Wednesday, August 12, 2009

PROJECTS: Across My Bridge ...

This superb arts project is put together by a bunch of funky people and is well worth supporting.

‘Across My Bridge’ is an innovative and responsive Beyond Empathy project designed to provide young people from the Muslim community with a ‘stepping stone into the mainstream’ that in 2009 has focused on the needs of young people in Auburn LGA ...

Commencing in January 2008 has utilised an integrated approach to target at-risk youth who as a result of their isolation do not access existing services. ‘Across My Bridge’ introduces arts and community development programs that address critical ‘social dislocaters’ (e.g. cultural isolation, substance abuse, violence, recidivist crime). The project builds alternative pathways for social participation for young people of Muslim background that are experiencing difficulties identifying and integrating in their own immediate community as well as with mainstream culture, creating a safe space to explore their lives and role in the community so they are not left feeling vulnerable and excluded from community. Across My Bridge engages a new generation of young people from the Muslim community, their families, local emerging artists, community support workers and individuals who may be recognised as leaders in their communities ...

The Beyond Empathy (BE) model uses art-based projects (such as visual art, sculpture, music, hip-hop, circus, dance, performance, filmmaking and digital media) to engage young people and introduce alternative approaches, encouraging participants to be able to, in time, recognise their unique place in Australian society. These projects build relationships between young people, support agency staff (e.g. youth services, school, TAFE, AOD support) and the community to work together to address common social issues. The project committee has several community supporters: Michael Christodolou Community Relations Commissioner, Malikeh Michaels-Auburn Councillor and Saeed Khan the originator of the project.

The Across My Bridge project is funded by-the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIaC), Westpac Foundation, Australia Council and Arts NSW. Beyond Empathy has further committed funds and submitted an Expression of Interest for further DiaC(DAP/NAP) funding in 2010.

For further information contact Across My Bridge Program Manager Monique Kalmar on

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