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Responding to social issues


Over the last fifteen years, Dulwich Centre Publications has used the written word as a way of responding to current social issues. A special informal publication, Comment, was developed for this purpose. The thinking behind Comment is described in a chapter by Cheryl White and David Denborough entitled 'The written word in times of crisis'  Here is an extract from this chapter:


'Created collectively, these informal news-sheets have been written at various times over the last ten years in response to current social events. These have been times in which we have felt considerably worried about developments that have been taking place in Australia - for instance, the rise in racism in Australia in the late 1990s. Certain events that have occurred overseas, such as those that took place on September 11 in the USA, and the bombing in Bali, have brought further grief and concern. At all these times, we have felt a wish to respond in some way, not to remain passive in the face of broader issues. We have also known that many others have had similar feelings and have wanted to try to find ways to respond. As our primary work is in publishing, the question became: what sort of writing, what sort of publication could be most useful?


At all the times mentioned above, the social issues were being talked about everywhere. Not only were the issues dominating the national news but also conversations in coffee shops, in family homes, and in workplaces. Many of these conversations were divisive and difficult. There were often marked differences of opinion within families and between friends and workmates. What is the role of the written word at these times? While there were avenues available to publicly protest or express sorrow about government actions and policies, and there were alternative newspapers and internet discussion sites that were publishing informative material, we decided that as part of our response perhaps we could contribute a different sort of publication. Could we create publications that would not simply state a line of argument, and therefore only appeal to those who already agree with this line of argument, but instead offer an engagement with the issues in ways that may enable different conversations?'


  Written (and sung) responses to social issues
Feb 2009    

A song to the people of Victoria after the bushfires

Feb 2008

The Australian Government offers a formal apology to Indigenous Australia
Wednesday 13 February 2008 was an historic day here in Australia as our Federal Government offered a long-awaited apology to Indigenous Australia in relation to the Stolen Generations. To mark this significant occasion, we have placed on this site a publication entitled 'National Sorry Day: Coming to terms with the past and present' which we published in 1998. Almost eleven years have passed since the Bringing Them Home report was tabled in Federal Parliament. For those eleven years, Indigenous Australians never wavered in their efforts to seek justice and acknowledgment. To read the full text of the Prime Minister's apology, click here.

Nov 2007

A response to the current conversations in Australia about sexual abuse in Indigenous communities by Tileah Drahm-Butler
It's not only children who are sacred

Feb 2006

Race Riots in Sydney
Written response to Sydney Race Riots
Song as response to race riots in Sydney

Feb 2004

Violent conflict between Police and Aboriginal youth

Nov 2002

Imminent invasion of Iraq
When war seems imminent … how can we respond?

Oct 2002 

Responding to the Bali Bombing: A song for Australia

Feb 2002

Responding to Australia's treatment of asylum seekers

Sept 2001

Afghan histories in Australia

Sept 11 2001

Responding to recent events in the USA: How can we talk with each other about this?


Still searching - a story from Amir, an Iraqi refugee in Australia

May 1998

National Sorry Day:  Coming to terms with the past and present

May 1997

Racism: How can white Australians respond?


If you and/or your workplace are also finding ways to respond to social issues in your context we would be delighted to hear from you. Please  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ! Thanks.