Time to hear from young South-Asians

The demography of Australia particularly Sydney is changing faster than ever. With Parramatta becoming the second great city, it is about time we hear from the younger Australians with a South Asian background as to how they feel about themselves i.e. their identity, parenting, profession, politics and contribution to the society. Each panelist will be given about 7 minutes to speak and introduce themselves before the forum goes to the audience for Q & A. The forum will be conducted by a mediator who will ensure a smooth flow of discussion.

Azal_KhanAzal is a first generation Pakistani who has grown up in Sydney. She studied law and journalism at UTS and recently finished an MBA in entrepreneurship. She is a writer and journalist and has worked at various publications including News Corp at the Daily Telegraph. She is now spending time working on her own ethical fashion business, Kan & Khan. Azal has always been passionate about art and design and she has channeled her passion for sustainability and artisan empowerment into her fashion label. She is also an Indian classical dancer and completed her Bharatnatyam graduation in 2016.


Bali is an actor, producer, director and diversity advisor for Australia’s theatre and screen industry consulting on story development and the engagement of members of diverse communities in Australian productions with Producers, Directors, and Casting Directors in Australia.

Bali PaddaInternational stage performing credits include​ Festa!​, a British-Brazilian co-production​ staged at ​London’s Young Vic Theatre, followed by a critically acclaimed season of STOMP’s Lost & Found Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall, London.​ Australian credits include The Big Funk (TAP Gallery), Babies Proms: Bollywood Baby, Oneness: Voice Without Form​ ​(Sydney Opera House), Singled Out (Seymour Centre), The Lunch Hour (Darlinghurst Theatre with Siren Theatre Co) and In the Space Between (Cleveland St Theatre). On the screen, Bali played the lead role in the award-winning short Letters Home, as well as featuring in roles in​ Rake, Home & Away,​ Top of the Lake: China Girl, UnINDIAN,​ and​ Legally Brown.​ You’ve probably seen him in a few commercials too.​

Theatre producing credits include In The Space Between​ (Cleveland St Theatre – Mardi Gras 2011), Sunderella​ (PACT – Mardi Gras 2017), Lighten Up​ (Griffin Independent 2016), as well as Hats Off! in 2015 and 2016 (Seymour Centre – Mardi Gras). Sunderella also marked his directorial debut. Bali is currently transferring these skills into film and television as a Development Executive and Producer for film and TV.


Ishani DasIshani grew up in Sydney, the daughter of an avid photographer and classically trained Odissi dancer. Ishani is a lawyer by trade and lead singer and keyboardist of a little band known as Greg’s Intervention by night. When she’s not performing or fighting for justice, Ishani has established a young writer’s group, is a published author, facilitates a poetry circle for culturally and linguistically diverse women, and is passionate about young people of South Asian descent expressing themselves through the arts.


KershKersherka was Born and raised in Melbourne by Sri Lankan parents. She has kept close ties to her ancestral background through her large family, most of whom reside in Australia, through the last two decades of learning and teaching Indian Classical Dance (Bharathanyam) and through cooking and eating deliciously spicy Sri Lankan food. Conversely, working for Woolworths, one of Australia’s largest retailers as a user experience designer and data analyst, Kersh stays well connected to the Australian people and culture, thinking about how to make retail experience with the Fresh Food People, a happy one. Every day Kersh analyses to see what an amazingly diverse and rich culture Australia has, drawing on the best parts of all different countries, cuisines, languages and art to create a warm and accepting place for it all to live.


OsmanOsman is the News and Politics editor at Junkee Media. He also hosts FBi Radio’s news and current affairs program Backchat. Prior to that he co-founded a digital research start-up. He’s worked in federal parliament as a political advisor and has written for The Guardian, GQ, Fairfax, The Australian and the ABC. He’s a regular commentator on ABC TV and radio, Sky News and SBS on politics and current affairs.


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