Cultural and creative life

Band Together through conversation and music this Refugee Week

Listen to stories of settlement in Australia, surviving detention and a live music collaboration with legendary rockers live from Sydney Town Hall on 23 June.

Band Together - Refugee Week 2021
Band Together - Refugee Week 2021

Embedded content: will come together for Refugee Week to celebrate diversity and the valuable contribution of our refugee communities.

Together with the Asylum Seekers Centre and Amnesty International, we’re hosting Band Together – a night of conversation and music live from Town Hall on Wednesday 23 June.

Speakers include passionate refugee advocate and former Socceroo Craig Foster and refugee, artist and musician Farhad Bandesh.

Farhad was detained in the detention centre on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. He was eventually transferred to Australia for medical treatment and released in late 2019 after 8 years in detention. He’ll perform live on the night with rock legend Jim Moginie from Midnight Oil and friends from The Celibate Rifles, Youth Group and the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

Refugee Week 2021 - Band Together speaker, Roaa Ahmed
Refugee Week 2021 - Band Together speaker, Roaa Ahmed

18 year-old Roaa Ahmed, who fled Egypt with her family before finally resettling in Sydney in 2018, will talk with Councillor Jess Scully. Her story highlights the challenges of seeking asylum and the joys of finding a new home. Now fluent in English and studying hard for her HSC, Roaa also volunteers with other refugees and teaches Arabic. She plans to go to university next year to study psychology, media and communications.

Other speakers include Australian Local Hero of the Year Rosemary Kariuiki, Asylum Seekers Centre CEO Frances Rush and Amnesty International Australia Refugee Coordinator Graham Thom.

Due to the new Covid restrictions in Sydney, Band Together will now be live streamed only. Everyone who has purchased a ticket to attend the event in person will be emailed details with an option to transfer their ticket to the live stream or receive a refund. If you choose to transfer to the live stream you’ll also receive a refund for the difference in the ticket price. If you haven’t already purchased a ticket for the event, live stream tickets can still be purchased.

The event will be Auslan Interpreted with captioning available on the live stream.

This year’s Refugee Week theme is unity – a call for all of us to work together to help build a more cohesive community.

The week-long program of events from Sunday 20 to Saturday 26 June is a wonderful opportunity to experience the rich cultures of refugee communities through music, performance, storytelling and conversation.

The City of Sydney has been a refugee welcome zone since 2005. We’re committed to upholding human rights, demonstrating compassion and enhancing cultural and religious diversity in our community.

See the full list of Refugee Week events taking place across the city.

Published 15 June 2021, updated 12 October 2023