Flying Higher!

More wonders from our Space2fly program!

With support from the City of Greater Dandenong, our Space2fly program has created opportunities for two of our trainees.

Sharifeh and Chaw have been supported by Space2b to become mentors with their own groups of women. Working with our skilled mentor Tracey van Ingen of Shortlist clothing, they started as trainees themselves and have enthusiastically developed their product making skills to mentor others.

Sharifeh, Tracey and Chaw in a mentoring session. 

Starting in our program with basic sewing skills, Sharifeh has now developed her skills in pattern making. This has created new opportunities for her and her dream to create her own tailored made clothing business.

Here is Sharifeh fitting a bespoke garment for one of our local community retail customers with the guidance of her mentor Tracey of Shortlist. 

Creating popular denim dungarees for sale in our Space2b retail store! 

Tracey and Sharifeh appearing in the local community Divercity Magazine talking up our Space2fly program and their great creative partnership! Check out the story here: Divercity

Sharifeh mentoring refugees of the StandUp Women’s Group in sewing skills has boosted her confidence. 

Starting out learning sewing and developing her own brand here at Space2b retail outlet, Chaw now mentors other women. She trains women from the Burmese Community located in Dandenong, sharing her passion for sewing. Check out her interview in the Star Journal.

“It is very exciting to see how the trainees learn. When I teach or have shown a new technique, I am so excited and happy when someone learns something properly. I feel confident in my skills when I became a mentor. So I thank Space2b and my mentors Janine and Tracey who have supported my dream. This has been my dream since I came to Australia from Myanmar. ” Chaw Po

Chaw carefully labelling hand made children’s clothing for Space2b.

Chaw showing her trainee Lai Lai how to merchandise in our retail store.

Chaw stands by her trainees making sure they know what they are doing and helping them develop their skills.

Chaw helping LaiLai understand a new pattern by our volunteer skills mentor Cathy.

Chaw helping Pah Lae knit her toy koala and Chaw with her handmade cotton baskets sold at Space2b.

What a wonderful creative and fulfilling year of our Space2fly program! We are looking forward to our program creating more opportunities for our program participants as we fly into the future!

by Maria Minerva, Space2fly Coordinator


Thank you to all our funders, mentors, volunteers, people who donated materials and have supported us here at Space2b to run our programs as together we make a difference!



We Are Flying!

A creative space to fly in…Space2fly 2018!

Hi, I’m Maria the Space2fly Coordinator! Space2fly is a creative mentoring and training program, one of the core programs of Space2b Social Design. I have worked on the Space2fly program since February this year. That’s me in the middle of the group!

Space2fly is our personalised mentor and training program in design and business development for newly arrived migrants and refugees to become small business owners.  Developed with and for newly arrived creatives, the program is a platform to form connections, get real life work experience and work side-by-side with established designers. We are proudly funded by the City of Port Philip, the City of Greater Dandenong and local community support.

Local community member volunteer Cathy mentoring Lai Lai in making children’s beanies and Chaw working with Pah Lae working on toy koalas. 

Maleeha our skilled mentor is teaching Ayesha how to make our popular beeswax wraps.

Clare, our skilled mentor, is talking product development with trainees in our retail store.

Two of our trainees have been trained to become trainers within their communities. Chaw mentors and trains women in Dandenong. The women have developed their skills in sewing, crochet, embroidery. Chaw sells her own range of quality children’s wear in our retail store and one of Chaw’s sewing trainees Yimon now makes bags and cute designer pencil cases for Space2b.

Lai Lai happily working on making her first beanie.

Sharifeh is mentored in sewing and pattern making by successful business owner Tracey of Shortlist who is one of our retail stockists.

Here she is working on our popular denim dungarees sold in the Space2b store.

Sharifeh, now a mentor herself,  training refugee Sudanese women of the Stand Up community in basic sewing skills. StandUp Women’s Group assist refugees to become confident and competent in a range of artistic skills.

Clare, one of our volunteer jewellery mentors, worked closely with Ayaka from Japan, helping her develop her Hanabi-ya brand for the Australian retail market.

Ayaka creating a repurposed fabric flower broach using the traditional Japanese technique of Tsumami-Zaiku.

Ayaka modelling her statement piece showcased at our fashion runway event during our Laneways Festival!

Ayaka’s first jewellery making workshop was a hit at Space2b with Clare’s guidance and assistance. 

