Intercultural Cities Australasia Edition 1: Introduction to interculturalism
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Intercultural Cities Australasia is an organisation devoted to fostering interculturalism in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. It is a collaboration between academics and practitioners, and its work has been endorsed by the Council of Europe’s Intercultural Cities Programme.
Editor Lynda Ford believes cultural diversity is Australia’s greatest asset and greatest challenge. She believes harnessing this diversity advantage into the future will require an intercultural approach to social policy, economic development and local community harmony. She consults in Australia and internationally to government, industry, non-government organisations and communities on intercultural migrant settlement; is a Director of iGenFoundation.com; an Intercultural Cities Expert appointed by the Council of Europe’s Intercultural Cities Programme; co-lead for the Australian chapter of Techfugees; co-creator of training videos including “How to work interculturally in your community;” co-editor of the Intercultural Cities magazine; and co-author of the Australian Intercultural Standards.
Contributors Dr Amrita Malhi is Director of Intercultural Futures – a social venture for advancing intercultural policy – and Visiting Fellow in the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs at The Australian National University. In 2015, she convened a policy discussion and co-design workshop called InterculturAdelaide: Cultural Adaptivity for the Asian Century, in association with the Ninth International Convention of Asia Scholars in Adelaide and with the support of the Department of Premier and Cabinet in the Government of South Australia. From 2013 to 2016, Amrita was Secretary of the Asian Studies Association of Australia. Amrita is a historian of Southeast Asia
Dr Glenda Ballantyne is Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Deputy Chair of the Department of Social Science at Swinburne University, where she teaches and researches in the areas of migration and cultural diversity. Glenda’s research is focused on interculturalism and multiculturalism; new media, ageing and migration; and the role of traditions in the contemporary world. Her latest project is a collaboration with Swinburne film students and the Victorian Multicultural Commission which is exploring ‘next generation’ perspectives on multiculturalism and the communication of its ideals to the Australian public. Glenda has been active in community-based initiatives to foster intercultural dialogue for many years.
Three Perspectives on Interculturalism: Dr Glenda Ballantyne & Annie Bernecker-Musgrove
Dr Amrita Malhi 3 Lynda Ford 5
Video: How to work interculturally 7
Case Study: Melton Community Partnership Grants 9
Video: Melton Community Project 13
Australian Intercultural Standards & Index
Intercultural City: Ballarat 22
Video: Anti-rumour 24
Perspectives on Interculturalism: I
What is Interculturalism? As our societies become increasingly diverse, communities around the globe are exploring new ways to embrace cultural diversity and promote social cohesion. One of the most exciting of these is Interculturalism. Building on the successes of multiculturalism, this new movement puts communication and interaction between cultural groups at the heart of diversity principles and policies. Like multiculturalism, interculturalism comes in different forms, in part because it needs to be adapted to different social contexts. In the European Union, where it has been established in nearly 100 cities, it has emerged in the space created by the absence of robust multicultural institutions. In Australia, it is emerging as a way to capitalise on the success of such institutions, while adapting them for our current social and political circumstances.
Whatever the local context, however, interculturalism is based on the founding principle of: "equitable interaction of diverse cultures and the possibility of generating shared cultural expressions through dialogue and mutual respect" (UNESCO). It is important to note that this centrally includes cultural majorities. Making equitable interaction the core principle for social relations in multiethnic societies helps to foster social cohesion in several ways. By prioritising dialogue over tolerance, it promotes greater understanding of others. By linking cultural minorities and majorities, it encourages inclusion and integration into the mainstream of society, while recognising that this will also transform the majority culture.
Interculturalism has primarily been adopted at local and city level, where diversity management policies are mostly implemented. Policies based on interculturalism focus on putting ‘equitable interaction’ into practice. They aim to ‘create common ground, mutual understanding and empathy and shared aspirations’ (Council of Europe), and focus on establishing meaningful social connections across cultural differences. Intercultural principles and policies add a crucial ingredient to those of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism is founded on the principle of acceptance of cultural minorities, and policies for maintaining and supporting them. It is primarily a settlement policy, based on achieving justice for all members of society. Interculturalism is about societal desegregation and social mixing at the local level. It is primarily a policy for promoting social cohesion in our increasingly diverse societies. We need both!
