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Timely exhibition explores the right to shelter

Laura Peppas

After a week that catapulted the rights of refugee children into the spotlight, the latest pop-up exhibition to come to Canberra couldn’t be more timely.

The hands-on exhibition, Pop-Up PLAY UP, will be on display at Floriade this weekend and will allow Canberrans to explore the right to shelter and consider the importance of ‘home’.

Inside the shelter.

Inside the pop-up shelter.

A result of a new partnership between the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House and the IKEA Foundation, the exhibition will be hosted in Australia’s first Better Shelter – a weatherproof temporary shelter used in refugee camps that offers a more dignified home.

Better Shelter is currently in use in Iraq, Ethiopia, Nepal and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Community Learning Coordinator at the museum Nanette Louchart- Fletcher says the exhibition will feature a range of interactive activities to engage families in the rights of the child, including building challenges, reading and activity spaces, and a virtual reality film “Clouds Over Sidra” which takes the viewer through the experience of life in a refugee camp.

“Through Pop-Up PLAY UP, families can explore Better Shelter, take part in hands-on adventures that make what can be a serious topic, into a fun and meaningful experience,” Nanette says.


Head of Strategic Planning and Communications at IKEA Foundation Jonathan Spampinato speaks at the launch.

The shelters, which come in flat-pack cardboard boxes, can be assembled on site without additional tools and have a solar panel and a lamp.

Speaking at the launch today, Head of Strategic Planning and Communications at IKEA Foundation Jonathan Spampinato said the Better Shelter is a great example of how democratic design can create better lives.

“All of us at the IKEA Foundation are excited and honoured to be working with the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House to share with Australians our vision of how together we can create a safer place to call home for refugee children,” he said.

Pop-Up PLAY UP will be on display at Floriade from 11am–3pm daily, Saturday 12 September to Monday 5 October 2015.

The exhibition from which Pop-Up PLAY UP was inspired; PLAY UP—The Right to Shelter will be on display at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House until August 2016. 

Feature image courtesy of the IKEA Foundation, from www.ikeafoundation.org/. Interior of a Better Shelter prototype in Kawergosk Refugee Camp, Erbil, Iraq. 


Laura Peppas

Laura Peppas is HerCanberra's senior journalist and communications manager and is the Editor of Unveiled, HerCanberra's wedding magazine. She is enjoying uncovering all that Canberra has to offer, meeting some intriguing locals and working with a pretty awesome bunch of women. Laura has lived in Canberra for most of her life and when she's not writing fervently she enjoys pursuing her passion for travel, reading, online shopping and chai tea. More about the Author