Each trainer is also supported to get advice on products, design and material sourcing.

Maleeha teaching a workshop to our trainees on market research and product development.

Throughout the last few months our program participants have been given the space to fly in their personal and professional development. This would not be possible without our incredible mentors and our local community volunteers and supporters of Space2b!

by Maria Minerva, Space2fly Coordinator


Thank you to all our mentors, volunteers, people who donated materials and have supported us here at Space2b to run our programs as together we make a difference!



Spring has Sprung and we are getting Ready to Fly!

With the start of a new season upon us and one that represents new growth and fresh ideas, we are excited about the possibilities that everyone is working with and the products that are being created.

It’s been a supportive and nourishing time for the team and the group is feeling stronger and working beautifully together day-by-day. There’s a steady rhythm we’re working too; a pattern of events, but we are also trying to remember to stop, reflect and see how far these women have come and embrace that journey with them.
Tenzins smiles would light up any room!
With Christmas drawing closer the trainees have been working on special ‘one-off’ products  which will be ready to go on sale at our end of project Christmas Market being held at Heritage Hill Dandenong in December.
Keep an eye out for our market date and I will keep you updated on this nearer the time.
Sharifeh and her beautiful mother sharing ideas
In the meantime we have been selling some of the finished pieces of work at Salon Brown in St Kilda, who are a wonderful supporter of the Project and Space2b. We have also been looking for a permanent retail outlet for Space2b, where we will be selling everyone’s creations soon and where we will continue to support them with this process.
So watch this space! Lots happening..Happy Spring to you, from all at Ready to Fly.
Chaw happily cutting out a children’s dress pattern at Heritage Hill

Workshop Time at Twich

What a busy few weeks for the Ready to Fly Programme and now both the trainees and mentors are in full flow! It has been incredible to watch and be part of everyone’s creative and personal journeys. Seeing how individuals are progressing, reflecting on the first few weeks and realising that we are now half way through the project.


All trainees are working on creating a series of products; to achieve this they are trialling initial samples, learning about a whole range of areas including different material types and restrictions, sizing and costing. Students are predominately working with Australian made materials where possible.



Tenzin with her Bendigo Woollen Booties

Each week feels incredibly special and rewarding, it’s as if we are creating a ‘creative community’ together; supporting one another, encouraging each other to share ideas, resources and knowledge freely. Everyday brings exciting new developments and we’re able to see this through one-to-one mentoring and group discussions.

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Alongside our sessions at Heritage Hill, we also coordinate off-site workshops with independent designers and instructors.

This week some of the students got the opportunity to learn the basics of pattern grading with the talented Costume Designer and Maker Alison Yiu.

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Sharifeh and Chaw hard at work…

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Alison and Abuk

We try to create workshops to suit individuals’ needs; this particular one is perfect for the fashion designers and makers within the group.

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We were lucky enough to be able to hold this particular short course at one of our trainees workshops in Springvale. Abuk Bol runs a fashion retail space which combines the designing, making and sales all under one roof.

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The sewing school is called Twich Women’s Sewing Collective and teaches the Certificate Level 3 in Clothing and Production as part of RMIT University.

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It was a fantastic day and enjoyed by all.

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Thanks goes to Alison for leading such a great workshop and to Abuk for allowing us to use her shop space.

More project updates coming soon…


Meet the Mentors

There are some very special people involved in this programme and this week I would like to introduce one of them.

Please meet our Fashion and Design Mentor Tracey van Ingen


Tracey grew up in Geelong, went to Sacred Heart College from prep to Year 12 and then moved to Melbourne where she studied at Melbourne University to become a high school teacher in the areas of Art, Graphics and Textiles. After teaching for 6 years she realised that her true passion was fashion and commenced further studies in this area. She went on to work in the fashion industry for 25 years as a senior designer for labels including The Clothing Company, Resort Report and Metalicus.


When her role at Metalicus was made redundant she became more aware of what she really wanted to do with her career.  Her family circumstances changed and she was no longer able to put in the long hours and travel that was required for similar roles. She also found herself becoming quite disillusioned with the corporate world of the fashion industry where she felt that skill set and experience were no longer valued. Tracey soon realised that if she wanted to continue working in fashion she had to create an opportunity for herself. Therefore Tracey decided to focus on contract design work as well some casual relief teaching. It gave her the flexible working arrangements she needed and allowed her  to focus on creating, Shortlist, her own line of clothing, accessories and jewellery.

