Refugee Art Project at Thirning Villa

Wednesday 6 October 2021

Inner West Council will rejuvenate its Artists in Residence programs while also ensuring the future of the Refugee Art Project (RAP) at Thirning Villa.

Thirning Villa in Ashfield is one of Council’s Artists in Residence creative spaces. The Refugee Art Project is a non-profit, community arts organisation based at Thirning Villa since June 2018.

“The Refugee Art Project does wonderful work supporting creativity and self-expression of people seeking asylum,” said Inner West Mayor Rochelle Porteous.

“More than 500 artworks have been created by refugees and people seeking asylum under the auspices of RAP. They have organised exhibitions, produces zines and other publications and worked collaboratively with Council and other artists on important projects,” Mayor Porteous said.

“I’m really pleased that last night Council voted to reassure RAP about their immediate future.”

RAP has collaborated regularly with fellow Artists in Residence group New Moon Collective to develop, produce and exhibit at Thirning Villa. These exhibitions and projects successfully engaged local communities and major organisations. Other collaborations include:

I Am Not A Virus with Diversity Arts and #RacismNOTwelcome forum and exhibition (postponed due to Covid)

52 ARTISTS 52 ACTIONS online exhibition, curated by RAP with Artspace Gallery

• Damon Amb’s photography exhibition, Night

Read to Me’s live visual storytelling The politics of representation

• UNSW’s Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law’s podcast storytelling project Temporary

“Our Creative Inner West Cultural Strategy 2021-25 and Action Plan has just completed its community exhibition phase and will be reported to Council soon,” said Mayor Porteous.

“Last night, we asked that this report address how our various Artists in Residence programs (including at Thirning Villa) can be further improved and energised.

“As we exit this pandemic that has been so devastating to the arts community, it’s more important than ever that we use the residencies to highlight and enhance the engagement with our local artists.

“We agreed we’d like to see many more collaborations with schools and the broader community on workshops, exhibitions and education,” Mayor Porteous said.

For media enquiries, contact Elizabeth Heath, Media and Communications Coordinator, 9392 5334 or

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Page last updated: 06 Oct 2021