What interculturalism isn’t Interculturalism focuses on interaction and cohesion across cultural differences – it doesn’t seek to dissolve them. It is therefore opposed to all forms of assimilation. Where it differs from multiculturalism, which shares this rejection of assimilation, is by adding interaction to the principle of support for diverse groups. This, we believe, will foster not only cohesive and inclusive communities, but also dynamic, innovative and creative ones. By Dr Glenda Ballantyne & Annie BerneckerMusgrove
Perspectives on Interculturalism: II
What does it mean to work interculturally? Working interculturally means acknowledging and fostering connections between groups that are often thought of as culturally different to each other. It involves making a decision to shift our focus from only noticing cultural difference to also noticing the many threads that connect Australians with each other, with our Asia-Pacific region, and with the wider world. It is a method that supports and enables our capacity to live well together in our diversity, without exaggerating the importance of cultural difference. Cultural difference is important, and diverse cultural identities should be recognised in a positive manner. At the same time, cultural difference is not always the main determinant shaping the lives we lead, and the many ties that bind Australians across and between our various cultural identity groups should not be pushed into the background. The idea of interculturalism is increasingly promoted in societies responding to growing diversity, especially among agencies that wish to act both positively and proactively to bring people together, rather than allow them to be driven apart. It is based on research in the
humanities and social sciences that recognises that cultures are always interconnected, changing and adapting in everyday encounters with each other. People are not bound inside distinct cultural groups, but pick up multiple affiliations which allow them to adapt to changing contexts, often with considerable ease. UNESCO, for example, acknowledges these findings by recognising that intercultural interaction: "occurs when members of two or more different cultural groups (of whatever size, at whatever level) interact or influence one another in some fashion, whether in person or through various mediated forms”. UNESCO also recognises that “no human being belongs to only a single culture – everyone has multiple identities, multiple cultural affiliations”. It advocates for societies to recognise this multiplicity and harness its strengths rather than reacting with mistrust and suspicion.
British policy expert Ted Cantle argues that the best way to support this form of recognition is through social policies that support and encourage interaction, not only between new migrants and incumbents who are well-settled, but also between the many diverse groups that now inhabit our cities and towns.
The idea of interculturalism is also increasingly used in schools to prepare students for the rest of their lives – lives that will be spent studying, playing, and working with other students, friends and colleagues who originate from every part of the world, and who carry diverse migration histories.
It is not sufficient to simply connect minorities with majorities, but also to recognise that minorities themselves are incredibly diverse, even within groups that are often thought of as internally coherent.
By Dr Amrita Malhi
Here in Australia, the Australian Council of Learned Academies has recently argued that intercultural competence is likely to be a “determining factor” in Australia’s success or failure in navigating global change, including the rise in importance of our Asia-Pacific region as a crucible for that change. Building Australians’ capacity to work interculturally at home is therefore a key factor in supporting our preparedness for pursuing our interests in our own region, in an increasingly multipolar world.
Further Reading Ang, Ien, Tambiah, Yasmin, and Mar, Phillip. “Smart Engagement with Asia: Leveraging Language, Research and Culture.” Report for the Australian Council of Learned Academies, www.acola.org.au, 2015. Cantle, Ted. Interculturalism: The New Era of Cohesion and Diversity. Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. UNESCO. "Investing in Cultural Diversity and Intercultural Dialogue." Paris: UNESCO, 2009.
Perspectives on Interculturalism: III
Multiculturalism and Interculturalism – the policies and practices work together. Multiculturalism as a policy has created the Australia we are today – a nation with more than 300 ancestries, 400 languages and 140 religions. An Australia where more than 25% of us were born overseas and where 20% of us have at least one parent born overseas. Multiculturalism has given us a strong culturally diverse and complex society that now requires more skill than ever to take advantage of the diversity that is so important to us as a country. ‘Multi’ simply means ‘lots of’. We have lots of cultures, religions, ethnicities and languages in Australia, that’s a fact. But can multiculturalism be the only policy for the future? If we build on our solid foundation of multiculturalism and introduce an intercultural approach to the way we work with individuals and communities – Australian Indigenous people, Australian-born non-Indigenous people and migrants (regardless of the visa category they arrived under) – we may start to see a shift in the experience of our current generation.