In March of 2015 Tracey launched her own online store ( and in October 2015 she opened a retail shop in Geelong West.

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Tracey has a vast amount of experience and knowledge in the world of fashion and design and is an asset to the programme and our trainees. Its lovely having her onboard! Thank you Tracey for being a part of the ‘Ready to Fly’ project.


More news to follow shortly…

Heritage Hill – A Story to Tell

Well..what a great few weeks it’s been for the Ready To Fly project. The trainee’s are into their seventh session, sampling is well under way and progress is evident.

With plenty of direction, advice and laughter on hand to keep everyone going, there’s certainly a feeling of routine and community within the group and part of this is also due to the venue; it’s beginning to feel like a second home to some of us.

13389192_10153520390766176_1014720612_oTenzin and Saffron working with Bendigo Mill Yarns

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Knitted and crochet work

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Chaw’s steady hand with pattern cutting

We are extremely grateful to have the support of the Heritage Hill Museum and in particular their ever friendly and always helpful Community Programs Officer Bridget Flood. Dating back to 1869, it is a beautiful space to work in.

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Our beautiful workspace

With historic gardens, a vegetable plot, trees that are currently fruiting with juicy oranges and lemons and resident artists’ that are painting in the surrounds, its couldn’t be more perfect for us.

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The vegetable garden

I often think that when we’re there it’s as if we are stepping back in time. It’s our own serene place where we can escape from the hustle and bustle of the City of Dandenong, feel at ease with one another and comfortable to create.

As the programme develops I must take the time and opportunity to send thanks to the site team and to Bridget and her colleagues for allowing us to be a part of Heritage Hill’s story and use this secret gem in Centre Dandenong.


More updates to follow…watch this space!

For more information on Heritage Hill please click here:


Ready To Fly – Mentoring program in Dandenong

Our Ready to Fly program is all systems go!

We are now into our second month of the course and are already achieving some incredible things.
Working with ten creatively talented women from mixed backgrounds and an experienced selection of designers; we are working side-by- side developing ideas, sharing knowledge and forming some wonderful relationships.

The diversity of all of our trainees is outstanding, coming from all walks of life, sharing the enjoyment of creativity and working towards a range of products to eventually sell to the Australian market.

Meet the Team

Meet the Team

We are a ‘creative community’, learning and sharing ideas and conversing in a whole range of languages.

The workshops take place in the perfect surrounding of Heritage Hill in Dandenong. They have kindly donated a space for us to meet and a beautiful garden to sit and drink tea in together (which of course is very important to the program).
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   Beautiful Heritage Hill, Dandenong

So far, we have collectively looked at researching, investigating and understanding design and the Australian consumer. Trainees are in the stages of designing and developing initial product ideas and sourcing of materials. It’s an exciting time and one that we are all embracing and learning from on a daily basis.


Group discussions


One-to-one support


Thanks go to the City of Dandenong for their funding and to AMES Australia and the Southern Migrant and Refugee Centre for their support.

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Crochet with one of our Mentors Saffron

More updates to follow as the program progresses….

Welcome to The Ready to Fly Project

Welcome to the ‘Ready to Fly’ online blog!

My name is Lucy Worsley and I am the project Coordinator for the Space2b mentoring programme ‘Ready to Fly’. I originally became involved with Space2b over two years ago, through volunteering and running workshops. I am a qualified teacher, project coordinator, artist and all round creative enthusiast.


When I was approached to help to coordinate and mentor for this project I knew I had to be involved; helping to form connections, motivate and build others’ confidences  and share any knowledge I have.


My aim through this blog is to keep you all updated with our progress and up and coming news; I’ll share as much as I can including photos, experiences and real life stories. It’s going to be a real journey…I hope you’ll come along for the ride.

A little bit of background information…

This project has been set up as a personal mentoring and training programme to support and develop design and business skills for newly arrived migrants and refugees. Through Space2b we aim to create a platform for creatives to develop products, gain real life work experience and work side-by-side with established designers.

Five experienced mentors will work with ten women, across numerous disciplines  including design, production, research and marketing.


We believe that this is going to be an exciting project for all involved, but more importantly for those women who have taken this brave first step to trying something new and to learning it all in a second language. We can’t wait to share this journey with you.