Mark Geyer
Lauren Larouge - Nailed by Larouge
Toufick Chami - Meraki Merchants

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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Winnie Dunn – Sweatshop

Literacy is largely equated with simple reading and writing skills, however it goes far beyond that. Literacy is not just about reading stories, it is learning to write our own and express our experiences through words. It also develops critical thinking – a vitally important skill in helping us examine our environment and place in it.

Sweatshop is leading the way in providing opportunities to enhance and develop literacy in Western Sydney, providing skills, training and support for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, empowering them to find their own story and express it, enabling individuals and groups to have a say in their own stories – instead of being spoken about.   

Sweatshop has just announced a new project launching next month, the first ever Western Sydney Literacy Initiative for Diverse Women. Ahead of its launch we spoke with program manager Winnie Dunn about the program and the role literacy has played in her life, growing up in Western Sydney as a woman of colour.

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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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Julie Owens – Member for Parramatta

Julie Owens Same Sex

The right for same sex couples to marry passed in the senate last week and from January 9th it will be legal for all couples to wed. It’s taken a lot of arguments and completely avoidable hurt to get there. The Australian public were asked and returned a national decision of YES with 61.6% voting in favour of marriage equality.

However, when the results were broken down the majority of NO votes came from Western Sydney – which is simply no surprise whatsoever.  The result reflects what we already know – that many people who live in this area have strong religious beliefs, which include marriage being only between a man and a woman. While that is not the opinion of all people in Western Sydney, here it does reflect the majority.

A few days before the bill passed through parliament we spoke with Julie Owens, Member for Parramatta – who although her electorate returned a majority NO vote, chose to vote YES. Read on to find out why. 
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Lauren LaRouge – Nail Artist

Nailed by LaRouge

“Do what you love!” A sentence that is thrown around more than a cricket ball at a test match, however living in one of the world’s most expensive cities can mean having to take a job that you love less and despise more. Getting stuck in an office with grey walls, slogging away with zero creative inspiration led Lauren LaRouge to get creative and start bringing some colour to that drab office using her nails as tiny canvases. She has now managed to nail doing what she loves, literally. No longer confined to a boring office Lauren spends her days creating handfuls of artworks, taking nail art up a notch or ten.  

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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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