Andrew's winning picture
Andrew Jakubowicz has been awarded the first Nexus Jack Barbalet award for photography and sociology, offered by the Australian Sociology Association. His winning image with accompanying text, portrayed a Melbourne shopfront featuring Australian and Indian messages about food. It was framed by the Indian students racism events in Melbourne and the decline of the international student industry.
"At the height of the Indian students debate in late 2010, I wrote a paper for the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, the Human Rights Commission and Universities Australia on the role of social science research in understanding the human rights issues associated with international students in Australia. The paper was written from a sociological perspective and argued for a strong research base for public policy (clearly lacking in this case). I took the photo in Melbourne while I was there researching the paper. It summarised for me the nuances of the situation, with a rather wonderful dual/triple irony about social change and social relations:
- The location was labelled with "The Bite", described as modern Australian cuisine: here a private college is looking to put "the bite" on international students? And what is "modern Australia cuisine" if not multicultural?
- At street front the former unidentified fast food joint is being replaced by "fast" Indian food - opening just as the Indian student market has begun to collapse - so it's opening fast and closing faster?
The photo was then published in the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia (opens an external site) along with another picture of Federation Square hung with Michel Laurence's images of Indian Australians, part of the "we love Indians" response of the Australian government.