Aseel in the Kitchen - from Stories without Borders
Project Outline: Stories without Borders is a community development project using the medium of storytelling to create and nurture strong intercultural, intergenerational and interfaith connections between the diverse communities residing in and around North Melbourne. This project was based at North Melbourne Language & Learning (NMLL), who have connections to community groups and members from an identified 27 different countries of origin. Stories without Borders evolved using a co-design process to collaborate with local Indigenous Elders, young people, artists, and the wider community to develop and deliver a series of community storytelling sessions based on themes that were identified through community consultation and ongoing project evaluations of importance and interest.
The themes that guided the storytelling sessions were:
Stories of North Melbourne: with Uncle Larry Walsh and Lorna Hannan
Traditional Clothing & Costumes
Traditional Foods & Remedies
Religion & Spirituality
Over the course of the project, the community reported significant changes in their perception of people from backgrounds different to their own. Stories without Borders demonstrates the simple power of shared conversations between diverse communities given the opportunity to sit down together and see beyond borders. "Making diversity great again" could have been the motto of this project!
These stories were documented by project film maker David Adams, who mentored a small film crew of young people from the local community, with support from Youth Project Worker Sista Zai.
Project initiated by Community Development Project Worker Nikki Blanch from NMLL. International editing support by Tarek Neruda.
Photos by Manatosh Chakma.
Nikki BlanchDirectorJuan's Tango, The Voice of the Wood, When We Come Home
David AdamsDirectorBush Telegraph, Toolangi Sculpture Trail
Runtime:4 minutes 28 seconds
Completion Date:March 1, 2019
Country of Origin:Australia
Country of Filming:Australia
I am a Community Development Project Worker who loves to work in a cross-disciplinary way, employing photography and film making as a tool for social change. I believe that art has an important role to play in creating social cohesion. Art can connect people across language barriers, and social and cultural divisions through providing new tools for storytelling.
2017: When We Come Home – Narrator, Co-Director, Script Development.
2017: Juan’s Tango – Co-Director, Script Development, Second Camera.
2016 – Current: Community Development Project Worker - North Melbourne Language & Learning: Works with migrant, refugee and asylum seeker communities in North Melbourne, Australia. Community Development Projects: “Stories without Borders”; the ‘Connected Cultures-Empowered Communities’ program, and various multicultural festivals and events in collaboration with CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) communities.
2011 – 2016: Community Mental Health Practitioner - Sprout Program, an innovative mental health service supporting mental health recovery and wellbeing through creative gardening and arts projects. Coordinated the ‘Taste’ Community Kitchen program, and an ‘Introduction to Digital Photography’ program. Nikki coordinated and ran five annual Photography exhibitions, numerous community markets and cultural festivals.
2015: Feasts for the Future: Series of community fundraising dinners for Nepal Earthquake affected villages. Raised over $10,000 that was sent directly to the small village of Priti through involvement of local Nepali community with family members directly affected.
2013: The Long Table: Community Dinners with a social conscience. Monthly dinner salon project.
2009 – 2012: The Hoi Polloi: Co-Director of monthly community arts events including film screenings, exhibitions, talks, and host to local think tank.
2008: Salt of the Land: Group exhibition – Bendigo Tafe.
2004: A Different Lens: Group Photography Exhibition. Fundraiser for Friends of the Earth.
2001 – 2003: Wild Spaces Film Festival: Co-director of National Environmental and Human Rights Film Festival.
Education and Training
Certificate IV Training & Assessment (TAE 40110) 2017
CBD College, Melbourne, VIC
Certificate IV Mental Health 2012
Wodonga Tafe – Melbourne, VIC
Diploma in Visual Arts 2006
Bendigo Regional Tafe, VIC
Bachelor of Arts, Communication Studies 1999
University of Newcastle, NSW
Bachelor of Design UTS Sydney 1994.
I am currently based in Melbourne working as a photographer and video maker.
In recent years my assignment have been for various government, social, cultural and private organisations. Free work art projects are also an important part of my work.
The Dutch National School Museum-Black and White, 2001 (solo)
Group shows Frank Taal Galerry Rotterdam
GEM The Hague, The Dutch National ZilverenCamera Awards, 2008
Museum Rotterdam-Justus van Effenblok, 2012 (solo)
The Brighton Photobook Show-Close to Silence, 2012
The Tokyo Photobook Show-Paradise Birds, 2013
The Erasmus Gallery Rotterdam-Organising Control and Order, 2014
Montsalvat Eltham-Pleasant People Postcard Project 2016
The ZilverenCamera 1st prize Portrait Series 2008, Dutch National Photo-journalist Prize
Kassel International Photobook Show Reviewers Prize-Close to Silence 2011, Germany
Pollux Photo Awards Finalist Portrait Category-Artists 2013, International photo Competition
JOS Rotterdam, 10 photo works for the head office 2005
European Union and Composite photo series about European Police 2010-2014
Art and About Festival Sydney City Council Vdeo Insatallation-Bread and Butter 2013
Final selection Public Art Commission Sydney 2014 Multi-Media Video Installation-The Alley of Everyday Things
Laughing Waters Artist in Rsidency, Eltham 2015
Pleasant People Postcard Project-multi media installation Montsalvat 2016
The Travelling Teapot-Community Engagement Program Nulimbik Shire Council 2016
Old School-A journey into analogue photography Workshop program for clients of Mind Australia
The Travelling Teapot-Community Engagement Program Nulimbik Shire Council