the files

In August 2016 The Guardian published The Nauru Files, leaked incident reports written by staff in Australia’s detention centre on Nauru between 2013 and 2015.

These files detail 2,116 separate incidents, including many cases of assault, sexual abuse, self-harm, child abuse and abhorrent living conditions endured by asylum seekers and refugees in the care of the Australian Government. Despite the harrowing nature of the files, the situation remains and the abuse is ongoing.

We encourage you to read more about the files and view them as originally published by The Guardian here.

the project

In the absence of media access to the island, our objective is to illustrate the Nauru files through creative expression, using art to shed light on all we can’t see.

Our objectives are transparency, empathy, and accountability:

  • To raise awareness about what’s taking place on Nauru and Manus by extension.
  • To humanise and individualise the Nauru case files and the human stories within.
  • To use the power and immediacy of visual language to engage people in reading the files.
  • To offer a testament of support by bearing witness to the suffering taking place.

Whatever your discipline we would love you to illustrate a file.

The final works will all be showcased online here and through social media. Please follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Please join us in this endeavour.

Common terms and acronyms in the files:

NRPC This acronym refers to the Nauru regional processing centre (the detention centre).
SCA Save the Children Australia, contracted by the Australian government to provide welfare services on the island.
IHMS International Health and Medical Services, contracted to provide health services to asylum seekers.
TSA Transfield Services Australia, contracted to manage the Nauru detention centre.
DIBP Department of Immigration and Border Protection, the Australian government department responsible for overseeing the Nauru detention centre.
TIS Translating and Interpreting Service, a part of the immigration department that provides specialist translation services.
CPSW A Save the Children staff member who is a child protection and support worker
CW A Save the Children caseworker.
CM A Save the Children case manager.
CSO Client services officer. This is usually used to describe Wilson Security guards.
POI A person of interest, usually in relation to an allegation about their behaviour.
Whiskey Wilson Security staff who often provide psychological support for detainees.
Romeo Another word used to describe Wilson Security officers stationed around the Nauru detention centre.
Control The “control room” run by Wilson Security. This manages the reporting of incidents back to the Australian government.
OPC1, OPC2, OPC3/RPC1, RPC2, RPC3 Different compounds of the Nauru detention facility.
SAF Single adult female.
SAM Single adult male.
UAM Unaccompanied minor.

This project was initiated by Arielle Gamble and Daniel New.

The initial Sydney exhibition was produced by Arielle Gamble and Daniel New with the support of Georgie Bright, Human Rights Watch Australia, Morna Seres and Heidi Forbes.

The second Melbourne exhibition was produced by Arielle Gamble, with the support of Clare Herschell, Daniel New and Human Rights Law Centre.

The third Adelaide exhibition was funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign.

We respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land we work and meet upon, the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, and we pay our respects to their Elders — past, present and future. We acknowledge the ongoing importance of their beliefs, traditions and relationship with this land, and within Australian culture at large.