Date of Submission



This research draws from my lived experience as a second generation immigrant of Calabrian exiles and explores the commonalities between older Afghan Hazara women and Calabrians. Working with culturally diverse groups the research examines liminality through the narratives of both cultures and investigates whether the experiences of recent female refugee populations in Australia, reflect those of previous immigrant communities. Applying theories of storytelling and liminality, the research asks, "Can a multidisciplinary arts approach reflect cultural commonalities through the process of becoming other?"

The research observes the process older Hazara Afghan women1 embark upon when negotiating change post war and dislocation. My experiences from a family of Calabrian exiles draws from personal histories of my mother and grandmother as they attempted to find a sense of connection in Australia.

Little is known about the stories within the liminal space, a pivotal point between one’s past life and potential future. Further, the commonalities between two such diametrically different cultures have yet to be investigated. Becoming "other" is an empathic strategy and a methodological approach in my creative led research project to explore the overlaps between these two cultures.

The Hazara’s narratives capture the women’s perspectives and experiences against current Australian public perceptions and politics and these testimonials are juxtaposed against my family’s journey as exiles.

The theoretical discourse adopts storytelling, narrative inquiry, and auto-ethnography located in qualitative traditions. The creative component is a multilayered body of work set against a backdrop of personal and socio-political histories that crosses cultures and generations. The films are documented from live performances developed from a theatre script. The recorded performances have been transferred to video in conjunction with photography and poetry which thread liminality; magic realism; female identity and the immigrant journey to illustrate the impact of war and displacement, while simultaneously demonstrating the agency of the women.


These women are Dari speaking, predominantly Shia people of central Afghanistan, and who have been victims of genocide for hundreds of years.


School of Arts

Document Type


Access Rights

Open Access


257 pages

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Faculty of Education and Arts