So, how is an intercultural approach different from a multicultural approach in practice? Multiculturalism respects, but can overemphasise difference. This may have the unintended consequence of keeping people apart and may result in migrants remaining on the edge of Australian society. This separateness can be seen in many Australian suburbs. Multiculturalism has no explicit policy imperative to create relationships within and between people of different cultural, religious and language backgrounds. ‘Inter’ means within and between. It respects cultural difference and acts, at every opportunity, to bring people of different cultural, language and faith backgrounds together with each other and the Indigenous and dominant cultures, to create relationships which, in turn, increase social cohesion. In developing friendships and working relationships across difference, we are less likely to accept Islamophobic rhetoric and racist comments made in the news, and more likely to stand up for and with people from different cultural backgrounds. Interculturalism requires a different set of relationship building skills to those we currently practice in a multicultural framework.
The relationships I see between children and young people from visibly diverse cultural backgrounds in our more multicultural suburbs gives me hope that Australia will enjoy an intercultural future where relationships between people of different cultural backgrounds is a feature of every day life. I don’t see that as a general experience of my generation and I don’t see that interculturalism reflected in business or other social gatherings I attend.
Other ‘ethnic’ community
Other ‘ethnic’ community
By Lynda Ford
For the full version of this article, please see Lynda’s Linked In blog here
Other ‘ethnic’ community
Other ‘ethnic’ community
As shown in the following diagram, the spaces between us under a multicultural framework have the capacity to widen. The spaces between us in an intercultural framework are lessened by what we know about ourselves and others.
Other ‘ethnic’ community
Multi = lots of
Australian Indigenous people
Other ‘ethnic’ community
Other ‘ethnic’ community
Australian Indigenous people
Other ‘ethnic’ community
Other ‘ethnic’ community
Inter = within and between ©Lynda Ford 2017
Video: How to work interculturally
We’re often asked how a change from a multicultural approach to an intercultural would occur in practice. So, we’ve put together an Intercultural Training video for use by local governments throughout Australia! Click for a sneak preview of the video showing an intercultural approach to community consultation about the usage of a park by people from diverse cultural backgrounds.
For access to the full video, please speak with your Council’s HR team and register here 7
Working interculturally doesnâ€™t need more money â€“ it needs a different mindset.
Case Study: Melton Community Partnership Grants
The Melton Community Partnerships Grant provides resources for groups from different generations and cultural, language and faith backgrounds to meet, form relationships and gain a better understanding of each other. The Grants create conditions for intercultural engagement.
Background In 2009, Melton City Council – 40 km west of Melbourne – was the first local government area in Australia to adopt an Intercultural, not Multicultural, Strategy and Action Plan. The Strategy, coupled with highly skilled and knowledgeable Melton City Council staff, established the environment for trialing one of the first grants of its type in Australia to directly promote intercultural relationships in Australia. In 2014-2015, Melton City Council launched its Community Partnerships Grant to promote relationships between people who wouldn’t typically meet each other. The funding continues in the 2016-2017 financial year, granting $3,000 per partnership, to enhance relationships between cultural and intergenerational groups.
Marla Women’s group and Melton Historical Society In 2014, an Aboriginal Health Nurse working with Djerriwarrh Health Service informed the Marla Women’s Group about the new Melton Community Partnership Program funding. One member of the group was also a member of Melton and District Historical Society Inc. and played a key role in the initial introduction of the two groups. Since then, the Marla Women’s Group and Melton and District Historical Society have forged an ongoing intercultural relationship. Glenda, the Melton and District Historical Society representative, says members of the Society have learnt a great deal about Aboriginal culture and history and the history of Indigenous and non-Indigenous relationships.
