Mission Mapping Frictions

Mapping Frictions aims to be a site of encounters—a platform for sharing and listening to stories that would otherwise be unheard.

About Mapping Frictions

Anthropologist Anna Tsing talks about this term ‘Frictions’, and how aspirations for a global connection come to life through the force of encounters.

'Friction' is what occurs when things rub against each other. It can cause eruptions as people in a place push up against one another, jostling for space. Bankstown has commonly been portrayed as a site of friction; as ethnic communities sparking on the fault line, a site of violence and crime. A multicultural community presented by the media as a 'clash of civilisations'. But friction also creates energy—and with it comes new possibilities.

Mapping Frictions is a website dedicated to offering new multimedia content and celebrating untold stories from Western Sydney. Mapping Frictions provides a much needed and timely platform for local voices and the opportunity to re-invent storytelling about Bankstown and beyond. These are the stories from a place in Western Sydney saturated with a vibrant history and one of the most multicultural areas in Australia. Around one in three people in Bankstown were born in a non-English speaking country. These are people with diverse stories to tell. Despite this, the sensationalist tales that have dominated the media headlines have been of high crime rates, violence, and religious extremism. The project seeks to slow down the news cycle and promote a more complex understanding of life in Western Sydney.

We are interested in different forms of storytelling—from articles, animation and documentary to photo essays or audio pieces—and collaboration between the community and artists. Working with a mixture of emerging and award-winning photographers, filmmakers, writers and web developers active within the region, this website aims to open up local stories from Sydney’s western suburbs and make connections across cultural and geographical borders.

The project is currently a pilot website supported by BYDS (Bankstown Youth Development Services) and funded by Australia Council for the Arts. The pilot edition focuses on the stories of Bankstown, with the scope for expanding the project to surrounding suburbs in Greater Western Sydney and beyond.