government, corporations and NGO. By looking at these four stakeholders I learned how heavily involved specific individuals are in the issue and the impact they all make. My partner listed all the different politicians and MPs who are known for their contribution in the government list and it came to my surprise that most of the people listed are negative towards refugees apart from the people involved with humanitarian rights. For a nation who accepts multiculturalism it is a shock that the government is so negative about letting these people in and helping them. It opens my eyes to how the government is responsible for all the hate that goes towards these refugees and asylum seekers as well sending them to detention centres. They are heavily involved with the creation of this issue in Australia and displacing these individuals from a right to safety.



Map one showing the stakeholders in more detail, the people who are specifically involved with the issue.

The second step was to map out the controversies that take place in regards to refugees and asylum seekers and look at the emotions that come out from them. My partner and I discussed the main controversies such as whether these refugees are legitimate, the racism towards them, the benefits they receive on acceptance and refoulment. When looking at these controversies in depth we both discovered how the emotional tone and framework behind them is quite sad and depressing. The reality behind these controversies are negative and most of them don’t have any positive aspects to them. Most of the controversies around refugees and asylum seekers involve hate, fear, sadness and distress. After looking at the emotions behind them I came to a realisation that if we want to fix these issues we must consider the emotions behind them and turn them into positive ones. Dwelling on the negative only causes more problems and by looking at them in a positive way only then we can fix them.



Map two shows the controversies and disagreements involved between stakeholders and the emotions behind them.


The last step in mapping was picking three different controversies and looking at the stakeholders involved within them and how they relate to one another. The three controversies we picked were legitimacy of refugees, detention centres and the responsibility to took after them. Once we looked at specifically who is involved where and how they connect with one another it became apparent of the names of individuals who keep popping up in all the issues and therefore are contributors or impact them. Stakeholders such as the media and government are the main parties that connected with all three controversies and are found to be impacting them in negative ways. Through this exercise it is clear to see the people who are constantly adding to the issue and making it worse instead of building on it and fixing it.



Map three shows how the stakeholders intersect with one another and shows the link of how they are involved in each controversy.  

Overall the mapping exercise highlighted how important it is to consider the emotions behind a situation and the stakeholders who are involved with it. The relationship between specific stakeholder can be the key to finding out more information on different solutions to the problem and who is responsible for creating them. As stated in “Issue mapping for an Ageing Europe”, social issues should be understood through its actors and their movements. (Rogers, Sánchez-Querubín & Kil 2015) and  (Latour, 2005, p. 5) portray the social not as a substance but instead as the movement of actors constantly in the process of (re)assembling, (re)associating and (dis)agreeing. By looking at the “actors” movements it becomes obvious to who is creating the issues and adding to them. My partner and I learnt a lot about how certain individuals/stakeholders keep contributing to the same issues and controversies and how they are creating further problems for the issue by being involved with one another. During this task I discovered information that would help me in my research and design strategy in approaching the issue of asylum seekers and refugees. Stakeholders are the key to information and how they work/relate to one another and emotion behind their actions can help bring a solution to the table as well as understand where the problems are created.


By Tamar Nazarian



Latour, Bruno (2005). Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory. New York: Oxford University Press.

Richard Rogers, Natalia Sánchez-Querubín and Aleksandra Kil. 2015 , Issue Mapping for an Ageing Europe, UTS Online, viewed 6 September 2016,<;



Post 6: Scraping the web for data

By Tamar Nazarian

Scraping the web for data can be a useful tool in the collection and archiving of data for a certain topic or issue. It holds the key to current information that can be accessed at any point. Data scraping is a good way to understand different perspectives and outlooks on issues and can help us understand different ideologies behind a topic. The past two weeks I have been data scraping the web on the issue of Asylum Seekers and Refugees in an attempt to uncover new information/trending topics that I did not know before. Using various tools such as Twitter advance search and Data Pipeline, I have documented and collated different data sets which I have found online to assist me with my research on my issue.


The first data scraping tool I used to assist my research was Twitter Advanced search. Through twitter advance search I am able to look through recent tweets of text, images and trending topics related to the words I search that resonate with my issue. I decided to scrape twitter on data which related to refugees, asylum seekers and the term “Un-Australian”.  My search surprised me on how pro some tweeters can be towards helping asylum seekers and standing up for their rights. The recent collection of tweets is targeted towards government bodies and are calling them “Un-Australian” because of their comments towards people seeking asylum. In recent news, Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison have used the term “Illegal” to describe Asylum seekers and Refugees. Most twitter activists have backfired to these comments and have decided to fight for these people rights.

