International Metropolis Conference 2018: How to make a place for welcoming: mille feuille placemaking in Ballarat

Conference: International Metropolis Conference 2018

Location: Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, 14 Darling Drive, Sydney

Date: Wednesday 31st October, 11:00 - 12:30

Session: Voices and values in multicultural contexts

Title of paper: How to make a place for welcoming: mille feuille placemaking in Ballarat

Authors: Ammon Beyerle (Here Studio / University of Melbourne) and Ann Foley (Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council)

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This is the story of shared vision and strategy creating a regional Welcome Centre: A place premised on the value of cultural diversity, especially the cultural capital introduced by migrants and refugees.

What does it mean to make a place in an existing context? How can a multiplicity of voices inflect to make a open, and welcoming place? Can this process foster cultural competence over time?

A conversation about transforming an historic and previously neglected site into a diversity hub catalyses, connect and leverages opportunities in a rapidly evolving and diversifying regional city. Two perspectives and three themes will be explored:

Paths – The human story. It is woven through every aspect of the design of the Welcome Centre. Our own stories come to bear as well as those of individuals in time. Stakeholder voices are heard in many layers. They connect, overlap, intersect and impact on each other. People bring talents, skills, languages, networks and needs.

Partitions – place is important. A 150 year-old convent school site at the gateway to the city it offers its own stories and legacies – some helpful and some constraining – for our 21st century iteration.

Programme / Participation – Diversity and collaboration. Through community collaboration with architects and their students we learned to focus on the process of placemaking. Intense and creative interplay between individuals and groups results in events, technology, arts, community enterprises, business start-ups and educational projects led by migrants and refugees. Inclusion is a core value and force for settlement and social cohesion.