The Two Chairs with Kate Iselin ( You are welcome in Australia comic )

Dan (Editor of TheTwoChairs) sits with Kate Iselin to chat about her new comic book Pozible campaign.

First off, please introduce yourself and your current project.

My name is Kate Iselin and my project is a Pozible campaign for a comic called “You are welcome in Australia

So This project is a direct counter-response to the Government’s publishing of its own graphic novel, when did you hear about that and what was your first reaction when you saw it?

Well I read about it in The Guardian and I had tears in my eyes by the time I finished reading the comic. I was shocked. I kind of studied it for a few days. I think it’s one of those issues that people are looking for something that they can do. I saw on Twitter that someone suggested we make a nice comic instead? I kind of had a lightbulb moment and realised that was something I could do, so I contacted the person whose idea it was. They told me that they weren’t much of a planning person so I could take over the idea if I wanted. So my friend Thomas Blatchford and I took on the project.

I follow you on twitter and know you to be passionate about a range of topics, what was it about this issue in particular that gave you this reaction and made you want to take on your first Pozible campaign?

Well a lot of the issues that I am passionate about; feminism, equal marriage, these are issues that affect people who already have their most rights. I might get cat-called when I walk down the street but I have a home to go to, I have fresh water, I have food, I have clothes on my back. Comparatively, things aren’t that bad for me. We’re talking about people who have fled war and terror and come to Australia and where they literally have nothing. They are literally living in tents. I think that anyone who is compassionate and cares about human rights knows this is the ultimate issue that is happening in Australia. You can’t get worse than this.

Have you had any contact from refugee assistance organisations like Welcome to Australia regarding this project and what has been their reaction?

Well, Welcome to Australia tweeted us and said they were big fans of what we’re doing which, for me, was like Lady Gaga saying she was a fan of mine. I said “No, no… I’m your fan, you can’t be a fan of me”. So far that’s all the interaction we’ve had from those groups but we do plan on donating copies of our comic to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC).

One of things you mention in the right up of your project is that you’re looking to distribute this comic to refugees as well. Are their plans to use these organisations to make that happen?

Absolutely, we would love to send them boxes and boxes of our comic and say please, give this to everyone who comes in, everyone who you think needs it, everyone you know. We want to send boxes out to refugee action centres, to community centres, anywhere and everywhere we can get them to so so we can put them in the hands of people they’re really directed to.

As well as backers, is there anything else that you still need for this project?

Rewards for Pozible. We’ve had lots and pots of good ones but I always think a good reward is more likely to get people in and people donating. If anyone has any please send them through.

Any final comments or anything that you’d like to include?

Gosh, just a thank you to everyone who has donated so far. The response just has been overwhelming. We’ve had almost a thousand dollars a day donated since we started the Pozible campaign. I haven’t had a Pozible campaign of far but by my estimation it’s pretty big. I think it just goes to show that this issue is close to a lot of people’s hearts, people really want to take an active stance on and really try to get some action done.

Thank you. You can read more about Kate’s project, as well as pledge a donation, at the Pozible site here. If you would like to contact Kate directly her email address is iselin.kate@gmail.com

Update: since speaking to The Two Chairs Kate has now confirmed the illustrations will be done by Calart. His website is here.

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