It’s been a long time between drinks for me. Work’s been busy but so has my social life and that’s the thing about summer and autumn – the weather makes it much more conducive to catching up with friends and family, which is what I’ve been busy doing until the months get colder.
I used to do boot camp before switching to training at Cinch PT in Macleod and for those who’ve done it – it’s pretty full on. While I miss the boxing and being outdoors, I don’t miss doing endless rounds of burpees and squats! I attended boot camp of a different kind last weekend – a one day digital marketing bootcamp course at General Assembly in the city. If you’re interested in skilling up in coding, design or digital marketing – they run some great short courses and as someone who works at a University, these micro-credential courses are on the rise.
A nice value add was the communal lunch and afternoon popcorn in the kitchen that’s included in the price of the course, which allowed us to get to know our fellow course members socially as many of us had come solo. It was also nice not to be the oldest person in the room! Being the small world that it is, I bumped into a course member who had attended one of my Bold Thinking Series lectures as she was ex-SBS radio and part of the media contingent at the Kevin Rudd event last year. Melbourne is like that in many ways, six degrees and less…
It was a lot to take in, in one day but highly worthwhile and recommended if you have the time and money – my course was part of my professional development and a work expense paid for by La Trobe. Speaking of which, my first lecture on Disability at State Library Experimedia on Wednesday 28 March is now online if you’re from the sector or interested in the subject. It was also inspiring to meet La Trobe’s female equivalent of Dylan Alcott in Paralympian Lisa Chaffey – a champion basketball player and occupational therapist who is on the panel. Details will shortly be up for my food lecture and I’ll share that with you soon as I’m anticipating that it may be one of the bigger events I do this first half year, particularly given the interest in food in Melbourne and calibre of people on my panel.
I caught the bus from Macleod station to Clifton Hill last weekend where I then caught the train to the city to my course. This whole part of Melbourne seems to feel like a construction zone at the moment and I know it’s pretty hellish out there if you’re commuting by car to the city (or anywhere else for that matter!). I hope what it does mean is jobs for those who work in the building industry and better infrastructure for all of us in the long term.
Spring has sprung and there seems to be so many upcoming events – I can’t quite keep up! The Darebin Music Feast started yesterday and lucky people in the area have so much choice close to home. I sit next to a work colleague who is also a drummer in a band and was lamenting the fact that it’s been ages since I’ve been to a gig. However, that will change next month because La Trobe University is holding soundvision – an outdoor art and live music event to close off our 50th Anniversary Year on Saturday 18 November. There’s some great bands in the lineup including Bombay Royale, Emma Donovan and the Putbacks as well as the Raah Project featuring the Australian Youth Orchestra Ensemble. All the action will take place on the Academic Lawn overlooking the Moat (yes we have a moat and a wildlife sanctuary at La Trobe). My media and communications, Events and 50th Anniversary Office colleagues are all involved in the organisation of this event, to which we’ve already bought tickets as a family!
While I was away, my Bold Thinking Series team ably held the Social Cohesion in the Goulburn Valley lecture in Shepparton and both La Trobe alumnus and Asylum Seeker Resource Centre CEO Kon Karapanagiotidis and Indigenous academic Dr Julie Andrews in particular were impressive speakers. Interesting if you get a chance to watch on the livestream, Julie’s comments in relation to Australia Day celebrations and the stolen generation.
The previously sold out lecture with Kevin Rudd has been moved to a larger space at The Sofitel so there are currently some tickets still available if you’re interested in China and its relationship with Australia. Details are also online regarding my final lecture of the year on the future of Universities featuring the three Vice-Chancellors from Melbourne, La Trobe and Monash, which will be facilitated by La Trobe alumna Virginia Trioli. The way we study at University now is rapidly changing with a move to short courses and online, and people choosing to do select subjects often with an industry focus – it’s a brave new world and I think will make for a fascinating topic if you’re interested in the sector or have children.
It’s the story of the La Trobe Three – Brian Pola, Fergus Robinson and Barry York – three young student activists who were jailed indefinitely for disobeying a University order to stay off campus almost 45 years ago and my next Bold Thinking Series lecture brings all three together for the first time to talk about their story – what happened then and what has happened since. Tickets are almost sold out but if you’re interested in coming along to the State Library Theatrette on Thursday 24 August, you can still purchase these on Eventbrite.
I’ve spoken to all three men and the gravity of what they went through has stayed with me and I have no doubt that their time in prison as young men has left an indelible impact on their lives – I’m very much looking forward to hearing them speak. The lecture will be facilitated as usual by MC Francis Leach but La Trobe historian Professor Katie Holmes will also be on the panel to provide some wider context about that period of time in the early 1970s.
I’ve been interested reading Michael Kirby’s remarks in the news this week about the same sex postal vote and it was an honour to meet the great man in May – it’s been a humbling experience to work on the whole Bold Thinking lecture series and witness some real change taking place in the community as a result of a staging an open discussion with both sides having a chance to voice their opinion and further action being taken post-event, as was the case in Bendigo (multiculturalism) earlier this year.
My lecture next month in Shepparton will be along similar lines to Bendigo while the October lecture will see me working with another former Australian Prime Minister…I will reveal details soon but may also need to catch my breath at some stage. Winter’s almost over and I’ve started seeing blossom on the trees and a blaze of bright yellow wattle at work, which means the Wattle Festival in Hurstbridge isn’t far away. Bring on Spring!