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Image of my Twitter advanced search data scraping exercise on Refugees and Asylum Seekers and the topic of being #UnAustralian.

Through this data scraping exercise I found that people are relating the denying of refugees and asylum seekers as an “Un-Australian” thing to do, this also involves government members who are making these statements towards them. It shows how Australia, a country that is widely multicultural, is deciding to turn its back to refugees and this is the “Un-Australian” thing to do because we are known for accepting people no matter what background they come from. It is a controversial topic in recent news about the issue and people are concerned.



The second data scraping tool I used was Data Pipeline. Data Pipeline is similar to Twitter advanced search in a sense but archives all the information into an Excel sheet and categorises the information.


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Image: Data scraping on the topic of refugees and asylum seekers in Nauru, the following image shows a collection of all the tweets that mention these words.

On data pipeline I conducted an advanced search on two topics, the first relates to asylum seekers and Nauru and the topic of interest between these two words. I found that many people are talking about the rights of these asylum seekers on Nauru and in other detention centres such as the ones on Manus Island. Most of the tweets are about news articles that have been shared around or people voicing their opinion on the topic. It seems that most of the talk is about the unethical conditions of asylum seekers on these islands and their position. Most people who are voicing these opinions come from pro-refugee outlooks and are involved in looking out for their best interests.

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 This image shows all the hashtags related to the topic of asylum seekers and refugees on Nauru.


The second search I conducted on Data Pipeline was on the general topic of refugees and asylum seekers around the world. Once again the search made clear that most people are talking about the current refugee crisis around the world with people fleeing persecution from countries like Syria or Afghanistan and other countries turning their backs on the help they need. Once again the people who are interested in the topic are news sites and people standing up for refugee rights. The recent tweets talk about Sweden’s actions to pay refugees to go back home, the influx of refugees coming from Eritrea and Somali and how the EU should not refuse Muslim refugees. There is lots of news going around the topic of refugees because it is a current issue that is effecting the world in masses. Most people are talking about the negative problems and not highlighting the positive such as the help that comes through to these people.


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The related hashtags to the overall topic of refugees and asylum seekers, this image shows the trending topics related to the issue around the world. 

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News articles also mainly circulate around the topic of refugees on twitter, most are posted by the media or by people who care about the issue.


My finding in five points:

*It is considered “Un-Australian” if Australia, who is a multicultural country, says no to refugees.


*The wider Australian population is mostly open to accepting refugees because of their position, but would like to know if they are legitimate refugees in need of help.


*Detention centres are negatively looked upon by most people on twitter because of the way asylum seekers and refugees are treated.


*The government bodies in EU are turning their backs on refugees due to lack of control of the influx coming in, they are even paying them to go home.


*The refugee crisis is one of the biggest talked about issues currently in the news.


Overall the data scrapping exercise assisted me in further researching my topic in a new and specific way through analysing the talk that’s happening on the wide web. By data scraping I found lots of information on the topic of asylum seekers and refugees regarding the current situation and people’s opinions on the topic. The data sets helped me understand how people relate to the topic and input they have whether it is positive or negative. When researching a topic, it is important to know where the information is coming from and what the majority think. Through this exercise I have learnt that big data found on the web can be the most helpful tool in collecting and analysing information on a specific topic.


By Tamar Nazarian




Post 5: Approaches to design for change

By Tamar Nazarian

Over the course of four weeks I have been documenting and following up on the issue of refugees and asylum seekers in Australia and around the world. The issue is a complex and controversial topic amongst people and my aim was to research and learn more about the current reality of it all. Providing a safe home for refugees and asylum seekers has become one of the worlds most difficult problems to solve. Millions of people have been displaced from their homes because of uncertainty and fear of persecution. Government bodies and organisations are struggling to find solutions to fix the problem but end up creating more trouble in the end. In the process of learning and finding information about the topic, I have carried out various tasks to help guide me in the right direction and to open new perspectives into the issue, all which have helped me develop my blog.


The first task I allocated to myself was documenting all the information I saw on the news about the refugee and asylum seeker crisis. Documenting and recording my finding made it easier to look back at the information I found and follow up with it when necessary. This was one of the most important steps in researching about the topic because I was storing the data and information in a document. During this process I found I learned new things everyday that resonated with the topic. Due to the issue being a world wide crisis, I am always constantly receiving information through the media and social networks, keeping up to date with the issue globally. Through this process I also learnt that some sites can be biased towards the issue, but it is up to us to decide what it right.


