Newsletter #8 - February 2022
Dear SAARI Collective,
Welcome to our first newsletter of 2022!
The start of the year, the hot Australian summer, and the rise of the COVID-19 Omicron variant have given our Collective a chance to rest and reflect, renew our support for each other, and remind ourselves that we continually live in a world of ‘possibility shock.’
Coined by Juilo Vincent Gambuto, possibility shock is the feeling that things could be different; it's that grating feeling that we are marching forward to some version of the Great Australian Return to Normalcy, and yet there is much more change that needs to happen. It’s the idea that we should perhaps not return to the pre-covid and problematic ‘normal,’ but that equally we are tired from fighting the sudden shifts in our own expectations, and the mismanagement of our government’s response to the virus.
It seems the only good result from more COVID is excellent catch lines like: "RAT me baby one more time"; "Billie Jean is not my lover, she's a just a girl who claims that I am the one, the COVID's not mine hun"; and "Baby got RAT!"; as well as a return to popularity of Bob Marley's "Waiting in Vain." And, lastly, my favourite - "It's a long vax queue, take a Jalebi, Baby."
Intentionally, SAARI has been supporting our community at this time, talking about the real issues, like the family violence murder in our community in Victoria, climate change, mental health and e-waste. Over December and January, SAARI was also able to continue some great, and at times more light-hearted conversations on books, health, identity, a brown Christmas, and the recognition of leaders in our community like Professor Madhu Bhaskaran.
The SAARI team starts off 2022 ploughing ahead with our School of Splice accelerator, building a course for creative South Asians, and planning bigger things for 2022, including more in-person events around the country and the launch of our new community platform.
We reflected on Invasion Day, and the need to not just change the date but to be more inclusive about the Indigenous experience as a community. We supported the first South Asian-directed production of Sondheim’s Into the Woods, directed by Sonya Suares and featuring Australia’s first South Asian Cinderella, Ava Madon. We cheered as the Sangam South Asian Arts festival partnered with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra to bring a fresh new collaboration of sound and dance.
In sum, we got over the rusty feeling of 2021, and started the year by combating possibility shock in the best way possible - by being kind to ourselves, by remembering and realising the possibilities we’ve seen, and by using our creativity to show Australia the South Asian voices it needs to see.
As a Collective, we’ll continue to look after South Asians who are struggling, especially with COVID, and we’ll continue to support mental health and other important issues this year. Read on to see what’s been happening with the SAARI community and how you can continue to be involved. We need more voices - and if you’re reading this, you’re one of them.
Thanks for your continued support! Read on for more from the Collective.
SAARI is recruiting! Are you our newest Editor? If you’re someone who can guide and encourage new writers to find their voice, and have some great editing skills and a passion for South Asian Australian stories, then you’d be perfect to join the SAARI Editorial Team. This paid, part-time, remote role in a fast-growing media startup is the perfect place to make an impact, learn, and have a ton of fun. If you’re interested, check out all the details in the position description and apply here.
Farewell to our Editor Chenturan Aran! It’s with a heart full of gratitude that the Editorial Team bids farewell to Chen, who will go back to our Collective of writers, and will be taking time to work on his brilliant plays. Chen’s current play has been selected by the Melbourne Theatre Company for a live reading, and he’s also part of the Besen Writing Fellowship at the Malthouse Theatre. We’ll be sending out info about how to attend Chen’s upcoming play reading soon, so please continue to support him and his love of words! We’ll miss you Chen!
6 South Asians and our Founder Sandeep nominated for impact awards! ProBono Australia recently announced its Impact25 Awards finalists, and SAARI was proud to see 6 South Asian Australians on the list, including our very own Founder and CEO Sandeep Varma. The other South Asian finalists were: Veena Sahajwalla, Mandy Dante, Tarang Chawla, Asha Bhatt, and Bijinder Dugal, with a special shoutout to Mariam Veiszadeh from Media Diversity Australia, someone we gladly adopt as South Asian for her work diversifying the media.
