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‘Growing up without seeing yourself reflected back in your nation’s stories is a quietly dehumanising thing.’

Benjamin Law


The arts and creative industries hold the great responsibility of reflecting our identities and cultures back to us. These representations are a huge contribution to our individual and collective sense of identity and political subjectivity.

There is huge power in representation – it can either limit and expand our conception of the potential in ourselves and others. Representation influences not only policy decisions, public opinion and political attitudes, it shapes our own self-definition. When we represent others, we need to be aware of the responsibilities this entails.


Photo by Bestbe Models

Furthermore, it’s essential to recognise that the absence of representation is also a form of representation itself. For example, in 2023 Screen Australia reported that only 21% of Australian TV drama characters are culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD, ie people who are migrants or members of ethnic communities), despite 39% of the Australian population identifying as CaLD. This can impact on an individual’s sense of belonging. This underrepresentation can make individuals and communities feel like they don’t truly belong or aren’t valued in their own society.

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