It’s the viral campaign of women sharing stories of sexual abuse and harassment and while it’s been incredibly disturbing to hear about the Harvey Weinsteins and Don Burkes of this world, I can’t help but feel it’s also a good thing to have such disgusting and unacceptable behaviour outed.
I work in a media and communications team with a couple of ex-television news readers and it was also interesting to go out with my two bosses and broadcaster Francis Leach the other night for dinner and conversation as I think such behaviour has been fairly rife in both the music and entertainment world and perhaps just the tip of the iceberg. I am hopeful that as more women rise into senior ranks and positions of power that this will change.
I think I’ve been fairly lucky working in PR most of my life as it’s a female-dominated industry with mainly women also working in many of the industries I’ve chosen like fashion, beauty, retail and visual art. I’ve never experienced sexual harassment or discrimination in the workplace although unfortunately I can’t say the same for public spaces like bars, clubs and on the street. If I had gone into journalism, my preference would have been to work for a magazine but again, the likes of these Sydney-based publishing companies have also been run, in the main, by women although I think we have champions like Ita Buttrose, Lisa Wilkinson, Marina Go and Mia Freedman who’ve also paved the way for the next generations. I have always found these women inspiring as role models. I think if I’d gone into radio or TV, then it might have been a different story given the amount of men who’ve traditionally worked in these organisations (and who still mainly do).
I led a focus group a couple of weeks ago with a number of 20-somethings and it was also a fascinating exercise into not only the topics that interest them; but the way in which they engage. They’re a picky bunch and the online world is just as real to them as face-to-face connection as much as this Gen X-er disagrees. I think you lose something when all communication is done via a screen – the subtle nuances of body language and social skills are diminished for me as much as social media is convenient! It’s indeed a brave new world and I look forward to incorporating some of these topics into the 2018 Bold Thinking Series.
The rain has arrived here in Melbourne and after multiple events on every night this week and more to come, it’s been nice to have a breather. Stay dry!
It’s been a big week and it’s not over yet. My last Bold Thinking Series lecture for 2017 on the future of Universities at the State Library Theatrette with MC Virginia Trioli and the three Vice-Chancellors from La Trobe, Melbourne and Monash Universities went well on Wednesday night despite a couple of technical hitches at the start. I ended up having to give up the hand-held microphone I use to roam amongst the audience for questions to outgoing Melbourne University VC Glyn Davis after his headset mic stopped working, leaving just me to cover the floor during the lecture, instead of our usual two people. The discussion item that did not get asked on the night was the interesting fact that Glyn Davis and Margaret Gardner are actually married to each other yet work at competing universities – a colleague was playfully calling them the ‘Posh & Becks’ of the University sector!
It was also an experience to work with Virginia Trioli – an impressive, seasoned media professional who also had her own ideas to add to the mix, which made the lecture a little bit different in terms of format. Francis Leach will be returning as our usual MC in 2018 and I’m looking forward to catching up with him next week for a thank you dinner. I’m now in planning mode for next year and it’s been interesting working with a 20-something focus group on the topics they’re interested in….stay tuned!
Toruk: The First Flight is the name of Cirque de Soleil’s most recent show in Melbourne, which Mr Rosanna and I took the kids to for the first time on Saturday. It was glorious on Saturday afternoon with Melbourne bathed in a sea of light. We took the train to Jolimont from Clifton Hill station and walked to the Rod Laver Arena, which is currently undergoing construction.
We walked past the City to Sea 15km course all set up for yesterday’s run and noticed too, a number of people wearing poppies for Remembrance Day. There is something magical about the number 11 and yesterday was the 11th day of the 11th month. It was good for my boys too to see the statues of Australian football and cricketing heroes lining the boulevard to the MCG and then subsequent monuments to Australian tennis heroes outside Rod Laver Arena. I hope that one day there will be more female heroes as well.
We really enjoyed the show, and it was visually spectacular but friends who’ve previously been said they were disappointed with it, compared with previous shows. It was quite the commercial production and more theatrical in style so I can understand some people having that opinion. Still, we had a great time and were glad we had arrived early given the thousands who turned up to watch.
We caught the train back to Clifton Hill in a perfumed carriage full of young Stakes Day race goers and families which also gave the day a sense of occasion. It was lovely to see all the young human fillies dressed up and on their way home on such a glorious day out.
We ended up grabbing some Japanese on Burgundy Street in Heidelberg where there is both Sushi Galore and Momoco Sushi to choose from, but walked past the booked out (for a private function) Train Yard which we still have yet to visit. Given Bobo’s Diner in Ivanhoe has now closed, the beer garden at the Train Yard looked very enticing. Still I’m happy to report that The Pioneer cafe in Rosanna has now opened and there looks to be a brand new cafe, the Arthur Street Deli opposite Hoppa & Joe on the corner of Heidelberg Road and Arthur Street in Fairfield. Gone too at the moment is the old Amcor Paper Mill torn down for the upcoming YarraBend development and suburb in itself, which will house a huge number of new residents but have its own facilities including a health and wellness centre.
