In 2011, Renee Pettitt-Schipp collaborated with Fremantle Press to exhibit short forms of poetry written by asylum seeker and Islander students, written on thongs that wash up on Christmas Island’s shores. Launched as part of Fremantle Poetry Week, the thongs attracted a significant amount of media attention as the exhibit coincided with the announcement of the Gillard government’s now failed Malaysia Solution.

Renee will discuss her experiences of working with asylum seekers on Christmas Island as well as share some of the students’ poems about their lives, their journeys to Australia and experiences in detention, inviting the audience to access the shared humanity of a largely silenced population, whose lives continue play out in the shadow of Australian politics.

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