The second task I allocated myself to help with my research was scraping my social media websites for any news about refugees and asylum seekers. Through Facebook I found many videos, images and articles which provided me information on the issue and content to support my blog posts. The most interesting content which I discovered on my newsfeed was a news website called AJ+. The videos which come out of this site provide the public eye live action shots and real footage about different issues. Refugees and Asylum seekers are a topic that the news site are particularly passionate about and showcase all the latest news. The site constantly updates the public with different information from around the world about the issue and gives us an insight into what these refugees experience on a daily basis. Through scraping my news feed I found this to be the most interesting and thought provoking way of gathering information on the topic. It opened my eyes to how often it appears in our lives and how big of an issue it is in our world today.


The third task which helped me develop a further understanding on the topic was mapping out all the stakeholders/participants on the issue in Australia and around the world. In a group we sat down and thought about all the people who are involved with the issue and the parts they play. By mapping out the stakeholders I started to develop an upstanding of who is contributing positively to the issue and who is making a negative impact. After mapping out the stakeholder, I went home and mapped out the relationships between each one and how they all contribute to the issue. With this task I learned about the important roles in the issue and how they all work with one another.


Image of stakeholder mapping exercise


Another in class exercise we conducted to assist us with our research was creating a probe, a questionnaire to interview our peers about our social issue and understand what they think about the situation. The aim of the interview is to provide us an insight into other people thoughts and opinions, understand the way people think and feel about the situation. I interviewed a peer in my group who seemed to be well educated on the topic and was not biased in anyway towards any of the stakeholders in the situation. The interviewed helped open my eyes to new outlooks on the topic of asylum seekers and refugees and helped me understand the demographic of people my age and what they think about the issue.


Interview about asylum seekers and refugees with a peer who remains anonymous:


 What are your views of asylum seekers and refugees?

I think we should support refugees and re-house them, let them in if its possible to do so.


Do you have any influences that make you have that opinion?

I went to a high school that was quite liberal and this influenced my opinion, and as I got older I found myself on the social side of Tumblr which educated me on the issue more. My friend’s opinions also influenced my decisions on asylum seekers. Most asylum seekers ae leaving their homes and we need to help them. Ideally we should open the gates for these people and let them in.


How do the people in your area/suburb think bout the refugee issue?

I think its complicated, I am from Bankstown and its not a high socio economic area. There is a relatively big refugee community in the area but I found that some people disagree with the issue even if they come from a refugee background themselves. Some of my friends think that we are letting to many people in without checking their background and knowing whether it is safe for them to enter the country. There is a mix of people in the area that agree with letting refugees in and a mix of people who disagree with the social issue.


Do you think that people link refugees with terrorism and islamaphobia? Your personal opinion?

I think islamaphobia has always been a thing in Australia ever since the Cronulla riots. Now that ISIS is around people are quick to blame the Muslims. Every time someone in the Muslim community does something wrong they link it to terrorism and hate, most of these Muslim come from refugee backgrounds and that why they link islamaphobia with the refugees. They fear asylum seekers because they don’t know where they came from.



Do you think that education plays a big role in people’s opinions about refugees?

I think so, I think if someone has had a more extensive educational background then it does help support people’s opinions. Education is meant to help peoples ability to critically think, such as for example if you have a degree you are challenged to look at issues in a more modest way. If you think that refugees are coming to Australia to destroy the country, there is no logic behind that and it is not a fact. There are thousands of reports and documents of research supporting that 90% of asylum seekers are true refugees escaping their homes, and if people educate themselves further in the issue then they would change their opinion and know what is factual and right.



Do you come from a migrant background and do you think that influences your opinion?

Yes, my parents and I moved to Australia from Korea. I don’t have a close experience because I moved here when I was 3 but I think because I am an immigrant myself it makes it harder for me to disagree with people who are anti-immigrant and it makes it harder to empathise with them. Personal experience plays a big part in a person’s opinion.


What do your circle of friends think about the refugees? Do they have different opinions?

Most of them think that we should take in refugees and are pro-refugee, they think we should open the borders and take in way more people who need help. I do have some friends who are more conservative, I have a friend who emphasised the fact that we need to check that people are genuine refugees when they are entering the country. None of them are anti-asylum seekers but most of their opinions vary in different ways.


What is your stance on refugees and asylum seekers in detention centres?

 I can understand why they check asylum seekers when the come to the country through quarantine and customs, I think that makes sense. It’s the right of the country to want to know the person who is trying to enter the country. I can see why them want to hold refugees in a transition facility before they enter the county, but if we hold them in detention I think there are many psychological problems behind that. I think that the current situation where these is indefinite detention of these refugees is wrong and the fact that the facilities are pretty bad.


