Problem: A lack of commitment to a Strategy and a lack of access to subjects

Writing these blog posts after completion of production allows some clarity in hindsight. One of the major issues I felt with the whole project was a lack of direction, this I feel originated in a poor strategy and a complex issue.

Working on communicating the struggles of Asylum Seekers and their needs is a difficult area to navigate in Australia due in part to the broader political environment, but made more difficult in our case trying to promote Lentara’s unique point of difference by the lack of access to people who needed Lentara’s services, or had used them in the past. Due to various privacy and legal framework issues we were unable to interview current clients, or even past clients who had needed the services of Lentara in the past and were now in stable situations on the other side of that turbulence.

This returns us to a concept we had been discussing back in week 3 and 4 when trying to tease out a concept: The facelessness of Asylum Seeker’s plight. If we had properly assessed our options and given the time needed to strategy development tools I tried to float early on, we might have arrived at the conclusion that this theme was stronger than the “universality of home” concept we tried, and in my view failed, to execute effectively.

Our final presentation brought this home in that Gemma from Lentara actually indicated this was a theme Lentara would soon be exploring with a photographer in response to the fact that many agencies working with Asylum Seekers were struggling with this issue in the same way we spent the whole semester struggling with this. The issue we experienced (how do you represent these people’s plight without access or representation of the people) should have been the context we tried to capture, instead we tried to focus on a campaign of comparison, without having access to one side of that comparison.

Ultimately we needed to contrast the ‘icons’ of home, and what they stood for, with what it meant not to have them, i.e. keys were a representation of security – we had no image of a lack of security though, or what it meant not to have keys. Mail/letterbox was a representation of stability, but we had no way to show what it meant not to have that. A fence or front door was to be a representation of safety, but we had no way to show what it meant to not have that. The issue was compounded by the fact we were not trying to communicate about homelessness in general terms but in specific terms of the context of those seeking asylum, those who had to leave their home, had to leave the stability, safety and security it represented to try to find a new home, and while we might have been able to show what it’s like to be homeless, placing that in the context of the needs of those displaced by disaster was something we were unable to realise in the time frame we had.


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