Heather from Marla Women's Group, Glenda from Melton and District Historical Society and Hazel, who is a member of both organisations
For example, she admitted that she was unaware of a government policy to ‘breed out’ Aboriginal people so that Indigenous people would not live in Australia over time. She also gained personal insights into the government policy and its impact on individual families’ separation from Indigenous children, which led to the ‘Stolen Generation.’ Heather and Hazel, representing Indigenous women involved in the project, felt it was very important for them to have a vehicle to share their backgrounds and life experiences with non-Indigenous people and that the Grants facilitated that opportunity. Some activities arising from the partnership between the Marla Aboriginal Group and the Melton and District Historical Society included: an oral history recording, a family day where men, women and children came together and a basket-weaving program. The Marla Women’s Group and Melton and District Historical Society said they did not experience any difficulties in forming their relationship and said they would happily partner again to undertake another project that continues to build relationships that create further intercultural understanding. They attributed this success to going into the project with an open mind to learn from each other and a desire to get to know each other and believe this is critical to creating a successful intercultural project.
What was learned 1. Intercultural grant promotion strategies work well when targeted directly at cultural groups in settings such as meetings, and in formats such as ethnic community websites or community radio segments presented in relevant community languages. 2. Councils can build positive intercultural relationships prior to projects, for instance by holding barbecues in local streets and parks to bring people together. 3. Oversight of Partnership Grants and direct involvement of council staff with intercultural community development projects increased the brokerage of relationships and the likelihood of success from both intercultural relationship and compliance perspectives. Visiting each project part way through to speak directly with participants helps to gauge both the extent to which the project achieves Council aims as well as to identify what is and what isn’t working within the project. Council staff can then work with the project leadership to build upon or resolve (if possible) elements of the project so that maximum benefit can be obtained by participants.
4. Intercultural information sessions are useful prior to implementation of projects. Acting interculturally does not necessarily come naturally to individuals or groups of people. To accelerate knowledge of the practice of building intercultural understanding and dialogue, councils could, as a requirement of receipt of the Grant, provide an information session for grant recipients and/or community leaders involved in the application. Information sessions might cover: the purpose of the grant, expected outcomes (of both projects and intercultural relationships), and provide an opportunity for participating intercultural partnerships to articulate their expectations for themselves, their partner and the outcomes of the project. This opportunity to explicitly discuss what the grant will mean to the partners could:
Melton City Council has demonstrated, through words and actions, its commitment to creating an intercultural city which uses its diversity as an advantage for social inclusion and harmony. The Council should be acknowledged and commended for its commitment to an intercultural society and for this Community Grants Program initiative.
• build greater trust in and knowledge of each other from the beginning of a project; • assist in the planning and organising of activities; • provide an opportunity for the project leadership to meet formally and develop mitigation strategies according to the opportunities and challenges of the partnership; • assure shared understanding of the project purpose, activities and people involved
Our thanks to Melton City Council for the use of this video.
5 tips for introducing a Community Partnerships Grant 1. Ensure partners are ready for an intercultural relationship Mindset and willingness to partner and learn from each other are key elements of an intercultural relationship.
2. Build positive relationships prior to projects It’s often difficult to establish a rapport with people we don’t know and with whom we may think we have little in common. Some communities may not have met before, so if both sides connect prior to the creation of an intercultural project, this could prevent communities from feeling as though they are being brought together ‘artificially’.
3. Discuss leadership One of the most critical aspects of any partnership is leadership. Leadership is different in every cultural community. Due to cultural nuance, gender and/or religious roles and styles, leadership is demonstrated differently across cultures. At the beginning of a project, partners should reflect on the leadership characteristics within their cultural groups.
4. Start with the end in mind The overall purpose of the Partnerships Grants is not to complete a project, but to create ongoing, intercultural relationships
between members of different groups of people who would not usually interact with each other. To this end, the true achievement of a Partnership Grant is for a Grant to be used as a vehicle for the greater social outcome of interculturalism.
5. Create a climate for intercultural relationships Multiculturalism celebrates and values the differences between cultures but can lead to the unintended consequence of an absence of relationships between people from different cultural, language and faith backgrounds. Multiculturalism can also been seen as an identification of the ‘other’ as someone who is multicultural, without seeing the multicultural nature of Australianborn Indigenous and Anglo-Saxon residents. Interculturalism has an expectation of acknowledging difference while at the same time, working to create a sense of commonality by engaging people from all cultural backgrounds, including those of Australian Indigenous and Anglo-Saxon background. By providing the financial resources for groups to meet, form relationships and gain a better understanding of each other, the Partnerships Grant can create unique conditions for intercultural engagement.