SAARI collective writer Tanaya Joshi hosted an online presentation by leading youth climate change and mental health advocate Varsha Yajman as part of Science Gallery Melbourne’s Hugh Williamson Lecture. Yajman spoke about the importance of listening, working with communities to be a better ally and work authentically in the climate change and mental health sectors. She spoke from her own experiences and you can have a listen on YouTube.
New SAARI Collective members
We’ve kicked off 2022 with a number of new writers and ideas in the works and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
From publishing emerging South Asian Australian voices from all across the country to working with them and turning creative sparks into tangible productions, we smashed our initial goal of publishing 100 pieces in our first year and are so thankful for all the support we received to do so. We published over 40 new writers, and working hard to continue to grow this impact.
SAARI is looking for new voices - so please pass on our newsletter to your friends, family and colleagues who want to scratch their creative itch and join our dynamic community. We’d love to work with new writer to publish more voices and grow our Collective. Get in touch!
Click here to join the SAARI Collective
We must acknowledge diverse women experience domestic violence differently
SAARI Collective’s Ramisa Raya explores the rising urgency for tailored support and resources for migrant women belonging to culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities and sits down with Dr Nada Ibrahim, Adjunct Senior Research Fellow from the University of South Australia to unravel what that might look like.
10 books by South Asian writers to look forward to in 2022
There are some incredible books by South Asian writers coming out this year and if you’re anything like us, you can’t wait to get through them all. SAARI Collective’s Sangeetha Thanapal has compiled a genre-spanning list of ten books for you to plan towards.
Upcycled Tech: How Aussie e-waste is helping Sri Lankans break out of poverty
Sujan Selven fled the Sri Lankan civil war as a teenager in 2000. 18 years later, he returned to the Northeastern Province and was struck by how people were struggling to meet their daily needs. His goal now is to tackle low income by lifting Sri Lanka into the digital economy through Upcycled Tech.
Professor Madhu Bhaskaran – Co-leading Women in STEMM Australia
SAARI Collective’s Sadaf Zafir sits down with the 40 under 40’s Most Influential Australian Award winner Professor Madhu Bhasakaran, who has recently been appointed as the co-chair of Women in STEMM Australia, to talk about her journey and her zealous commitment to create a more inclusive network and space for all women in STEMM.
To mark the end of 2021, SAARI Collective’s Editorial team got together to reflect on key moments over the year and discussed the stories and the highlights that resonated most with them. Here’s a look back.
Put On Your Own SAARI Event
You asked for in-person SAARI events and we listened. With our SAARI community spread across the country, we’re looking for volunteers to host in-person events across all major cities, or anywhere in Australia. If you’re interested in hosting an in-person SAARI event in your community, send our Founder an email at email@example.com.
SAARI Collective February Get Together
Wednesday 23 February, 7:30-8:30 pm (online)
Join the national SAARI Collective community for the return of our regular monthly get together. Hear from writers both new and experienced. Be part of an inspiring creativity exercise. And get to meet other savvy, smart, creative South Asians that give you a fresh feeling of possibility!
Click here to download the calendar entry (Google/iCal).
SAARI Day Melbourne! Science Gallery + Connect Flix & Chill to support BIPOC Artists
February 19 2022 is SAARI Day in Melbourne! Come spend the day with an exclusive SAARI crew of 20 people!
Join us as we start with lunch at Saravana Bhavan restaurant in the CBD, then head to the newly opened Science Gallery Melbourne and get some insights from SAARI Editor and Gallery Public Programs Officer Jasmeet Sahi. The current exhibition MENTAL features over 20 experimental projects from local and international artists and research collaborators reflecting a range of different perspectives on mental health and ways of being. After nerding out on science and art, we'll head to Lygon Street to cool down with Italian gelati. Then we'll go to YoCity's Connect Flix & Chill at Argyle Square in Carlton, where we'll attend a family friendly pop-up picnic-style event with food, drinks, DJ sets, live music, and film screenings by local and international BIPOC filmmakers.
