Community is a warm word, a comfy word: we all want to belong to something larger. But community does not exist without exclusion: how else would we know whether we’re on the outside, or on the outside? This warm and safe place, community, is a place of obligations: to behave well, to act right, to lie for your mates, and to see no evil; to not recognise harm even when it is done to you, because it’s done by one of us, and we must stand together. And not everyone gets a good deal on the inside. It is from within that Audre Lorde wrote: “If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” It is from within that Virginia Woolfe wanted a room of her own.

In the fifth, upcoming season of Audiostage, we will ask what it means to want to belong; what it means to be let in, and not let in. We ask about being made an outsider even when we want to be insiders, and about the choices we make in order to step out of places we were never let into. We began recording in the week in which the Australian Government has started to weaken Section 18c, the part of the Racial Discrimination Act that makes it an offense to use racial or ethnic slurs. We recorded from a country in which so many of us are constantly reminded that we, perhaps, do not belong here.

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