The interview was overall successful and helped me gain a new insight into the issue of refugees and asylum seekers. Understanding how the people around you think and feel about the issue is very important in understanding your own opinion.  I leant five things during my interview which changed my opinion on the issue and the way I research it.


Five things I learnt during my interview:


*Peoples backgrounds and upbringing play a large role in their opinions of an issue.


*People who come from migrant backgrounds are prone to be more pro-refugee but there are people wo still disagree.


*People who are well educated seem to have a more factual stance on social issues and seem to understand more.


*The younger generation is more open to being pro-refugee and are more understanding towards them.


*Terrorism does shape people’s opinions of refugees and asylum seekers.

The interview was successful and concluded with gaining a new perspective of the situation and understanding how my fellow peers and people of the same age as me, think about the topic. To understand the people around you, you must talk with them and listen to their opinions to gain a broader understanding of the issue. The interview assisted me with my research strategy and opened my eyes to new perspectives.

I conducted a probe on my interviewee, her task was to collate different articles during the week about refugees and asylum seekers, whether she saw it on the news or herd it by word of mouth. My interviewee gathered at least 6 different mentions of the issue during her week. This probe was successful because I got to gauge how ofter the issue is in the public eye and how often it is discussed between individuals. Most of her accounts were from the news and media sites as well as talk from friends. This probe highlights how due to the refugee crisis around the world today, refugees and asylum seekers are the topic of interest not only in Australia but around the world.

As well a conducting an interview myself I became an interviewee and was questioned on the topic of mental illness.  Not knowing much on mental illness it was hard for me to define what it was and how I was to answer my peer’s questions. After my interview I was given a task to record how many times mental illness was mentioned in my daily life and whether it was publicly said or privately. To my surprise during the week there was no mention of the topic and I soon understood it is something that is considered taboo in our society. If you have a mental illness you are looked as being sick and this has a negative connotation.  This exercise helped me understand how the public eye can look at and issue and the world in general. Peoples opinions do matter and they also shape our opinions too.


The last task which was done as a class exercise was mapping out any words which resonated with the issue and looking at the situation from a different perspective. As a group we mapped out 225 different words which resonated with refugees and asylum seekers. After looking at all the words, we created antonyms on the backside to understand the emotion behind it all. In the process we put together a series of words we felt had a poetic meaning that highlighted what the issue was about. The statement was camp, control, refoulment, solution, foreign policy, rights, persecution, threats, voices trauma, obligation, religion, protection, identification, discrimination, resettlement, illegal, empathy and propaganda. These words help us understand a deeper meaning to it all, understanding the different perspectives in the situation and how they all connect with each other. I leant that the emotion behind a situation can really mould someone’s understanding of it.




Images of word mapping exercise 

Five-point summary of what I have learnt so far:

*Don’t trust all your sources; Some may be biased.

*Look deeper into the topic you are researching; Analyse everything about the issue including words that relate to it.

*Documenting everything you read is vital

*Mapping out the situation can help you understand the issue on a broader scale.

*Refugees and Asylum seekers are humans, just like us and deserve to be treated the same.


Overall all the different tasks I participated in and worked on helped me understand the bigger picture behind the issue of refugees and asylum seekers. By understanding more and gaining information through the process I discovered the reality these people face on a daily basis. I have become more sensitive to the issue and feel more passionate in advocating the real side of the story. The refugee and asylum seeker crisis is happening now and its up to us as individuals to educate ourselves and understand the issue for what it really is.

By Tamar Nazarian


Post 3: Mapping the Participants/Image Archive

Tama Nazarian


mind map participants.jpg

mind map participants

The above map is an example of all the stakeholders and actors in the current issue of refugees and asylum seekers. The map represents all the different bodies nationally and internationally who are involved with the issue and share the same values, views and ideologies.

Australia is in the centre of the map, surrounded by different participants which have a large impact on the issue nationally. The participants are the media, corporations, education and the government. All of these actor play an important roll of mediating the issue of refugee and asylum seekers in Australia. Some of these participants have conflicting interests in the issue and have negative/positive attributes that can benefit and perish the conflict and conflict. The same goes for the international parties, they to are connected to Australia through the issue and face problems on a bigger scale than what Australia faces. With the current refugee crisis in Europe and all over the world, leaders and government bodies seem to play the head roll in creating and solving the problem. Some bodies seem to cause more issues then fixing them, such as the European Union and the United states, where as other parties such as the united nations and NGO’s are aiming to fix the issue through thinking about the refugees needs and wants.

