Westies at Play Archives - The Westies

Joyce Fu – People Just Like Us

People Just Like Us

I normally avoid people trying to talk to me on the street usually they are trying to sell something; or make me feel guilty enough about something that I sign up to a have an amount deducted from my bank account each month to make that guilt disappear.

A couple of weeks ago I found myself in Parramatta’s Centenary Square with a little bit of time to kill, so thought I would have a chat with the woman standing in front of a sign reading Welcome Asylum Seekers, People Just Like Us. I steadied myself for the conversation which I was sure was going to end with me leaving my (accidentally misspelt) email address and making up an appointment that I really had to get to, however things went a little differently than I had expected. The woman I chatted to was Joyce Fu who was very inviting with a lovely smile. She didn’t have a well scripted story to tell me, just a warm invitation to learn more about her advocacy group People Just Like Us, who try to address the crisis of cruelty faced by people seeking asylum in Australia. The group, along with wanting the government to take action on its refugee policy, aims for Australians to see that asylum seekers and refugees are people. Just like us.  Continue Reading

Peter Curnovic – Beatdisc Records

Beatdisc

Surviving as a small business is tough. Surviving as an independent record store is close to impossible. Running that business for over twenty three years is nothing short of a miracle.

Peter Curnovic has been working at Beatdisc Records for over twenty three years and has just celebrated 10 years as owner. When you consider more than 60% of small businesses shut their doors within three years of opening and 80% in the first five, then add into the mix that Beatdisc Records is located in an area with no dedicated live music venues in an arcade that you are likely to never stumble across without some good directions, as far a statistics go you have a bit of a problem on your hands .

Chatting with Pete, it became clear that his passion for music and community are the well laid foundations that have kept him in a business that not only survives but thrives. Beatdisc is an institution that deserves to be celebrated at every turn. First, read the interview, then pay yourself a visit to the shop in Parramatta – directions are below. This is one well kept secret that we need to start shouting from the rooftops.  

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Africultures Festival 2018

March 10th 2018 marked the 10th year of Africultures Festival, a celebration of African culture in Australia. The festival was established to celebrate all things Africa, from sport (the Africultures cup was taken out by Ghana this year), to fashion, food and music. This huge one day event brings the best of Africa to Western Sydney, served up with a side of Australian flavour.  Continue Reading

Rachael Belle Myers and Matt Vella – The Western Sydney Filmmakers Hangout

Western Sydney Filmmakers

Rachael Belle Myers and Matt Vella have a few things in common, they are both award winning filmmakers, they both live in Western Sydney and their other commonality – loneliness and isolation in their chosen profession of filmmaking. After meeting at an awards ceremony they decided it was time to do something about it and so The Western Sydney Filmmakers Hangout was founded. We chatted about how it got started, their shared passion for storytelling and staying in Western Sydney.   Continue Reading

Steve Hodgson – The Dad’s Cooperative Project

Men. They get a bit of a bad wrap –  we expect the world from them, be tough, know it all and most importantly show as little emotion as possible. Thankfully times are changing and Dads are no longer seen as sidekicks in the parenting game, but equals.

Thankfully, most men are wonderful human beings who are trying to work out this world and want to be part of their kids lives in a meaningful way, navigating the role of being a Dad as best they can with very little resources, a lack of information and few places to turn to.

After becoming a Dad for the second time, Steve Hodgson decided to start The Dad’s Cooperative Project and create a place for Dad’s to get together with their kids and spend some time swapping experiences, trade stories and support each other to thrive as role models and fathers. The Dad’s Cooperative Project is a wonderful initiative with Parramatta Council supporting this vital group, we were super happy to see this group starting in the West and would love to see it spread across the country.

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Top five interviews of 2017

Top 5 2017

 

 

Happy 2018! We hope your New Year has got off to a great start. The Westies had a wonderful 2017 interviewing 26 talented, diverse, wonderful Westies. In July we launched The Westies Markets – Emu Plains which grew from 53 to 66 stall holders and saw an average of 1500 people through the gates. 2018 will bring more interviews, the markets will be back in March and we will be launching a couple of new events. For now we thought it would be great to take a look back at the 5 most read interviews of 2017, taking a quick glance back before we spring into 2018!

 

 

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CPAC YOUTH – THE PLOT

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Art quickly becomes all about space. Space to create ideas, spaces to make work in, safe spaces to share and contribute and grow. Sometimes though, it’s hard to know where to start and that can be a real block to creativity. Enter CPAC Youth, a youth-run organisation dedicated to giving their local community a chance to come and create work, exhibit work and be part of the process. We sat down with Phu, Youth Facilitator at CPAC (Casula Powerhouse Arts Center) ahead of the groups workshops being held at The Plot this weekend, to talk art and accessibility in Western Sydney…

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ALL GIRL ELECTRONIC – THE PLOT

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All Girl Electronic is a program run by Information Cultural Exchange (ICE) in Parramatta, launched in 2016 to combat the lack of women in electronic music. The program has quickly ballooned from eight participants on their pilot program last year to twenty-eight girls who are benefitting from being mentored by an all-female team in an environment that is not only improving their skills but allowing self-esteem and confidence to soar. We chatted with program manager Julia and a couple of the participants Alex and Sara to find out why this program is so important and the opportunities it has opened up.

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DJ SOL – THE PLOT 2017

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At the age of 14, you will find most boys on the soccer field or in front of a computer screen but you’ll have to look behind the DJ booth to find DJ Sol, who has been mixing tracks since he was only nine years old. Surrounded by music from an early age, artists such as Michael Jackson and Timbaland have influenced DJ Sol who is now DJing house music with a level of maturity well beyond his age. The support of his parents and mentors, such as L-Fresh the Lion, have led to DJ Sol landing some impressive bookings, such as Splendour in the Grass and THE PLOT, back for the third year running later this month. You can catch DJ Sol playing on the local 2150 stage at THE PLOT on November 18th,  we caught up with him for a quick chat ahead of his gig.

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Mark Geyer

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One of the most overused and damaging  narratives about Western Sydney is the “You’ve come a long way, you’ve do well to get yourself out of there”. Success often means leaving the West and dropping any association with it as quickly as your ex-boyfriend. The most effective way to prove our worth is to get out, move away and join in the finger-pointing at those people who live “out there.” None of us chose where we were born, some of us just make the best of it and it’s actually pretty bloody good. Footy legend, breakfast radio host and all round great guy Mark Geyer is one man who proves that success can come because of growing up in Western Sydney, not in spite of it.   Continue Reading