The island of Equanimity

I’m wishing I was there at the moment.  Mr Rosanna and I have had a lot of change over the past year with jobs, juggling work and family life and a new transition again in the past month with him starting a new job after many years in his old one.  He was lucky enough to have time at home with our children last year – an opportunity not all Dads get – as well as the chance to step back and work out where to from here.  I think it’s something women get to do if they have children and I’ve seen many of my peers see life very differently after having children and contemplate whether they return to their old job (if they can) or try something completely new and different.  Necessity is the mother of all invention.IMG_5597

When change is thrust upon you, it can come as a shock and I’m reeling from changes in my workplace this week.  I’ve known change was coming but the nature of it has still been a surprise and it’s taken a little while for my emotions to catch up.  We are all human and it’s hard not to take things personally as much as I know that it’s only my ego that’s hurting at the moment!  The ability to remain calm and composed is a real skill and considered one of the sublime states of Buddhism, which teaches you to take a step back, hold your emotions in your arms and rock them like a baby so that you can maintain equilibrium – easy to know in theory but much harder to practise in reality…It’s also the end of term and I’m grateful that Easter is coming up soon.IMG_5619

It’s got cold and wet, particularly further up north, and daylight savings comes to an end this weekend, which always makes me feel a bit mellow although I have ‘winter’ friends who love being able to dress up in layers once the weather turns.  The Heide Makers Market is on tomorrow (April Fool’s Day!) and if you haven’t been, this will be the last one for the season.  My friend, ceramic artist Lene Kuhl Jakobsen has had a stall there selling these gorgeous hand made plant pots – this one is now adorning my desk at work and it makes me happy to see it there every day when I come into the office.

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Given my current feeling, the aptly named Turbulence exhibition has opened at Hatch Contemporary Arts Space in Ivanhoe and is a response to global climate change and environmental sustainability.  It features work by Banyule-based artists from the Textile Art Community, sound artist Alice Bennett and environmental artist Felicity Gordon.

Have a wonderful weekend – I’m hoping to find my inner calm over the next few days.


Let the festivals begin

While the cooler weather may put a dampener on things – the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival all start in the next week.  A couple of my work colleagues take improvisation or ‘improv’ classes on a regular basis and I’m looking forward to seeing one of them in action at the Comedy Festival.

Immerse Your Senses image via Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show

There are also a number of Melbourne Food and Wine Festival events that all sound interesting including the Coburg Food Race and Sagra al Veneto (at Bulleen’s Veneto Club turning 50 this year) starting this Friday 31 March while the Master Hellenic Cooking (Hellenic Republic Kew), High Tea at the State Library and A Day At The Club (Merricote pops up at Thornbury Bowls with 70s menu classics) events taking place on 1 and 2 April also sound great.

Image via Ticketek

There’s also a related La Trobe 50th Anniversary event The culinary journey of Greek Australians dinner taking place at Elryos in Camberwell on Monday 3 April, featuring Dr Catherine Itsiopoulos, Head of School of Allied Health and author of The Mediterranean Diet cookbook who will also be speaking at one of my Bold Thinking Series scheduled later this year.  If I wasn’t going out this weekend I would have booked into this one!

I’ll be back with more later this week.  Stay dry…

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Image via Booktopia

The future of work

This is the title of my next Bold Thinking Series lecture and I’ve assembled an interesting panel of futurist, businessman, youth advocate and digital disrupter for Thursday 6 April at the State Library which will consider amongst other things, the jobs that will disappear in the next 20 years and the jobs of the future, the rise of robotics and Artificial Intelligence and what digitalisation and automation mean for us in middle class professional jobs or the service industry.  I’m thinking that perhaps I should have studied psychology instead of public relations!

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But having said that I think I’m a natural communicator and I will be holding a couple of workshops at the Leading Now 2017 leadership summit taking place at Mantra on Salt by the beach in Kingscliff, NSW from 7 – 9 May.  There will be some impressive keynote speakers including Dr Louise Mahler and Dr Jason Fox and I’m grateful to have been invited to be part of this event by my former Telstra colleague Tiffany Gray.  If you are interested in attending, there is actually an early bird discount if you book before Friday 31 March and even better, you’ll get an extra 15% discount if you use the code: Christina in the promotion code box when checking out – it would be lovely to see some familiar faces there from this part of the world if you can manage it.

