March at Immigration Museum: From International Women's Day to Cultural Diversity Week

As Immigration Museum's "Summer of Love" comes to an end, the museum welcomes autumn with a program as fresh as the cooler weather and as colourful as the new season's foliage. All brought to Melbourne with the same passion and devotion of our current blockbuster exhibition Love (open until 28 April).

Enjoying films under the stars.

For over twenty years, Immigration Museum has been collaborating with culturally diverse communities, inviting them to contribute towards the planning of festivals, talks and other events. This approach is becoming more refined as we join the international OF/BY/FOR ALL project, which encourages cultural organisations to be representative of their communities, co-created by their communities and for their communities.

This is particularly relevant as Immigration Museum celebrates Cultural Diversity Week, an annual multicultural festival which invites Victorians to embrace and celebrate their cultural diversity, presented by the Victorian Multicultural Commission. As a Major Partner of this year's festival, we are excited to host the Indonesian Film Festival (22 March) and the Primary School Short Film Competition (24–31 March).

Other highlights on the calendar include the Women and Gibran Symposium (4 March), a panel discussion which will explore the impact of women on Kahlil Gibran's life and philosophy and Towards a new Australian Refugee Policy (14 March), a discussion co-hosted with United Nations Australia (Victoria) that looks at how the UN Compact on refugees might be applied in an Australian context to revitalise the nation's refugee protection systems.

Full programming details below.

Women and Gibran Symposium

Monday 4 March, 5pm-8pm

Join us in conversation to explore, through the lens of contemporary creative women, the universality of Gibran's words and what it means to leave home, recreate oneself and engage in belonging while maintaining a connection to homeland and Australia. Panellists include Judy Saba, Nadine Samaha and sisters Bouthaina Haikal Mayall, Loubna Haikal Macdonals and Hadia Maikal Mukhtar from the Lebanese Historical Society.

Guests will also have the opportunity to view Kahlil Gibran: The Garden of the Prophet prior to the discussion.

International Women's Day at Immigration Museum

Friday 8 March, 11am-3.30pm

To celebrate International Women's Day and its theme of #BalanceforBetter, which promotes building a gender-balanced world, Immigration Museum is hosting a series of Spot Talks to highlight women's stories within its exhibitions.

Women and Love: Empowering Stories and Objects, 11am-3pm
A vest made from plant fibres and seeds, a book of bird illustrations, a possum skin blanket and a scrapbook. Beautiful objects with even more beautiful stories about the power of love – and the powerful women who made and used them. Join curators Moya McFadzean, Stacie Piper and Lisa Hilli in the Love exhibition for some special insights into a selection of objects on display and their little-known stories.

Grow Gather Share Tour, 1.30pm
Customer Service Manager Soo Taylor leads a tour exploring the diversity and history of gardening and food in multicultural Victoria, focusing on how various women have used their traditional culinary practices to bridge cultural divides.

International Women's Day Highlights Tour of Immigration Museum, 2.30pm
Join Customer Service Officer Shaun Jackson for a tour of Immigration Museum with an emphasis on the stories and accomplishments of the women explored within the museum’s exhibitions.

Indonesian Film Festival

Friday 22 March, 6pm–10pm | Part of Cultural Diversity Week

Join us under the stars for a free open-air film screening as part of the Indonesian Film Festival. Now in its 14th year, the festival will show Filosofi Kopi Film 2: Ben & Jody (2017) a film about two baristas forced to rethink their purpose in the wake of a business failure.

Bring your picnic rug and cash to enjoy Indonesian snacks and coffee along with live music before night falls and the film rolls.

Presented in partnership with Indonesian Film Festival, in collaboration with The University of Melbourne Indonesian Student Association.

One Beat, One Love

Sunday 24 March, 11am–4pm

One Beat, One Love showcases positive stories and talent from African communities across Melbourne. Following its inaugural success in 2017, this event promises to be a contemporary expression of culture from across the African continent, as created in Melbourne’s multicultural melting pot. The festival will include song, music, dance, stories, discussion, art, film, fashion and food.

Primary School Short Film Competition

Sunday 24–Sunday 31 March, 10am–5pm daily | Part of Cultural Diversity Week

The Primary School Short Film Competition calls on budding young filmmakers to show what multiculturalism means them. The Victorian Multicultural Commission has invited pupils from Prep to Grade 6 to produce a short film exploring the theme "This is what a Victorian looks like". The winning and shortlisted films with be displayed in a special temporary exhibition in the Discovery Centre.

Towards a new Australian Refugee Policy

Thursday 14 March, 5.30pm-7pm

The UN Global Compact on Refugees is being hailed as a new comprehensive response framework for large-scale refugee movements globally, which contains important political commitments and signals an opportunity to improve the international community’s response to refugees.

Panellists will look at how the Compact might be applied in an Australian context and the implications of this for revitalising refugee protection systems in Australia.


  • Erika Feller, Former UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner and current Professorial Fellow, University of Melbourne and UNAA Goodwill Ambassador on Refugees
  • Paris Aristotle, AO, Chair of the Settlement Services Advisory Council
  • Dr Sonja Hood, CEO, Community Hubs Australia
  • Fiona Patten MLC, Victorian Parliament, Leader of Reason

This event is presented in partnership with the United Nations Association of Australia Victorian Division.

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For media enquiries, please contact:

Portrait of Anna Quinn
Anna Quinn
Media & Communications Manager, Immigration Museum
[email protected]
0437 565 300

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