About Western Sydney
Western Sydney is home to over 1.6 million people, making it Australia’s most densely populated region. It is also Australia’s most culturally and linguistically diverse region, home to refugee and migrant communities from over 72 nations and home to Australia’s largest population of Indigenous communities.
The communities of Western Sydney have much to contribute to Australia’s cultural landscape. However they are consistently portrayed in media, film and literature through imagery that is one-dimensional, violent and dangerous. These negative and limited representations assist in positioning Western Sydney communities outside of Australia’s dominant cultural groups and identities. There are limited avenues for these communities to tell their own stories and create their own, alternative representations.
Sweatshop is a literacy movement based in Western Sydney which is devoted to empowering groups and individuals from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds through training and employment in creative and critical writing initiatives.
Sweatshop operates in partnership with WestWords: Western Sydney’s Literature Development Organisation for Young People and the Western Sydney University Writing and Society Research Centre.
Sweatshop initiatives result in publications, films, podcasts, plays, performance readings, exhibitions, and arts and cultural seminars which aim to create new and alternative forms of representation for marginalised communities throughout Western Sydney, and similar communities throughout Australia. These projects are often produced in collaboration with groups and organisations which include: The New City of Canterbury Bankstown, Bankstown Multicultural Youth Service, Urban Theatre Projects, Seizure, Campbelltown Arts Centre, SBS, Shopfront, NSW Writers’ Centre, The Lifted Brow, Sydney Writers’ Festival, Melbourne Emerging Writers’ Festival, Alice Springs Eye of the Storm Festival and Adelaide Short Story Festival.