'We are all confident to speak': Using radio as a tool of resettlement for young people of refugee background

Heather Anderson, Shepard Masocha, Neelu Sharma


Settlement presents a significant challenge for refugees compared to other migrants, given the forced, and often traumatic, nature of their resettlement, but despite this, many refugees arrive in Australia with the tools to positively face new challenges in their settlement and as a result have a very high chance of making a good life for themselves in Australia. This paper discusses the ways community media production can be utilised to investigate solutions to the resettlement challenges faced by young people of refugee background. It draws on findings from a pilot research project that involved young people with refugee experience in media and radio production, as well as broadcasting on an internet radio station at the University of South Australia. The findings suggest, preliminarily at least, that participation in community media can have a beneficial effect on a young person’s settlement experience, in line with perceptions of what constitutes ‘successful’ resettlement.


Community radio, ethnic broadcasting, resettlement, refugee radio, action research, community media, ethnic media, refugee media

Full Text:



Ager A & Strang A (2008) Understanding integration: A conceptual framework. Journal of Refugee Studies 21(2): 166-191.

AMARC (2007) Community Radio Social Impact Assessment: Removing Barriers, Increasing Effectiveness. Challenges, Findings, Reflections, Experiences, Lines of Action for Community Radio stakeholders. Montréal (Québec): AMARC.

Beirens H, Hughes N, Hek R & Spicer N (2007) Preventing social exclusion of refugee and asylum seeking children: Building new networks. Social Policy and Society 6(2): 219-229.

Beiser M & Hou F (2001) Language acquisition, unemployment and depressive disorder among Southeast Asian refugees: a 10-year study. Social Science and Medicine 53: 1321-1334.

Brough M, Gorman D, Ramirez E, & Westoby P (2003) Young refugees talk about wellbeing: a qualitative analysis of refugee youth mental health from three states. Australian Journal of Social Issues 38(2): 193-208.

Brown J, Miller J, & Mitchell J (2006) Interrupted schooling and the acquisition of literacy: Experiences of Sudanese refugees in Victorian secondary schools. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy 29(2): 150-162.

Chouliaraki L, & Zaborowski R (2017) Voice and community in the refugee crisis: A content analysis of the new coverage of eight European countries. International Communication Gazette 79(6-7): 613-635.

Colic-Peisker V (2009) Visibility, settlement success and life satisfaction in three refugee communities in Australia. Ethnicities 9(2): 175-199.

Colic-Peisker V & Tilbury F (2006) Employment niches for recent refugees: Segmented labour market in first century Australia. Journal of Refugees Studies 2(1): 203 - 229.

Correa-Velez I, Gifford SM & Barnett AG (2010) Longing to belong: Social inclusion and wellbeing among youth with refugee backgrounds in the first three years in Melbourne, Australia. Social Science and Medicine 71: 1399-1408.

Dekker R & Engbersen G (2014) How social media transform migrant networks and facilitate migration. Global Networks 14(4): 401-418.

Ellis BH, Kia-Keating M, Yusuf SA, Lincoln A & Nur A (2007) Ethical research in refugee communities and the use of community participatory methods. Transcultural Psychiatry 44(3): 459-481.

Ewart J (2012) Exploring the unity in Australian community radio. Media International Australia, 142: 123-134.

Forde S, Foxwell K & Meadows M (2002) Creating a community public sphere: Community radio as a cultural resource. Media International Australia 103(1): 56-67.

Forde S, Foxwell K & Meadows M (2009) Developing Dialogues: Indigenous and Ethnic Broadcasting in Australia. Bristol UK: Intellect.

Fozdar F & Hartley L (2013) Civic and ethno belonging among recent refugees to Australia. Journal of Refugee Studies 27(1): 126-144.

Gifford S, Correa-Velez I, & Sampson R (2009) Good Starts for recently arrived youth with refugee backgrounds: Promoting wellbeing in the first three years of settlement in Melbourne, Australia. Melbourne: La Trobe Refugee Research Centre.

