Part two: Ellie & “Where are you from” project

Ellie when she won a community radio reward. Source from Ellie

Ellie when she won a community radio reward. Source from Ellie

More on Ellie Freeman

Have you met my friend, Ellie?
Did you read about her yet? it’s actually the first part of the interview. Follow Ellie and her wacky adventures of self-discovery and her trip to South Korea? If you haven’t, I would say you’re missing out Read about Ellie here.


7. Tell us about the multimedia project you are working on?
Where are you From? is a radio program on 4EB but mainly a podcast and online platform sharing stories from multicultural Australians. We feature a variety of people from diverse backgrounds – refugees, migrants, children of migrants and refugees, international students and even adoptees like myself. We’ve talked about people’s journeys to Australia, their life experiences, their families, their communities, ethnic identity, interracial relationships, art, racism and their achievements.

8. What made you start the project, “Where are you from?”
Being an Asian Australian, I am often asked “Where are you from?” As I mentioned earlier, I don’t really mind when someone who looks like they’re from somewhere else themselves ask me. So when those people ask me where I’m from, I ask back. I found I was receiving some interesting stories – and my story seemed to surprise people too! – and I wanted to share them with others. I think we often have stereotypical and shallow views of people who come to Australia from other countries. I want to show that every single one of us have rich life stories, unique viewpoints and experiences. Some people identity strongly with culture from their homeland – some are adamant about saying “I’m of a foreign background, but I am Australian.” I find the diversity of thoughts on this quite interesting.

9. Share with us some of the highlights. 
Gosh, there’s so many. All the refugees who have shared their stories of fleeing scary situations to come to Australia are fascinating, although the stories are so very sad.

I’m very excited by multicultural arts projects like films addressing homosexuality in ethnic communities and young Pacific Islanders adjusting to life in Australia, the theatre production I Am Here created by young African refugees in Brisbane (which led to an interesting conversation about what it’s like trying to get acting work as an African Australian) and, of course, the Two Chairs!

Then there are some very personal stories people have shared with me – like Fijian woman Kalisi’s journey from homelessness in Sydney to winning awards for her work with young Pacific Islanders; Chris, who thought he was Aussie until he discovered he was adopted and met his Roma gypsy family; Australian South Sea Islanders searching for their ancestors on the 150th anniversary of “blackbirding”.

Plus I’ve talked to some prominent figures like Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane and Rachel Jacobs, the Greens candidate for Brisbane. It’s inspiring to see multicultural Australians in those powerful positions.

I’ve learned so many interesting things about different cultures as I’ve talked to more people – and I hope the listeners have too!


10. What next? 
I hope to keep making stories and collaborate with more people and groups as I go along. I feel I’m in the middle of something very exciting. The discussion around multiculturalism in Australia is gaining so much momentum and progression at the moment, largely thanks to social media and our rapidly globalising world. None of this stuff about racism and ethnic identity was ever talked about when I was a kid, so I feel like things are changing. I’d love to partner up with everyone else who has a vision to empower Australia’s multicultural community!

11. Where can we find more ideas about the project?
You can listen to podcasts and see lovely photos of some of our stories on our blog:
I also use social media a lot so follow  @whereRUfrom_AU or like ‘Where are you From?’ on Facebook.

If you want to tell me about your cool project, your story, or collaborate, please email !


Interview my Suzanne Nguyen
Suzanne is always interested in collecting stories, if you’re interested in sharing your story, get it touch via twitter: @stringstory or stringstory(at)gmail(dot)com

One comment

  1. […] And the interview doesn’t end there. See Part Two: More Ellie and her radio project “Where are you […]

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