The 19th Biennale of Sydney is sponsored by Transfield, a company contracted to run Australian detention centres, which they do on a for-profit basis. Transfield Services Ltd recently announced plans to take on further work at the Manus Island and Nauru detention centres.
This means that profits from mandatory detention fund the Biennale.
Clearly, the most appropriate response to this situation is to boycott the Biennale. While this may feel as though we are giving something up, it is in fact one of the best opportunities we have to make a material impact on the supply chains that permit the detention industry to work.
We are in a particularly strong position here given that our decisions could have the effect of redirecting a significant number of students, income, and kudos away from detention funded cultural events and towards other kinds of experiences and discussions.
Working with colleagues to make this a group decision, and conveying this to the organisers of the Biennale (as letters and/or petitions) would multiply the impact even more.
A strong response this year is the best way to ensure that future Biennale’s are not funded through the enforced misery of others.
UPDATE: Click here for related links and latest developments.