Overall the mind map presents the global issue of the refugee and asylum seeker crisis and the internal and external links between the actors. All the bodies listed on the map have the biggest role and play the biggest parts in the crisis. It is a world wide issue that needs to be considered by all and thought about carefully. The map helps us develop a wider understanding of the roles nations and bodies play in the issue and highlight where the problems are evident within the system.
Image Archive:

The following 10 images which I have collected over the past couple of weeks aim to highlight and capture the true essence of the issue of asylum seekers and refugees in Australia and around the world. The images which I have selected show a side of the issue that media does not particularly favour because of how heavy some of these images are emotionally. I want to show the side of the issue that the public eye does not usually see. Most of these images show the reality of what it’s like to be a refugee/asylum seeker and is a small window into their everyday lives.

Image 1:

This image is taken of the moment when refugees and migrants reached the coast of the of the Greek Islands after days of crossing the Aegean sea from the border of Turkey. The body language in the image highlights the stress and panic which is evident between the individuals. It is a representation of a still snapshot into the lives of some of these people and the things they face on a day to day basis. Masiello. A (2016)

Image 1

Image 2:

Refugees belongings float in the Aegean sea on the coast of the Greek Islands along with life jackets and rafts. The reality is that many things are lost out in the ocean when these refugees escape by boat, some being people belongings and some being people lives.  It shows the destruction and aftermath of the long journey people take for safety. Masiello. A (2016)

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Image 3:

Image of a man behind the gates of a detention centre on Manus Island. The image highlights the pain and suffering asylum seekers and refugees face on a daily basis. Many of the people on Manus feel trapped and neglected by society and this image is a snapshot into that reality. The media doesn’t show this side of the story but rather glorifies it. This shows the emotion behind the issue. Cassey. B (2016)


Image 3.jpg

Image 4:

A man passes his child over the Hungarian border under the barbed wire fences in the middle of the night. His facial expression highlights his struggles for safety. The tired look in his eyes captures his emotional trauma and state of mind. This image is a behind the scenes look into what happens out of the media, the things we don’t see on the news and showcases that these incidents happen all to often behind the public eye. Richardson. W (2016)

Image 4.jpg

Image 5:

Roszke’s refugee camp, it is a transit zone for tired exhausted travelers for travelling without food or sleep. The image highlights he contrast between the police and the refugees through the reflection of the camp between the glass of the bus. The police on look the refugees to make sure nothing happens. It is almost as if the refugees are prisoners and are treated for crime when all they seek is safety. Richardson. W (2016)

Image 5

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An image of a Syrian refugee girl whose father is begging to cross the border due to medical reasons. Once the girl was accepted to cross her father was left behind and was not allowed to accompany his daughter. These types of images showcase the back story of these individuals and how the authorities split families and children up without thinking about their position. Each image has a story. The emotions in this particular photo show how harsh the forces can be. Richardson. W (2016)

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Image 7:

A child in one of Naurus detention centre draws an asylum seeker behind bars contrasted by smiling Australians. Although this is not a photograph, it paints a picture as to what some of these children are thinking about. Children who are stuck in detention centre are emotionally traumatised because of the situation they are in. Many of them dream of freedom and a safe place to call home, such as Australia. The media has released this image in an attempt to show the public what goes on behind bars for some of these children. Henderson. A, (2016).

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Image 8:

Image of a body washed up ashore on a Turkish beach after a capsized boat had gone down. This photograph only shows a small portion of how often refugee die drowning. Most of these refugees flee their countries on boats because the sea appears safer to them then the land they walk on. They risk their lives only for the hope of settling into a safer location. The reality is that many of these boats get destroyed or capsized due to overpopulating the vessel, and because of this many people fall off and down. These types of images became popular in the media when the image of a toddler washed up on the beach was released to the public. Mignano. J  (2016).

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Image 9:

This image is part of a photography series that shows the living and sleeping conditions for child refugees around the world. The photographer highlights that even through sleep there is not escaping the horror and nightmares some of these children. Even in their sleep they face the reality of war and conflict. Ahmed, the child in the photograph sleeps on the floor between the Hungarian border. Him and his family are part of thousands of refugees who wait for access into the country. Wennman. M. (2016).

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This image is also a part of the same photography series that shows the living and sleeping conditions for child refugees around the world. This is a photograph of Maram, a little girl who has suffered a brain haemorrhage and a coma due to a rocket hitting her school in Syria. These images show how powerful the emotion within these children are. It shows the pain and suffering they face because of war. These images are unique to the public eye because it shows the reality of what is happening and how large scale this crisis really is. Wennman. M. (2016).

