The CALD COM story

Moreland is one of Victoria’s most culturally diverse municipalities - almost 50 per cent of residents are born overseas and speak one of 132 different community languages at home. 

We wanted to find the best ways to communicate to people in our linguistically diverse community.

Storyboards: helping people from diverse communities

There are hurdles to communicating with residents in such a diverse setting and over time the solutions had lost their creativity. Many seemed to think that translations were the one and only answer.

Moreland Council offers a translation service to nine of the major language communities which leaves 124 groups in the municipality isolated from information.

Each story is carefully crafted to convey messages that tell people about services, civic life and basically what life is like in Australia.

Development and testing

The first of the storyboard series was launched in May 2009 after three years of trials and testing.

First, Council drew on its multicultural community groups to describe important ideas and themes for people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Using focus groups these themes were then tested, along with different storyboard styles. Each focus group was made up of around 12 participants from one language group, a translator and a Migrant Resource Centre project officer.

The storyboards feature a community of easily identifiable 'local' characters, who have been developed over more than five years and independently road-tested among various Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) groups around Moreland, and beyond.

Research confirms the Storyboards get information through to all residents. Independent testing of Storyboards has been undertaken with multiple language groups.

How the storyboards can be used

CALD COM storyboards being used in a class at Brunswick Neighbourhood House

  • Using Storyboards in local media advertising provides information that can be understood by both English and non-English speakers, as well as people with low literacy skills. Research shows new arrivals seek information from their local newspapers.
  • Placing large-scale storyboards in public places helps people from all backgrounds to understand their rights and responsibilities in our public system. A maternal and child health Storyboard in the waiting room gives new mothers easy-to-understand information about what is available to them and where to go for further assistance.
  • Used as part of other publications, CALDCOM Storyboards explain, in simple terms, what reports and other documents are about. Using cells from a CALDCOM Storyboard translates complex messages and gives people enough information to ask further questions about issues that affect them.As an educational resource, CALDCOM Storyboards are a great resource for neighbourhood houses and community groups. They not only help non-English speakers in community life, but can also be used to teach English, to new learners and English speakers alike!

  • Used independently, CALDCOM Storyboards work as a guide to living in Australia. Each Storyboard provides insight into our way of life, its benefits and rules, plus the rights of individuals.

  • The Storyboards can be copied and given to newly arrived migrants as a welcome reference guide to their new neighbourhoods.

Each CALDCOM Storyboard is intended to provide the individual with information that can start a conversation and lead to further learning and activity.

Awards received

Council won the:

  • Victorian Multicultural Commission Customer Service Excellence in Local Government Award in September 2010 for its CALD COM Handbook, and

  • National Multicultural Marketing Award in the government category in November 2010 for the Responsible gambling, Community health and wellbeing, Dealing with influenza, and  Maternal and child health storyboards.

Moreland City Council's CALD Com Storyboards are covered by copyright.