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I’m also pleased to say that Valentina Maxwell-Tansley, Ella Hinkley and I were successful in our funding application to Darebin Council on behalf of the Bundoora Homestead Art Centre with Council unanimously agreeing to increase investment in the centre along with expanding funding over the next three years in line with our recommendations.  Instrumental to this has been the work of the previous Board, current Homestead staff as well as Vicky Guglielmo from Creative Culture at Council.  I am looking forward to introducing the new La Trobe Art Institute team to my friends at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre in the next few weeks.

Image via Facebook

Speaking of Darebin, the Darebin Community and Kite Festival is on this weekend, as well as the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix for any petrol heads out there.  I’m planning on taking it easy after a very busy past few weeks.  I was out with some work colleagues last night for a casual dinner at Indian restaurant Horn Please (near the Moroccan Soup Bar) which was a great night out – the samosas, dahl and cauliflower starter dish are highly recommended.  Needless to say, I forced myself to go to training at Cinch PT this morning in Macleod and Nikki and the girls at training recommended reading Tools of Titans which looks at the tactics, routines and habits of billionaires, icons and world-class performers and what commonalities there are between them in terms of concrete and actionable goals, as opposed to abstract dreams.  Have a great weekend!

Image via Horn Please

Sweeping plains

My weeks seem to be flying by at the moment.  I was in Bendigo last week for my Bold Thinking Series lecture at the beautiful Capital Theatre, which went well although you see different things when you visit a place for the second time – there is a darker element to Bendigo and nearby Heathcote and an underclass of people from a lower socio-economic background who live there.  No-one wins when there is such a marked disparity in our society but I will leave that for another time.

Capital Theatre – front
L-R: Rob Hunt, Tasneem Chopra, MC Francis Leach, Dr Julie Rudner, Margot Spalding and VC John Dewar

I stayed at boutique hotel The Schaller Studio, which was gorgeous – I’ve recently come across The Larwill Studio at the Royal Children’s Hospital and both of these Art Series Hotels have a great look and feel to them.  The rooms are small at the Schaller Studio and it’s not suitable for families but if you’re a business traveller – it’s a perfect place to stay and I had breakfast and lunch the following day at the in-house cafe The Pantry.

Above & below: The Schaller Studio hotel room and balcony view


I also met a friend, who happened to be in Bendigo for work, for coffee at the Bendigo Art Gallery cafe which looks out onto Rosalind Park and I had been lucky enough to have had dinner in the Sculpture Annexe next door the night before with La Trobe University’s Vice Chancellor John Dewar and VIP guests.

Mr Rosanna and the kids came up on Friday night for the weekend and we had a great time as a family visiting some of the places we hadn’t been to on our previous stay in Bendigo a couple of years ago.  We spent a lazy Saturday morning having brunch at El Gordo in Chancery Lane and I had a chance to shop at Robe next door, which stocks some beautiful Australian and overseas designer brands.  We discovered cut-price barbershop Royal Jims which had a line of men and boys waiting to get their $15 hair cut so my two sons ended up joining the queue for the walk-in service.

We also visited the Golden Dragon Museum, which had extra special meaning for me as many of the Chinese diaspora came to Australia in the gold rush era, including those from my family’s area Sze Yup (‘Four Counties’) in Guandong province.  It was a great way to spend a hot afternoon in the relative cool and quiet of the museum.  We had a late lunch in the teahouse cafe there as well as spent time in the adjoining gardens and temple.  I would have loved to have visited the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion in Eaglehawk or the amazing looking historic house Fortuna Villa, if we’d had more time.

We tried for a last minute booking at The Woodhouse but couldn’t get a table so ended up having a gastro pub meal at The Old Boundary Hotel that night for dinner, which was lovely.  We love a good pub meal at the best of times and drove past the popular Toorborac Hotel & Brewery, which was surrounded by a sea of cars, on the way home via Heathcote, which is the more picturesque way to go.