Nine Community Partnerships were funded in the 2014-2015 funding round: Historical Sharing through Partnerships Marla Women’s Group and Melton and District Historical Society Learn to Swim Program Melton Chin Community & St George’s Iraqi Group Let’s play Chess Melton and Kurunjang Secondary Schools & Coburn Gardens Retirement Village Active Multicultural Seniors Macedonian Welfare Association & the Filipino Community Group Artifacts and Craft Community Cultural Activity Kirrip Aboriginal Men’s Group & Melton Men’s Shed Healthy Chefs Melton Secondary Schools Cluster and Kurunjang Primary School students & parents from diverse cultural backgrounds Brookside Community Connections Brookside College students & Wintringham Specialist Aged Care Centre Cultural Craft Melton South Community Centre & South Sudanese Community Group. Sensory Community Garden - Djerriwarrh Community House & Merrimu Services
Australian Intercultural City Standards and Index
The Australian Intercultural Standards and Index is the first of its kind in Australia and consists of a set of principles that can underpin intercultural practice for councils. There are 18 Standards under four elements that can lead to a harmonious and intercultural city: Connected Communities Public culture Open governance, open economy Anti-discrimination The Index allows councils to evaluate their own readiness for working interculturally and is directly aligned with the Council of Europeâ€™s Intercultural Cities Programme to provide a free and seamless process for Australian local governments to benchmark
themselves against more than 100 cities in 33 countries around the world. It also allows Australian local governments to identify their strengths and weaknesses in the provision of intercultural policies and practices, making it easier for staff and elected members to locate new or existing resources to enhance the social and economic wellbeing of your communities. The Standards and Index have been peer reviewed and endorsed by some of the most prominent academics in the field, including Prof. Gary Bouma, UNESCO Chair in Interreligious and Intercultural Relations - Asia Pacific; and Prof. Ted Cantle, Founder of Britainâ€™s iCoCo Foundation. Download your free Australian Intercultural Standards and Index here 18
The Intercultural Cities Programme is a Council of Europe initiative that supports cities in reviewing their policies through an intercultural lens and developing comprehensive intercultural strategies to help them manage diversity positively and realise their diversity advantage. Over the past 10 years, the number of designated Intercultural Cities has grown to 104 and counting, with more than 150 cities in total part of the international network.
What does it mean to be an Intercultural City? • An intercultural city understands that while it can’t guarantee who its staff or elected members are each term, or what its boundaries or income may be, it can guarantee that it will always have residents and that those residents will be culturally diverse. The city focuses on developing the competencies of its staff to ensure they have the skills needed to do their job of providing services to ALL residents of their municipality. • An intercultural city places the responsibility on every staff member for the universal access and use of Council’s economic, physical, environmental, political and social assets, not just the multicultural or cultural diversity officer. This assures best use of limited resources and significantly reduces wastage of financial resources. • An intercultural city makes public statements about the value of cultural diversity to the city’s social and economic future.
• Part of an Australian network of cities that provide new ideas and support for better management of cultural opportunities and issues. • Access to Network coordinators in Australia who have more than 15 years experience in working interculturally and can assist in training staff and developing programs and policies to meet the challenges of increasing cultural diversity. Experience and research • Access to the experience of more than 100 cities with different political, cultural, faith and language structures. This experience will assist Australian cities with new ideas for the development of policies and practices for the successful settlement of migrants and refugees. • Cities that have dealt with, for example, public displays of intercultural conflict, are able to draw on the experiences of other cities internationally to find out how they managed the conflict politically and socially, and to identify tools and programs to restore harmony.
For further information, please see The Intercultural Cities Programme website
• Access tools, research and reports available only to Intercultural Cities Program members.
What are the benefits for Australian Cities to become designated Intercultural Cities?
• Attendance in person or virtually to the information from 'Thematic Group' meetings that occur throughout the year in Europe and annual meeting of Intercultural City Coordinators.
Networks • Part of an international Network of more than 100 cities open to all staff and elected members throughout Council including: economic development, community mediation, youth work, libraries, sport, parks and leisure, finance, and urban and social planning.
