Live Crossings

In 2018, we will launch Live Crossings, an online open-access magazine of creative practice and live performance events supporting the work of refugee and Indigenous writers and performers.

Live Crossings is also a network of creative practitioners working together to generate new forms of expression, critique, and social dialogue, and to develop alternative ways to pursue questions around differences and diversity. It is based in the School of the Arts and Media at UNSW and supported by UNSW Creative Practice Lab.

Live Crossings brings together established and emerging figures from a range of different fields and community contexts to produce new creative work around the pressing social questions of sovereignty, migration, refugees, and cultural dislocation. Based in Australia, the focus will be local, but also on points of connection and wider dialogue. It will approach these questions through the critical lens provided by ongoing debates and activism around race, gender and sexuality. It will feature the work of Indigenous, refugee, and diasporic writers, artists and performers, and will provide an opportunity for diverse practitioners to lead debates as points of intersection and transaction, as “lived” or “living” as well as “live crossings”.

Live Crossings takes as its model for public and creative debate the statement by refugee writer Behrouz Boochani about the importance of literary expression:

I publish a lot of stories in the newspapers and in the media about Manus, but people, really, they cannot understand our condition, not in journalistic language. Where we are is too hard. I think only in literary language can people understand our life and our condition.

- “For Six Months I was Jesus” in They Cannot Take the Sky: Stories From Detention ed Michael Green, André Dao et al, 2017)

Boochani’s compelling insight is that literary language is fundamental to the expression of difficult truths and that creativity can ground social and political transformation. Literary language is not confined to print, nor indeed to writing or speaking in English, and we aim to include work in diverse languages, including Indigenous languages. We will also focus on questions of translation, and, where possible, create points of dialogue or interface across different media and performance platforms through the live events which will mark the launch of each issue.

Live Crossings will invite guest editor-curators to envisage and compile work from a range of creative practitioners, working across different languages. The distinguished Community Cultural Development worker Paula Abood and Indigenous poet, activist and critic Evelyn Araluen will produce the first issue. The editor-curators will hold workshops (in November 2017 and Feb-March 2018) for writers and performers to work together on content, themes, and protocols for the inaugural issue.

As a project, Live Crossings draws on UNSW’s strong international profile in Australian Literature – particularly in relation to contemporary writing, Indigenous and refugee writing, and women writers – together with expertise in the field of live performance. It will develop substantial and long-lasting forms of social and community engagement that will help lead the debate on fundamental issues and challenges.

Provisional Steering Committee:

Brigitta Olubas
Ramaswami Harindranath
Elizabeth McMahon
Anne Brewster
Tanja Dreher
Roanna Gonsalves
Caroline Wake
Zora Simic
Laetitia Nanquette
Paula Abood
Su Goldfish
Paul Matthews


Image: Still from Chauka, Please Tell Us The Time. Directed by Behrouz Boochani and Arash Kamali Servastani.