Rich Rewards: Cultural Diversity and Heritage Practice
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8. Preparing your Workshop

Part Two - Introduction

8.1 Who to invite

The key participants in this workshop are determined by its aims. Firstly the aim of your workshop is to draw people from ethnic communities into heritage processes to affect more culturally diverse heritage practices. One of the first steps in preparing your workshop will be to identify the various communities in your area as thoroughly as possible.

You will also need to identify the cultural network or any other organisations and individuals that could make a valuable contribution to your project.

8.2 Identifying Ethnic Communities

Make your workshop as inclusive as possible by identifying the various communities that live in your area. The People of New South Wales, produced by the Ethnic Affairs Commission of New South Wales (EAC), gives information about populations.[4] In it you will find a population 'snapshot' of your local government area. This handbook should be available at your local library. It is also available through the EAC.

Your local library will be able to provide a history of the area. This is an important resource for understanding the diversity of your community, both past and present.

The next step is to identify any ethnic organisations that represent the communities in your area and begin to develop your invitation list. Community organisations are a valuable point of access. By contacting the organisation that represents the community you are initiating formal contact with its entire network. The community itself can also decide the issue of the most appropriate person to represent the community at the workshop.

A very useful starting point is the Ethnic Communities Council of New South Wales (ECC). It produces the Ethnic Communities Reference Book, which is a directory of multicultural and ethno-specific organisations throughout New South Wales.[5] The directory includes a brief description of the organisation's function, in addition to a name contact address and telephone number. The EAC has regional project officers who will be able to assist you in developing your invitation list.

If there is a peak body of ethnic organisations in you area, such as a Migrant Resource Centre or a regional office of the Ethnic Communities Council they may be willing to provide you with a list of key organisations or to help you promote your workshop. You could indicate your willingness to address their next meeting to explain the workshop and its aims. This is an excellent opportunity to detail the workshop so that participants know what to expect. Like all communities, ethnic communities are diverse. When researching your invitation list you may find that some ethnic communities support a number of organisations. In this case invite representatives from each of these organisations. Your workshop will be most effective if it incorporates a diverse range of views, but keep in mind that you should try to achieve a balanced representation across the communities.

Other resources for identifying communities and organisations include the local street directory, which will list places of religious significance. Religious leaders and organisations are a key link into the networks of many communities. You could also try to contact key employers of migrant people, or community workers. Let your fingers do the walking in the local phone book. Wherever possible tap into local networks - such as local government and your local media, many will have community directories.

Not all communities, particularly those that have recently arrived, will be represented in your area by a formal organisation, so you will need to be creative in developing your invitation list. You could try to contact the peak body for that community listed in the ECC directory. Alternatively New South Wales has many ethno-specific newspapers that may able to help you contact people in your area.

8.3 Identifying Heritage Organisations and the Cultural Network

Creating partnerships between organisations and individuals that contribute to heritage practice is a foundation for creating sustained, culturally diverse heritage practices. These partnerships will create a forum for consultation with ethnic communities in all relevant heritage decisions. They provide an opportunity to share expertise and experience, raise awareness and understanding of migration heritage, provide support for community driven migration heritage initiatives and encourage culturally diverse practices and focuses in heritage organisations.

Local Government is responsible for heritage at a local level and should be represented at your workshop by the heritage adviser or other person responsible for heritage. You could also invite the social planner or cultural program manager. The contribution of historians to heritage is through research and interpretation. Most comminutes have an active historical society that would be willing to send a representative to your workshop. The local council will be able to put you in touch with the historian commissioned to write the thematic history component of their heritage study. You could also invite your local studies librarian, who can be contacted through the library. Regional and local museums form another part of the heritage framework and the director or curator should be invited.

Heritage is carried out in a diverse framework with a broad range of outcomes. All of these organisations will bring local knowledge and expertise that will contribute to the success of your workshop and provide points of liaison for ethnic communities undertaking ongoing migration heritage initiatives.

Keep in mind that the specifics of your project may lead to a range of other partnerships. Does your project have possibilities for local tourism development? Then you could contact your local tourist office. The local chamber of commerce may be able to provide assistance in identifying commercial partners for your project. Would the project benefit from input by the local media? Could you produce a documentary about it? The possibilities to share skills and create new pathways to promote culturally diverse heritage are many.