We’d never been to Heathcote before and grabbed a quick lunch at the Heathcote Wine Hub which has a lovely outdoor dog-friendly courtyard at the back.  Mr R ducked across the road to stock up on shiraz at Heathcote Estate while we both enjoyed wandering through the antiques and homewares stores with adjoining cafes on the main road.

All too soon we were back in Melbourne and back to school and work.  I’ll be back with more on what I’ve been up to, including some events you can book into if interested, later this week.

King of the mountain

Art Deco house Bukit Raja is one again for sale in East Ivanhoe for any of you lucky enough to have deep pockets.  Mr Rosanna and I had a look pre-renovation over five years ago and I’m glad the owners have done a fairly simple and subtle update keeping all the period features intact and enhancing what was already there.

Bukit Raja image via Real Estate View

Speaking of architecture, there is an Archi Tour at co-housing estate Murundakah in Heidelberg Heights on Friday.  I work with a number of people in their twenties and there’s a lot of discussion at work about the lack of housing affordability for young people.  I do wonder whether we need to re-think housing in Australia and perhaps try more innovative solutions such as this.

Image via Cultural Diversity Week

It is Cultural Diversity Week next week and there will be a free Multicultural Music Festival & Market on Tuesday 21 March in Bell Street Mall from 11 am – 2 pm.  Before that of course, is the annual Twilight Sounds free music event this coming Saturday featuring headline act Ella Hooper, which will be followed the next day by the Kids ArtyFarty Fest.  We did make it down to the Festival fairly late in the afternoon last year, which was a nicer time to go given the crowds had dissipated.

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Alphington Primary is holding its school fair on Saturday while on Sunday, you might like to try the Melbourne Tomato Festival at All Nations Park in Northcote, Wild About Melbourne Makers Market in Thornbury or catch some live music at the Kingsbury Bowls Club.  There’s definitely lots happening around the place!  Have a great week.

Image via Banyule Council

Moving and shaking

The past 10 days seem to have gone by in a flash!  Events season is well and truly upon us as well as this Indian summer that we seem to be having.  La Trobe University turned 5o on Wednesday, which was also International Women’s Day, and I was lucky enough to spend my night at the Hyllus Maris Memorial Lecture which was largely an all-female event save for Isaiah Firebrace’s performance at the end.  Indigenous writer Dr Anita Heiss gave the keynote address on Education being the key to a better life, and was also very funny – she could have been a comedian as well referring to VIPs in the audience as ‘very Indigenous people’!  For me, the highlight was the Indigenous Academic procession into the Union Theatre heralded by a lone didgeridoo player, I had tears in my eyes both when the academics in full gowns entered and when they left – the significance of such an achievement as one of the most marginalised and disadvantaged people in this country, was incredibly moving.

Dr Anita Heiss image via

I spent last Monday night with my fellow Bundoora Homestead Art Centre Board member and Chair Valentina Maxwell-Tansley presenting to Darebin Council at Preston Town Hall in the hope that they may increase funding at the Homestead.  Council has a difficult job in determining how monies get allocated across the community but Darebin itself is a very creative municipality which values the social, cultural and economic contribution a visual arts asset such as the Homestead makes so I was very grateful to have been given air time to state our case.  Stay tuned for the result.

Nathaniel Andrew & Isaiah Firebrace image via La Trobe University Twitter

Valentina has also been run off her own feet organising A Weekend in the Gardens event at the Botanic Gardens which kicks off from 4 pm today with John Farnham, Boy & Bear and Icehouse playing at three different concerts.  She’s been working with the same group of people who run the A Day on the Green winery concerts and there will be thousands attending each of the concerts for the first time at the Gardens this weekend.

A Weekend in the Gardens image via Ticketmaster

The Melbourne Moomba Festival 2017 starts today and it’s a beautiful weekend to be in the city if you’re staying in Melbourne this Labour Day weekend.  Closer to home, the Heide Makers Market is also on tomorrow and if I didn’t have other things to do, I’d be attending this one.  Have a great long weekend and I’ll be back soon as there are stacks of events being held locally over the next couple of weeks as well as the launch of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.