The Refugee Camp in my Neighbourhood project was developed in 2014, as a collaborative, community-led partnership involving 30+ community organisations. Initial consultations with the UNSW Centre for Refugee Research engaged more than 100 local community members from refugee and asylum seeker communities to design the simulated camp, providing ideas for how the stop should look and what physical elements need to be included. What resulted was a camp that reflected the personal stories and images as told by members of Auburn’s diverse refugee community. The simulated camp was first piloted and held during Refugee Week in June 2014. Over 1,400 people took part in tours during the first exhibition.

The project has been delivered annually since 2014, with the exception of 2020 and 2021 due to COVID and relocated from Auburn to the Whitlam Institute within Western Sydney University in 2022.

Over the 8 years that the project has been running, 15,500+ visitors have participated in a tour of the camp and 195+ people from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds have been employed as Tour Guides. 

For an understanding of project outcomes, view the following project evaluation reports:

The project has won the following awards:

  • 2014 Australian Multicultural Marketing Awards (Public Sector category).
  • 2014 Zest Award for ‘Outstanding Project promoting Social Cohesion & Community Harmony’
  • 2015 Zest Award for ‘Exceptional Community Partnership Project in a Local Government Area’
  • 2015 NSW Local Government Excellence Award for ‘Excellence in Diversity’
  • 2016 IPA2 Core Values Award for ‘Community Development’
  • 2019 Keep Australia Beautiful NSW Award for ‘Community Spirit and Inclusion’

Watch this video to see how the project started:

Photo credit Barat Ali.