It's going to be super fun! But there are only 20 spots! Register here
Ancestral Memories by Maree Clarke
Last few days to visit Ancestral Memories by Maree Clarke (25 Jun 21 – 6 Feb 22)
Maree Clarke: Ancestral Memories is the first major retrospective of Melbourne-based artist and designer, Maree Clarke, who is a Yorta Yorta / Wamba Wamba / Mutti Mutti / Boonwurrung woman. The exhibition is currently showing at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Fed Square and entry is free.
Click here to book
Punjabi Australian musician's debut solo album, 'Sa'
Punjabi Australian musician Parvyn's highly anticipated solo debut album ‘Sa’ will be launched at Malthouse Outdoor Stage on Thursday, 3 Feb 8pm with DJ Mohini and special guests. She is best known as vocalist in cult psychedelic band The Bombay Royale. Influenced by electronica and jazz and her background in Sikh devotional music, ‘Sa’ is an exciting next step in her career.
PACE Leadership Event: Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health are offering FREE 5 x 2-hour interactive Zoom workshops for migrant and refugee women in Victoria. The PACE (Participate, Advocate, Communicate, Engage) Leadership Program builds on migrant women’s knowledge and experiences to take on leadership roles in their lives, work and community.
South Asian Today Art Shop
In a bid to diversify Australia's art scene and aiming to uplift, amplify and highlight South Asian artists, South Asian Today has collaborated with five brown women and non-binary artists and has produced a catalogue of five prints, with a tote bag along with other accessories.
Check out their online shop
Much Ado About Nothing (NSW)
SAARI Collective member, writer and director Taufeeq Ahmed Sheikh is putting on an excellent production of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing in Annangrove, New South Wales during February. Come support his show!
Get tickets here.
Want to write but not sure what to write about? Check out the latest paid SAARI briefs. The list includes:
Book Review: Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens by Sydney based writer Shankari Chandran, a multigenerational story about family and memory, community and race, but is ultimately a love letter to storytelling and how our stories shape who we are.
Preview of All About Women event: Jamila Rizvi speaks to Rosie Betty and Grace Tame about their experiences being Australian of the Year, exploring the power of personal testimony and advocacy’s personal cost at the Sydney Opera House on Sunday 13 March.
TV Review: Desi Me Dating An all new South Asian dating show
Book industry and diversity: Why are there no South Asians on Reading’s top 100 bestselling book list?
New Tech: Veena Nair and new Aussie tech for printed social panels.
The Anatomy of a Racism Complaint: The journey of Shankar Kasyanathan, Commissioner at Victorian Multicultural Commission, who recently lodged a formal complaint against Hotel Sorrento for racial discrimination.
Foreign policy and feminism: Does Sri Lanka need a more feminist approach to foreign policy?
International Women’s Day profile series: If you’re interested in writing a profile piece for IWD in March, let us know.
Single on Valentines Day: A first-person account of what it's like being newly single and brown post-lockdown
Legal review of online safety protections: Deep dive into the protections offered to us by the new Online Safety Act.
Parents and kid's vaccination: Back to School, RAT’s and children's vaccinations - How are parents responding to all this?
Post-Covid Weddings: South Asian weddings and the financial implications of COVID. Do people still want a big wedding?
Podcast profile: Let's hear the origin story of the popular Stuck in Between Podcast.
Business Leader Profiles: Vivek Katial, Executive Director at Good Data Institute; and Arj Ganeshalingam, COO at Porter Novelli Australia.
️⭐️Check out the full list of paid SAARI writing briefs and put your name down for one.
Jobs (NSW): Mamamia is on the lookout for a new Podcast Producer in Sydney. Check out the gig here.
Jobs (QLD): ABC seeking a news reporter in Cairns. Full-time role! Details here.
Ideas: Naavikaran share their story with SBS, ‘The hazards of dating as a queer person of colour.’ Read their story here.
Good News Story: Colleges and Universities in the US are working to ban caste discrimination. Find out more here.
Jobs (VIC): State Library of Victoria is looking for Digital Marketing Officer. Full-time role. Check it out here.