For information about some of the Thematic Group meetings in 2016, please see http:// www.coe.int/en/web/interculturalcities/ meetings
Over 150 cities in 32 countries Imagine being part of an international network that allows you to contribute the expertise you have and draw from the experience of diverse cultural, social, religious, economic and political cities. Imagine the innovation and value to your community.
What are the Indicators of an Intercultural City? Completing the Intercultural Cities Index provides a snapshot of a Cityâ€™s intercultural practice based on the following 9 Indicators: Welcoming Intercultural Lens Media Governance Mediation International Outlook Commitment Language Intelligence/competence
Designated Intercultural Cities are in:
Australia Belgium Canada Croatia Cyprus Czechoslovakia Denmark France Germany Greece Hungary Iceland Ireland Israel Italy Jordan
Malta Mexico Morocco Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal Romania Russia Serbia Spain Sweden Switzerland Turkey UK Ukraine
If youâ€™re interested in becoming an Intercultural City, please contact Lynda Ford: 0414 440 483.
Ballarat joins the Council of Europe’s Intercultural Cities Network Ballarat’s ongoing work to make the city a more culturally diverse and welcoming place has resulted in it becoming the first city in Australia to join the Council of Europe’s Intercultural Cities Network. Membership of the Intercultural Cities Network brings a number of benefits including access to information on proven approaches that help translate increasing levels of cultural diversity into economic, environmental, social and cultural benefits. In June 2016, as a precursor to membership, the City of Ballarat was invited to make a selfassessment of its intercultural practices to benchmark against 100 other ‘Intercultural Cities’ around the world.
The City of Ballarat’s overall ‘Index Results’ • ranked 4th in the world with an average of 84% among the global sample of 80 cities; • ranked 2nd in the world among cities with less than 200,000 inhabitants; • ranked first in the world among cities with less than 15% of foreign born residents The City of Ballarat has a strong focus on developing and embracing cultural diversity; in 2009 it adopted its first Cultural Diversity Strategy, based on a commitment to developing intercultural relationships between Australianborn residents and people who have moved here from other countries.
In recent years, the City of Ballarat has developed a number of programs which foster inclusiveness and provide increased opportunities, including the award winning Multicultural Ambassador Program, and the CALD Education and Employment Pathways Program. Other initiatives include Ballarat’s status as a ‘Refugee Welcome Zone’, support of the ‘Racism it stops with me’ campaign and the ‘Welcoming Cities’ movement. Council’s Intercultural City Action Plan 20172021 is currently being developed; it will emphasize: • • • •
responsive services active citizenship leadership and advocacy maximising and valuing diversity
Most recent available figures from the Australian Census (2011) show that of Ballarat’s population: • 8.7% were born overseas; half of them were from non-English speaking backgrounds • Main countries of birth: United Kingdom, New Zealand, Netherlands, India, China, Germany; USA, Philippines, South Africa, Italy • Main languages spoken (other than English): Mandarin, Italian, Arabic, Greek The Council voted at its 14th December 2016 meeting to take up membership of the Intercultural Cities Network.
The City of Ballarat has a strong focus on developing and embracing cultural diversity
For more information about Ballaratâ€™s intercultural programs, please contact Frances Salenga, Coordinator, Cultural Diversity: 03 5320 5853. 23
The Intercultural Cities Programme at the Council of Europe have released a series of Anti-rumour Program videos, explaining the model and value of campaigns to counter local community misinformation and disharmony. If your community is experiencing anti-migrant protests or rumours, then this resource is for you!
We can put you in touch with one of the architects of the C4i anti-rumour initiative, Dani de Torres, a Council of Europe Intercultural City Expert employed by the City of Barcelona. 24
Lynda Ford 0414 440 483 firstname.lastname@example.org lyndaford
http://interculturalcities.com.au/ @ICCitiesAUS https://www.facebook.com/ICCitiesAus/
If your Council has an innovative intercultural initiative, weâ€™d love to write it up for this magazine. Please contact Lynda.
Published on Feb 24, 2017
Intercultural Cities Australasia is devoted to fostering interculturalism in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. It is a co-operative pla...