Gillespie M, Ampofo L, Cheesman M, Faith B, Iliadou E, Issa A, Osseiran S & Skleparis D (2016) Mapping Refugee Media Journeys: Smartphones and Social Media Networks. Project Report. The Open University/France Médias Monde. Available at: http://www.open.ac.uk/ccig/research/projects/mapping-refugee-media-journeys.

Gow G (2005) Rubbing shoulders in the global city: Refugees, citizenship and multicultural alliances in Fairfield, Sydney. Ethnicities 5: 386-405.

Haggis J & Schech S (2010) Refugees, settlement processes and citizenship making: An Australian case study. National Identities 12(4): 265-379.

Hayes J (2018) Community media and translocalism in Latin America: cultural production at a Mexican community radio station. Media, Culture and Society 40(2): 267-284.

Hudson M, Phillips J, Ray K, & Barnes H (2007) Social cohesion in diverse communities. York, UK: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Klocker N & Dunn K (2003) Who is driving the asylum debate? Newspaper and government representations of asylum seekers. Media International Australia 109(1): 71-92.

Kwong M (2012) Australia's community radio: connecting Asian youths to the homeland and beyond. 3CMedia: Journal of Community, Citizens' and Third Sector Media and Communication 7. Available at: https://www.cbaa.org.au/article/australia's-community-radio-connecting-asian-youths-homeland-and-beyond.

Lewis P (2008) Promoting Social Cohesion: The Role of Community Radio, report prepared for the Council of Europe's Group of Specialists on Media Diversity, Strasbourg: Council of Europe.

Losoncz I (2015) Goals without means: A Mertonian critique of Australia's resettlement policy for South Sudanese refugees. Journal of Refugee Studies 30(1): 47-70.

McCafferty M & Mooney M (2009) Resisting the neoliberal modernisation of public services in contemporary Scotland: The case for public sector workers. In: Davidson N, McCafferty P & Miller D (eds) Neoliberal Scotland: Class and Society in a Stateless Nation. Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 161 - 201.

McKay FH, Thomas SL & Kneebone S (2011) 'It would be okay if they came through the proper channels': Community perceptions and attitudes toward asylum seekers in Australia. Journal of Refugee Studies 25(1): 113-133.

Meadows M & Foxwell-Norton K (2011) Community broadcasting and mental health: the role of local radio and television in enhancing emotional and social well-being. The Radio Journal 9(2): 98-106.

Meadows M, Forde S, Ewart J, & Foxwell K (2007) Community Media Matters: an audience study of the Australian community broadcasting sector. Brisbane: Griffith University.

National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasting Council (2011) Engaging communities: Involving emerging and refugee communities at your radio station. Available at: https://www.nembc.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/NEMBC-Media-Kit-Engaging-Communities.pdf.

Nyers P (2005) Rethinking refugees beyond states of emergency. London: Routledge.

Phillips D (2006) Moving towards integration: The housing of asylum seekers and refugees in Britain. Housing Studies 21(4): 539-553

Pickering BJ (2014) 'Picture me different': Challenging community ideas about women released from prison. Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy 48(3): 270-283.

Ponterotto JG (2006) Brief note on the origins, evolution, and meaning of the qualitative research concept 'thick description'. Qualitative Report 11(3): 538-549.

Riggins S (1992) Ethnic Minority Media: An International Perspective. London: Sage.

Rodriguez C (2001) Fissures in the Mediascape. An International Study Of Citizens' Media. New Jersey: Hampton Press.

Stringer ET (1996) Action Research: A Handbook for Practitioners. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Tucker E (2013) Community radio in political theory and development practice. Journal of Development and Communication Studies 2(2/3): 2305-7432.

Wang T (2013) Big data needs thick data. Ethnography Matters. Available at: http://ethnographymatters.net/blog/2013/05/13/big-data-needs-thick-data/

Yin H (2015) Chinese-language Cyberspace, homeland media and ethnic media: A contested space for being Chinese. New Media & Society 17(4): 556-572.

Zhou M & Cai G (2002) Chinese language media in the United States: immigration and assimilation in American life. Qualitative Sociology 25(3): 419-441.


  • There are currently no refbacks.