Paper short abstract:
Based on an ethnographic study, this paper explores the experience of difference and privilege of upper class female Colombian migrants living in Australia. This paper is centered on Teresa's life story. It shows how her class status enables her to navigate her ethnic difference in a positive way.
Paper long abstract:
The demographic of people migrating to Australia has changed. There is an increase in numbers of international students and highly skilled migrants, who replace traditional working class migrants from the post World War II era. This paper is part of my current PhD project. Using an ethnographic methodology I draw on data gathered through life story interviews and participant observation to explore the experience of difference and privilege of upper class female Colombian migrants living in Melbourne, Australia. This paper is based on a single case study, Teresa's life story. It shows how, although regularly confronted with stereotypes about her homeland, she uses her difference as a means to find her voice. The difference Teresa has as a migrant in Australia allows her to step into the role of an artist. Nevertheless, it is her upper class background from her life in Colombia that allows her to position herself in such a way. Her social position enables her to participate in established Anglo-Australian art institutions, rather than being pushed into institutions which represent 'the other' Australia. In this presentation I argue that the experience of 'being different' beside other factors, is heavily influenced by a migrant's class position and the privilege that comes with this class position. Difference, for some, can be played out in a positive way.
ANSA postgraduate panel