Joelle Whiting is the co-host of radio program ‘Harmony Hub’ on 99.1 SMART FM – a fortnightly program celebrating the multi-cultural stories of members of the Swan Hill community.
Joelle moved to Australia from Mauritius as an international student in 2000. Living in Melbourne, she met her husband and together they moved to the rural city of Swan Hill in 2006 for work opportunities. ‘I must say in Melbourne, I was connected to my family and culture. Moving to Swan Hill (4 hours from Melbourne), it was quite lonely and I sought other ways to continue to connect to my cultural background’, she explains.
Four years on in Swan Hill, Joelle joined the Swan Hill Harmony Day committee, which sparked new opportunities for her to celebrate her culture as well as the cultures of others.
In 2015, Joelle was engaged as a Local Community Co-ordinator as part of a collaborative project between Multicultural Arts Victoria & SMART FM aimed at giving a voice to underrepresented people in the mainstream media. She was tasked with recruiting young people and other individuals from culturally diverse communities to participate in radio and music workshops. The idea of a multicultural program soon emerged after a few members of the Swan Hill Harmony Day committee joined, and after taking up the training opportunities offered by the project. It was at this point that Joelle and her show co-host, Archana, took the next step in extending their training to develop further ideas. ‘Our vision was to build the community’s cultural awareness through music and local stories’ Joelle explains.
‘Harmony Hub’ is a fortnightly radio program hosted by Joelle and Archana – two women from different countries who met in Swan Hill to start the radio show under the motto, ‘Building Bridges within our community’. Archana and Joelle regularly invite guests from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to join them on their show and share their personal journeys, favourite food, music, joy, challenges. Harmony Hub has become a place of cultural exchange, celebrates identities and belonging.
‘For me the best part of being an assessor is reading about the new programs and listening to pilots and podcasts. So many talented people and great ideas’, shares Joelle. Tune into Harmony Hub fortnightly from 1pm Saturday on 99.1 SMART FM.