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By Tamar Nazarian



Image 1:

Masiello. A, 2016. Refugees and Migrants at the coast of the Greek Islands, Anonio Masiello – Photojournalist, viewed 14 August 2016

Image 2:

Masiello. A , 2016. Lesbos Island – Greece, Anonio Masiello – Photojournalist, viewed 24 August 2016

Image 3:

Cassey. B, 2016. Manus…Hell or Paradise, Brian Cassey Photographer, viewed 24 August 2016.

Image 4:

Richardson. W, 2016. Refugee Crisis Hungary, Warren Richardson Images, viewed 24 August 2016, <>

Image 5:

Richardson. W, 2016. Refugee Crisis Hungary, Warren Richardson Images, viewed 24 August 2016, <>

Image 6:

Richardson. W, 2016. Refugee Crisis Hungary, Warren Richardson Images, viewed 24 August 2016, <>

Image 7:

Henderson. A, 2016, Nauru data leak paints disturbing picture of refugee abuse. ABC news, 11 August 2016, date viewed 24 August 2016,


Image 8:

Mignano. J  2016, Kids among 17 dead migrants washed up on Turkish beach. The Sun, 5 January 2016, viewed 24 August 2016, < >

Image 9:

Wennman. M. 2016. Where the Children Sleep. Magnus Wennman, June 2016, viewed 24 August 2016, <>

Image 10:

Wennman. M. 2016. Where the Children Sleep. Magnus Wennman, June 2016, viewed 24 August 2016, <>

Blog Post 4: The Social Studio

Tamar Nazarian

On the social issue of refugee and asylum seekers there are many organisations and projects which work in an emergent practice context to explore the issue and find different solutions through the use of design. A studio which caught my eye that works with this issue stream is the Social Studio.

The Social Studio (2013) “A video about The Social Studio, A creative space in Melbourne that helps refugees rebuild their lives through fashion design.”

The Social Studio is a community space which supports and empowers people with refugee backgrounds to achieve their dreams through social enterprise. The studio offers a fashion school, a designer clothing label, a café and an active community space solely to help and encourage young people from new migrant and refugee committees to settle into Australia. The unique studio explores the issue of displacement amongst new migrants and refugees by looking at the main barriers they face on a day to day basis in Australia. The studio framed the issue as newly arrived migrants who are apart of the community being unemployed, isolated and facing difficulty when accessing education and training. To address these problems, the studio devised four ways in which it can help such as creating jobs for these individuals, providing education, encouraging community engagement within Australia and dealing with the issue of social inclusion.  The studio explored the main problem in the issue and found a suitable and sustainable solution which can benefit many people in many different areas of the problem. The Social Studio has an innovative and modern approach to solving the problem through the use of design and technology.

Through the Social studio there has been many case studies and different forms of research to support the transition to employment for young refugee people. The social studios soul purpose to place these refugees who face barriers such as employment and education into positions that can give them access and support through. There are two pathways in which refugees can break these barriers and they include designing and creating clothes which are then put on sale and the second pathway is the café within the studio. All profits made by the studio and café are invested back into the refugees for further development of employment and training opportunities. Students who are apart of the studio can also undertake other forms of training such as hospitality and retail courses, ESL and numeracy coaching, Business management and event management training and receive certificates for fashion design and clothing production. As well as looking after employment opportunities for refugees the studio also looks after social support for their students such as weekly driving tuition, financial counselling, ESL support and referrals for housing, legal and medical advice.

By giving new migrants the opportunity to learn, grow and succeed in community by providing jobs and helping them adjust it stops the continual pattern of displacement of migrants in the Australian community. The support that the studio gives these people makes them feel comfortable in adjusting to a new lifestyle and through the use of social support programs, work and education.

By Tamar Nazarian



The Social Studio 2013, The Social Studio on the ABC, video recording, YouTube, Viewed 19 August 2016,< >


Post 2: Scholarly Secondary sources on Asylum seekers and Refugees:

Tamar Nazarian

The two scholarly secondary sources that I found both relate to the issue of asylum seekers and refugees on a national level and on a global scale such as the U.S, through immigration laws, human rights, governments and the displacement of these people.

Mark Isaacs book, “The Undesirables” is about the refugees and asylum seekers living in Nauru that have been placed in detention centres and are treated poorly. Isaac showcases the information as a way of informing the Australian population about what our government is doing in regards to refugees and the boat people. The article is geared towards support for refugees and talks about their point of view in the situation of living in Nauru. It talks about how the boat people are Isaac (2014) “Politically Attacked” and discloses the difference between refugees who come by boat and by plane. Isaac is clearly motivated about voicing his opinion about the truth behind boat people and the government’s failed attempt at helping them and staying within the law. Isaac is passionate in depicting the truth about the treatment of these refugee and asylum seekers within Australia and off-shore processing that takes place at Nauru.

