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Perth to host community symposium in the wake of terrorist attacks

Media release

Curtin University academics will draw on their research into violence and racism when they convene a symposium this week that aims to help the community gain a deeper understanding of the recent Christchurch and Sri Lanka terrorist attacks.

Held at the State Library of Western Australia on Thursday, May 2, in collaboration with the Museum of Freedom and Tolerance, the symposium will discuss the Christchurch massacre and the recent bombings in Sri Lanka.

Symposium co-convenor John Curtin Distinguished Professor Suvendrini Perera said the public event would feature experts from various disciplines at Curtin University, with each academic offering a different perspective and deeper understanding of the Christchurch and Colombo tragedies.

“Given Curtin’s strong research focus on anti-racism and anti-violence, the symposium aims to show leadership and engagement with the community through a public event to encourage greater understanding,” Professor Perera said.

“The title of the symposium, ‘One of Us?’, is a phrase that has a long cultural history, raising significant questions about our collective identity and who is perceived to ‘belong’ in our society.

“The New Zealand Prime Minister, Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, showed exemplary leadership when she described the people killed in Christchurch as ‘us’, making an enormously powerful and meaningful statement of belonging.”

Community members, academics and artists attending the symposium will discuss pertinent issues including the normalisation of racism, everyday Islamophobia and the notion of ‘us and them’ in contemporary Australia.

The symposium will include contributions from Curtin academics Dr Sky Croeser, Professor John Kinsella, Dr Marilyn Metta, Professor Kim Scott, Dr Yirga Woldeyes, and Curtin Islamic chaplain Imam Yahya Ibrahim. It will also feature Dr Rabia Siddique from the Museum of Freedom and Tolerance, poet Sarah Saleh and a video by calligraphy artist Karim Jabbari.

The symposium will be preceded by a memorial projection at Perth Cultural Centre at 5pm, created by community artists associated with the Museum of Freedom and Tolerance.

The symposium will be held on Thursday, May 2, from 5.30pm to 8pm at the State Library of Western Australia.

For more information about the event or to register to attend, visit here.