Volunteer Opportunity (VIC): YWCA Australia is looking for volunteer mentors who want to make a difference to girls aged 12-18 in the child protection system in Melbourne. Check it out here
Jobs (VIC): Centre for Multicultural Youth seeking a Senior Multicultural Youth Worker in Melbourne. Find out more.
Opportunity (Volunteer) (VIC): It’s Not A Compliment is looking for a new Fundraising Lead to join their aim in achieving street justice for all. Check it out here.
Opportunity (VIC): Centre for Multicultural Youth seeking a Senior Multicultural Youth Worker in Melbourne. See the job here.
Opportunity: (AUS): Applications are open for the Social Impact Fellowship with Social Impact Hub. Submit your application by 4 February Details here.
Collaboration (NSW): Congrats to Bindi Bosses for their awesome collaboration between South Asian and First Nations Artists. Check out the story here.
Opportunity (AUS): Results Australia is looking for its 2022 Anti-Poverty Advocacy Fellowship cohort. Apply by 13 February here.
Opportunity (NSW): A Corporate Affairs Graduate role is available at at Future Generation. Work at the intersection of finance and the children’s charity sector. Check out this great entry-level gig here
Celebration: Congratulations to Dr. Kaushik Sridhar from Sydney for winning ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) 'Thought Leader of the Year' at the 2021 ESG Summit and Awards. Check out his LinkedIn post announcing his win, featuring his parents!
Opportunity (AUS): Screen Australia, SBS and NITV’s Digital Originals program for under-represented screen creatives is back for 2022. Submit your innovative short-form drama project, and it could premiere as a single episode on SBS On Demand and NITV. Submissions due 24 Feb, and details are here.
Opportunity (AUS): There are 40 scholarships available to the 2022 McKinsey Executive Leadership Program for senior non-profit leaders. Apply here.
Opportunity (VIC): Are you a creative wanting to break into a film or tv, or be part of a crew? The Cinespace Training Ground program supported First Nations, CALD and POC individuals to partake in Victoria’s first ever trainee production! Get your first screen credit and apply by 13 Feb here.
Ideas: Check out Marc Fennel's amazing podcast on the ABC "Stuff the British Stole." It's hugely popular and he talks a lot about what the British stole from South Asia.
Opportunity (AUS): Are you a leader with a disability? Australian Network on Disability and Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) are offering 15 full-fee scholarships to undertake either the Foundations of Directorship program or the Company Directors Course at AICD, including 8 months of mentoring. Details can be found here.
Opportunity (AUS): Gitlab is looking for a Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Partner. If you’re got some good experience at a senior level, apply here.
Ideas: Stuck on Instagram but need more positive messages on your feed? Try following SelfCareWall for regular self-care messages.
Opportunity (NSW): Love Tik-Tok? They’re looking for a Director of Policy Communications. Check out this cool job here
Opportunity (VIC): 99designs, the world’s global creative platform, is looking for a Head of Community Support. Check out the gig here.
Ideas: Diversity advocate and SAARI Advisory Board member Tasneem Chopra interviews Mehreen Faruqi, author of Too Migrant, Too Muslim, Too Loud, for the Melbourne Writers Festival podcast. Check it out here.
Opportunity (VIC/remote): The Creative Co-Operative is hiring for multiple Marketer roles and a Web Designer. Support this great social entperise that puts money in the hands of women of colour! Check out the roles here.
Opportunity (WA): Southern Cross Austereo is looking for a creative writer with a flare for radio in Bunbury. Check out the gig here.
Opportunity (VIC): Social Traders has two great early-career roles on offer - Executive Assistant to CEO & Office Manager and Marketing and Social Media Coordinator. Check out the impact-focused roles here.
Ideas: Check out this video of India's first 3D printed house. In a country with so much homelessness, this could eventually be a game changer!
Opportunity: Applications to join the Australia-India Youth Dialogue have been extended to 6 February. Get your application in and make international networks by reading the details here.
Thanks for being a supporter of SAARI. It means a lot to have you with us, and we’re really grateful.
If you know any friends who would like this newsletter, please forward it on, or let them know it’s free and fun to join the SAARI Collective at our website.
Sandeep, Founder, SAARI Collective