In contrast to Australia’s position of the refugee crisis, the United States of America also faces similar problems. Julie Farnams book, “U.S Immigration Laws Under the Threat of Terrorism” displays the start of terrorism in America and how their government deals with the influx of refugees and asylum seekers. Farnam talks about the fears of terrorism within the people of America and annotates that the number of refugees entering the country are decreasing due to terrorism and the governments attempt to make the U.S more secure through immigration laws. Similar to Isaacs tone, Farnam is biased towards the government and is on the side of the refugees. Lastly, Farnam touches upon the future of the immigration policy and refugees in America, she states Farnam (2007 pg 159) “All Americans, with the exception of Native Americas, have some connection to immigration.” She stresses the importance of protecting refugees and asylum seekers to the U.S government in a scholarly manner and reminds them through her words that those who are eligible to come to the U.S should legally do so without facing hardships through the immigration process.

Overall both authors are biased towards their countries take on refugees, asylum seekers and immigration laws. They both stand up towards human rights and doing the right thing when it comes to the law. Both books remind us that refugees are not objects to be thrown around, they are people just like us who face hardships everyday and are only looking for a safe place to call home.

By Tamar Nazarian


Reference list:

Farnam, J., & ebrary, I. (2005). US immigration laws under the threat of terrorism. New York: Algora Pub.

Isaacs, M. (2014). The undesirables :Inside nauru. Melbourne Victoria: Hardie Grant Books.



Post 1: Data set analysis on Asylum seekers and refugees:

Tamar Nazarian

Image: Massillon. A (2016) “Refugees and migrants reach the coast of the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey on October 11, 2015.” This image captures the tragic and horrific reality of the refugee crisis.

Every day asylum seekers and refugees are displaced in the world, having no place to turn to. Many of these refugees face hardships on a day to day basis and are only looking for a place to call home where they feel safe and comfortable. It is a global issue effecting every country. Due to the recent turn around in war torn countries such as Syria and Afghanistan, the number of refugees and asylum seekers have gone up as well as the breach of humanitarian laws. Refugees in detention centers and camps are treated poorly and unethically but have no choice but to continue living their lives in these places because of even worse living conditions back home in their countries. In most cases refugees are seen as outsiders and discriminated against, left feeling racially attacked unwanted and displaced. This global issue is becoming increasingly difficult to deal with on a government level and the condition of these people are getting worse. It is up to us to defend these peoples rights because it effects ours too. I am interested in this issue due to how it effects me personally and the humanitarian side of the global problem.

The first article I read was about EU’s Jean-Claude Junckers concern about Turkeys migrant deal and how it could collapse due to it’s fragile state. There is concern among the European commission that a migrant deal with Turkey on controlling the migrant and refugees entering Europe could collapse. The deal is in a fragile state and president Erdogan from Turkey has suggested on many occasions to terminate the agreement. If the agreement fails, then thousands of refugees will have no choice but to try and enter Europe causing a bigger issue of trying to accommodate all these refugees. Europe is already struggling with keeping the refugee crisis under control, if this pact breaks it can only cause bigger problems. This is an example of a negative point about the refugee crisis, the refugees are treated as unwanted and displaced beings that are thrown around from country to country without people thinking about the day to day trauma they face because of these problems. Reported by Michael Shields and edited by Richard Balmforth, this article just follows what the public eye wants. It is factual and opinion based because it assumes that Turkey will decide to break the agreement due to the influx of refugees. It seems that the author faces similar issues regarding the refugee crisis and has made an assumption according to Junckers concern that the Turkey will back out of the deal.

The second article is about asylum seeker children that are being bullied in Nauru schools. Bullying is a big problem amongst refugee and asylum seeker children in local schools on Nauru. Most of these children on a daily basis are subject to racial attacks and discrimination from local students. The Australia consultant to the Nauran Government says that school attendance has dropped from refugee and asylum seeker children when attending schools outside detention centers. It is directly related to bullying and harassment and should be taken care of by the local government in order to find a solution. This article is another example of a negative point against the refugees and asylum seekers. By most people they are treaded differently and are attacked for no reason without understanding their circumstances. Author Elizabeth Jackson positions her article as a well researched piece to the public. It displays non biased, true facts about the children in Nauru who face bullying in local schools showcasing the cold hard facts that is reality. The public has to come to terms with what is happening with these people and what they face on a daily basis. There is a lack of sympathy for refugees in the news and I feel this article shows what goes on behind closed doors. Jackson’s article is a good example of trustworthy news that isn’t filtered to tailor what the public wants to see.