8.4 How Many People to Invite

The community consultation balances, on the one hand, hearing from a broad section of the community and on the other, ensuring that all of the participants have the opportunity for expression. Ideally, your workshop should have no more than 30 participants. Your research has probably uncovered a list that is significantly longer than this. Keep in mind that not everyone you invite will be available to attend.

How you achieve this number will depend on the profile of your community. Ideally you should invite two people to represent each of the ethnic community organisations that you have identified. Where no formal organisation exists you should still invite two representatives of that community. It is usually enough to invite one representative from the history and heritage organisations.

To gauge interest in the workshop, it is helpful to contact organisations by phone, prior to sending out the invitations. If you anticipate a large response and your resources permit, it may be beneficial to hold two workshops on separate days. If this is the case you should consider holding one of the workshops on a weekday and the second on a weekend. This would create maximum opportunities for the most diverse representation.

If you need to reduce the size of your workshop you could consider inviting one participant to represent each of the communities. If you do this you should ensure that the participant is from the most representative community organisation. You should also allow more time for the photography session - one pair may have to photograph the community's Croatian and Laotian heritage. In the event that more than thirty people RSVP to the workshop, you could divide the group into two. Space permitting the two groups could share the same venue, or occupy one that is close by. You may also need to change the timing of the second group slightly so that the photo processing can be done sequentially.

8.5 Setting a time and date

Before sending out your invitations you will need to set a time and date for your workshop. To do this you should consult the calendar, being careful to avoid major events or festivals, school holidays and community initiatives that may limit people's ability to attend.

When setting your time and date you will need to be sensitive to cultural differences across the communities in your locality. The Jewish community, for example, observes Saturday as the Sabbath, while a number of communities (including the Chinese and Vietnamese) celebrate festivals such as New Year according to the lunar, rather than date calendar. The Ethnic Communities Council can provide some useful guidelines here.

The photography session of the workshop needs to be held during the daylight hours. You will also need to hold it at time when fast photo processing is available. It is preferable to hold the workshop over a six and a half-hour period. This will allow plenty of time for discussion. You will find that people will have plenty to say! In the pilot program the workshops were held from 9.30 - 4pm.

The time of the workshop will shape who is available to participate, so it is useful to consider the age and occupations of your target audience when setting a date. A weekend may be the most opportune time. You could also consider holding the workshop sessions over an afternoon with the exhibition and discussion session in the evening.

It may help to write a draft outline of your workshop program or agenda so that you can decide on the start and finishing time that best suits your community.

8.6 Sending Out the Invitations

Having identified ethnic communities and heritage organisations in your locality, set a time and date, and found a venue you are ready to send out the invitations.

To give participants plenty of notice a simple invitation should be sent out 4 weeks before the workshop. It is recommended that you approach ethnic communities through their community organisation. Where possible the invitation should be made out to the president asking for two people to represent the organisation on the day. It is essential that you give these organisations enough time to meet to agree on who the best people are to represent their community or organisation on the day.

When designing the invitation you should keep in mind that many participants will be unfamiliar with ideas and processes of heritage. You should identify your organisation and the proposed outcomes for the day. A draft invitation is included over page.

8.7 Following Up Your Invitations

The most successful community consultations are built on relationships of trust and reciprocity. The time between sending out your invitations and the date of the workshop is ideal for developing a rapport with the participants. A phone call to follow up the invitation also creates the opportunity to check that the invitation has arrived, answer any questions or concerns or find out if more information is required. You could also establish if a translator is needed at the workshop, (the EEC can help here), or if there are any other specific requirements that need to be met. (This may be the case when organising food.) In addition the follow up phone call will give you some early indications of how many people might attend on the day, if they are willing to bring their own camera or use their car.

Some organisations may be happy for you to address their next meeting. This is a valuable opportunity to explain the workshop and its aims in more detail.

At this point you may also be able to begin to ascertain a range of community attitudes and understandings of heritage. It is important to recognise that a plethora of ideas and understandings exist in the community in relation to heritage. Cross-cultural differences will arise in the ways the heritage is conceptualised, when and why it is important or relevant. Your workshop will be more successful if you are open to these differences.

