Welcome Studio - Joel and Kat
Why They're Cool
Joel and Kat are two awesome humans who combined their talent, generosity and motivation to create Welcome Studio. Here at the connection corner, we love to support new and emerging projects and we've been lucky enough to chat to Welcome Studio about all the amazing things they're doing. Their work gives us hope that this world isn't so shitty after all, and there are people out there who really care and want to make a meaningful difference to things that are important to them.
Meet Kat and Joel ...
'Welcome Studio is a social enterprise we’ve started, selling art prints with all profits going to supporting and welcoming people who are refugees in Australia. From the profits made through selling our prints, we run art workshops with refugees and financially support and asylum seeker community centre in Western Sydney.
We both really care about this issue because right now in Australia, people who are seeking safety and peace in our country are being used as a political tool, fuelled by negative and divisive media. Welcome Studio is about using art to welcome people who have come to Australia seeking asylum, by showing them that we care and that we want them as part of our community.
There are a lot of barriers that can make it really hard for someone who’s come here as a refugee to settle into life in Australia i.e. many people aren’t legally allowed to work, making it very difficult to survive financially. Even if money is not a problem, things like language barriers, cultural differences and the psychological effects of trauma can seriously affect someone’s ability to settle into a new home country. We want to provide support to people seeking asylum in Australia, so that they can start their journey rebuilding their new lives in peace and safety.'
On why Welcome Studio was created:
'We created Welcome Studio because we have both believe this is an important issue in Australia, and we think art can make a difference. We wanted Welcome Studio to show that anyone can use their passions and skills, no matter what they are, to make that real and meaningful impact. You can be a musician or a brick layer, a chef or surfer and there’s always a way you can make a difference to society through using what you good at. What we think is cool is that Welcome Studio gives other artists the chance to do so too. We've got five artists on board, and are always looking for more artists and more creative ways to support refugees through art’.
‘Our goal is to support and welcome refugees in Australia. We want them to know that Australians really do care about refugees and that we want them to be part of our community! Since we launched a few months ago, it’s been amazing to see all the support and interest. I feel like people care a lot about this issue but just don’t know how to do anything about it, and it is hard! So we are busy planning lots of creative ways to get more people involved in supporting refugees through Welcome Studio, and building our community to welcome refugees in Australia, so stay tuned!
'One thing is that it's a lot harder setting up a business than we thought. There's so many different things to think about and it never stops. Because we are the ones totally driving this, it’s up to us to determine how big it can be. Knowing this comes a responsibility which can make it hard to find times to take a break sometimes. But we are loving it. It's been so good to work with each other. Having someone do to it with is so great, we really support each other and it makes all the little boring things a lot more fun.'
Connection is such an important part of life and of what we're doing with Welcome Studio, but it’s something we have to work hard for. Never before in history have so many people lived so close together, yet we have seen that this doesn’t lead to our community being closer in anyway. Connection is something we have to create. For us it's about recognising our common humanity, regardless of what background or country you're from, what has happened in your past, what language you speak, whether you've lived in a place all your life or arrived yesterday as a refugee. Connection surpasses all of that.