The third article is about Manus Island detention and the increase of pay for refugees to return home. The offer to convince asylum seekers and refugees to return home has doubled by the Federal government in an attempt to get them to go back to their countries on Manus Island. The offer has been increased from $10,000 after the supreme court of Papua New Guinea ruled that any detention of refugees or asylum seekers was illegal. Since the establishment of this rule no one yet has taken up the offer due to even worse living conditions back at home such as fears of persecution and war. This shows that many of these people are genuinely scared about returning home and would much rather give up the money and stay. The value of safety is much more important to them then money. The article written by Matt Watson is based off of quotes and facts reported by the island. It is an editorial article only stating the facts about refugees and asylum seekers on the island and their condition of not wanting to leave safety for money. The author seems to show trustworthy information and is not biased towards anyone in the article. Watson is motivated to display the state of these individuals who are in this position and their fears of returning to their native countries because of safety reasons.

The fourth article is about protestors failing to stop the transfer of an asylum seeker at Melbourne’s airport. A protest at Melbourne’s airport has sparked in an attempt to stop an asylum seeker from being transferred, a Sudanese man had been brought to Australia for reported medical treatment. The aim of the protest was to stop the refugee from leaving the country. Activist group GetUp tried to block a van believe to be transferring the man to the airport. According to the department of immigration, asylum seeker detainees and usually transferred throughout detention centres for a range of different conflicting issues. Report that the asylum seeker has returned back to Manus Island have been incorrect and there are no answers as to why. This article is an example of positive and negative points that reflect upon the refugee crisis, some people such as the the GetUp group are trying to stop unethical activity and stand up for the refugee’s rights but the government is also causing issues with this matter. This article has an anonymous author and seems to be on the side of the protestors. Although the article states the facts about the transferring of this individual, it also shows lack of facts from Immigrations side of the story and what happened to the refugee and whether they returned him to the island.

The last article is about helping migrant women settle in regional centers. A multi-cultural women’s group has been established in Rockhampton in central Queensland to help migrant women and refugees in the area to settle into their new community. It is a group that encourages refugees to connect with one another and establish a bond/support group to discuss issues about their daily lives. It is an example of positive impact on the issues of refugees and asylum seekers. This is a positive point which has come out amongst this crisis, people connecting and sharing their stories with one another allowing them to feel comfortable and at home. Establishing relationships and a bond between the refugees and the community allows for a sense of belonging and a step in the right direction for the crisis. The interviewer, Blythe Moore shows a sense of sympathy for the migrant women and depicts what they face on a day to day basis though their personal accounts. It is trustworthy information due to the fact that the women are telling their own stories in the interview. I agree with Moores take on interviewing these people. By sharing their accounts and stories it creates a personal connection between the people listening to the interview and the people sharing it.

After looking in depth into these articles and analyzing the positive and negative aspects of the topic, the three positions that I would like to investigate further are the ways that people are treated within these detention centers, the breaching of humanitarian rights/immigration laws in Australia regarding refugees and asylum seekers and the condition of children that are in these situations. All three of these positions are points that I am interested in further learning about and would like to know more about the hardships that some of these individuals face. The government and media sensors much of what happens to these people and I would like to know the truth behind it all.

By Tamar Nazarian



Reference list:

Jackson, E. 2016, ‘Asylum seeker children bullied in Nauru schools, Save the Children consultant says’ ABC news, 30 July 2016, date viewed 2 August 2016, <>

Moore. B, 2016, ‘A Big Country: Helping migrant women settle in regional centres’ ABC news, 28 July 2016, date viewed 2 August 2016, <>

Shields. M, Balmforth. R, 2016, ‘EU’s Juncker sees ‘great risk’ to migrant deal with Turkey: paper, Reuters, 30 July, date viewed 2 August 2016, <;

Unknown, 2016. ‘Protesters at Melbourne airport fail to stop transfer of asylum seeker’ ABC news, 26 July 2016, date viewed 2 August 2016, <>

Watson. M, 2016, ‘Manus Island detention: Asylum seekers offered ‘huge amounts of money’ to go home, activist says’ ABC news, 30 July 2016, date viewed 2 August 2016,<>

Featured Image:

Masiello. A (2016) Refugees and Migrants at the coast of the Greek Islands, Anonio Masiello – Photojournalist, viewed 14 August 2016 <;