8.8 Other Key people

8.8.1 The Facilitator

When organising the workshop you will need to think about who will facilitate the workshop. The person organising the workshop is ideal for this role, as they will have begun to develop a relationship with the participants. The role of the facilitator is to coordinate the program on the day, introduce the sessions and run the program, start off discussion and ensure that the workshop aims are achieved. To do this effectively they should be independent. Ideally they will have had experience running a workshop and facilitating discussion. They should also have some knowledge of heritage matters. Most importantly they should be familiar with the principles of cultural diversity and have had some experience working in this area.

8.8.2 Support

It is also important to have a person to provide general support to the facilitator. They can be responsible for the venue; set up the room, deliver and collect the photographs for processing and to help pack up after the workshop.

This person may also be responsible for organising the lunch and afternoon tea.

8.8.3 Media Contact

If the workshop has generated media interest you will also need to have a media contact that can leave the workshop to speak to the media, undertake interviews etc. The media will be interested in filming the workshop in action and it is important that this does not interrupt the flow of your workshop.

8.8.4 The Historian

A local historian knowledgeable in the history of migration in the area can play an important role on the day. Some communities may have an historical presence, but no longer live in the area. To ensure that the workshop is as inclusive as possible the historian's brief is to identify items and sites that are associated with ethnic communities no-longer living in the area.

8.9 Refreshments

You should plan for a simple, inexpensive lunch, such as sandwiches, fruit and cake. Given the diversity of people attending the workshop you should however, be careful to include a range of choices. You should also plan for afternoon tea, which can be a cup of coffee and biscuit (enjoyed during the discussion period if the group is running short on time and long on things to say.) People may also appreciate a cup of tea or coffee when they arrive and a self-serve urn may be the best option here.

8.10 Fast Photo Processing

Prior to the day you should confirm that your fast photo-processing shop is able to process 10 - 15 roles of 24-exposure film in one hour. If they are not able to achieve this you may need to split your developing between two shops, or, if this is not possible adjust the program for the day to include a discussion period immediately after the lunch break. (See program) You will also need to arrange for payment.

8.11 The Venue

Your venue should have a central location that is easy for people to access. It needs to be close to the fast photo-processing shop. Remember that discussion is an important part of the day and that the venue must facilitate this. Your local council may be willing to provide you with a space that comfortably holds 30 people.

The venue will need to have

8.12 Materials and Equipment

The photography session


You will need to provide one roll of 24-frame film for every two participants. You should also have a few extra rolls in case you have additional people. You will also find that some pairs may want to take additional photos.

If you increase the number of frames per pair or the number of films, you will need to adjust both the length of the photography session, the time needed for development and the exhibition session accordingly. It is recommended to keep photos at 24 frames per pair. Additional items could be identified at a second workshop.


In the invitation may ask participants to bring along their own 35mm camera. When you make your follow-up call you should ascertain if people are willing to do this. If people are unable to bring a camera along you will need to organise for one disposable camera per pair. You should also plan for two additional cameras in the case that extra people attend.


Your follow-up should establish if people are willing to use their cars for the photography session. If the subject of your workshop is a small area then people may be able to walk. Keep in mind that the photography session is undertaken in pairs so not everyone will need car.

Exhibition session

For this session each pair will need:

Other materials

8.13 Preparing the Venue

The venue should be set up well before the workshop is due to commencing. If you are able to get access, you could set it up the day before.

To set up the room, arrange the tables so that one or two pairs can work at them to compile photo-boards. It is ideal if these tables are arranged around an arc so that people can see and talk to each other and the display board or similar. Check any other equipment that you may want to use, such as a whiteboard or slide projector is available.

[4] ibid

[5] Ethnic Communities' Council of NSW, 1996 Ethnic Communities Reference Book, ECC, Waterloo 1996. This directory is due to be updated early in 2000.


Albury Railway Station (left) and Bonegilla Station (below)

Points of arrival were identified as historically and socially significant places, symbolising the beginning of a new life in a new country.

Werner Felke, pictured below at Bonegilla Station, spoke of this site as his first steps in a new life. The Station serviced the Migrant Camp of the same name.

Consultation with ethnic communities enriches our understanding of heritage by exposing its layers of meaning. Albury Railway Station is already listed as a site of state heritage significance for its aesthetic values. As the first and last stop on the New South Wales line its granduer reflecting boarder tensions between NSW and Victoria. Places have different meanings across the community. The specific significance of the station to Albury's migrant communities can be better understood as a place of arrival.