I am now gearing up for my final Bold Thinking Series lecture of the year on The future of Universities, which is almost completely sold out. It’s been challenging trying to coordinate the briefings between the MC (and La Trobe alumna) Virginia Trioli and the three Vice-Chancellors from Melbourne, La Trobe and Monash Universities who are such busy people that even their ‘free’ time is scheduled. Stay tuned…
That was the question we were all asking our poor Events manager yesterday at the Kevin Rudd: On China’s Rise and a New World Order sold out public lecture for over 600 people held in the Grand Ballroom at The Sofitel. Apparently our ex-PM is known for often running a bit late and yesterday was no exception. There was a private VIP lunch held beforehand, while general attendees got to mill around in the foyer having a stand up light lunch which was included in the ticket price. So there were a number of us sweating and hoping Kevin would actually turn up to the venue in time!
Turn up he did, and irrespective of what side of politics you’re from – Kevin Rudd is an extremely intelligent man who was quite relaxed and funny yesterday with an outrageously extensive vocabulary. I often find my brain hurts at the end of the day working at a University and mixing with such clever people who all have many letters after their names. Linda Jakobson, the CEO of China Matters was just as impressive and it was always going to be a hard act to follow a former Prime Minister. That she speaks Finnish, English and Mandarin fluently is an amazing feat in itself. The lecture was facilitated by Professor Nick Bisley, the Executive Director of La Trobe Asia and it was a packed house with me taking one of the few last spots in the media seats at the back.
My mum ended up surprising me by turning up to the lecture and she bought herself a copy of Linda’s book China Matters published by Black Inc. Books and La Trobe University Press and Kevin’s new book Not for the Faint-Hearted was also on sale. After the last-minute flurry of activity including a fire drill held before the lecture, it was great to come home yesterday after the big event to de-compress.
It’s all about the art this weekend with Bundoora Homestead Art Centre’s biggest show opening tonight – the Darebin Art Prize. This major multi-medium award for contemporary visual art includes a $10,000 acquisitive prize and $1000 People’s Choice Award. It’s held only every two years so enjoy if you go to the exhibition.
If portraits are more your thing, the Rick Amor Portrait Prize – a $20,000 acquisitive prize winning exhibition at Montsalvat has also opened and would be well-worth seeing. There is a lovely house for sale at 29 Edwin Road in Templestowe known as the Thompson House built in a similar era to Montsalvat if you’re a fan of things of stone and wood.
Finally, Nancybird is turning 15 with a big sale on this weekend at the Northcote Town Hall with up to 70% off. I’ve got a number of Nancybird leather goods and I have to say I love the artistic aesthetic of this beautiful brand – there will also be other things for sale including chocolate, jewellery, candles and plants by other artisans so this would make a great start to your Christmas shopping.
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 appropriately titled final Avant Card postcard printed in July by my ex-client and friend Pat Mackle signifying the end of a 25 year era and over 20,000 postcards produced. What a ride it’s been for her and her family and friends – many of whom have been involved in the business over this time across three separate states and all over Australia. We caught up today for lunch at Japanese raw food cafe Shoku Iku on High Street in Northcote right next door to the Good Vibes Yoga studio (owned by artist Kirra Jamison) near the Westgarth Theatre. There’s not many people I know who’ve had the courage of their convictions to follow their dreams and go out on their own so I take my hat off to Pat. Many young people now will have a very different life journey with as many as 17 different jobs across 5 different industries so the times they are definitely a-changing.
I had my sold out La Trobe Three Bold Thinking Series lecture last night at the State Library Theatrette which was a very big night for the three former student activists involved, who finally had their turn in the spotlight to tell their story and perhaps gain a sense of closure from the events of 1972 for which they were imprisoned in Pentridge Prison without sentencing. I was taken back in time to a very different era when the stakes were a lot higher with Anti-Vietnam war protests, conscription and the women’s and gay liberation movements taking place against the backdrop of global social, cultural and political change. I can’t help but feel we now live in a very corporatised, sanitised and more vanilla era compared to those heady times where the struggle was very real. What struck me was how all three men, despite their differences and the hardship and trauma they endured, were absolutely resolute in their belief about the right to protest and at no point in time were ever going to apologise to the University. To this day, as as much as it has impacted their lives, they still stand by their principles united in solidarity – it was a pretty amazing thing to witness. It was a bit ironic leaving the building last night to see the new La Trobe branding All kinds of clever splashed over a massive billboard opposite my old University RMIT on Swanston Street.
It’s the name of my lecture in October with ex-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, which is being held in conjunction with the Ideas & Society series convened by La Trobe University’s Emeritus Professor Robert Manne – tickets are already on sale given the Paul Keating lecture held earlier this year sold out within a week. Kevin Rudd is a different person altogether from Paul Keating but they share in common an interest in the Asian region and what it means for Australia. This lecture will also be different in that it’s a lunchtime event (light lunch provided at the Sofitel!) so targeted more at a CBD-based business audience. Kevin’s an interesting man from what I can gather from my friends and colleagues who’ve previously worked with him in the media space.
It’s Spring in another fortnight and I can’t wait for it to begin. This house at 43 Alexander Street in Montmorency has caught my eye. It’s an Alistair Knox home with gardens inspired by Gordon Ford and it looks just beautiful – it is the home of a local Montsalvat studio artist and I think it would be well worth a look if you’re in the area or looking to buy in the area given how close it is to the Were Street village and surrounding parkland – Monty is a lovely suburb.
We’re about to start some minor renovations at home and I’m looking forward to finishing the painting that we started last Spring but never quite finished, and continuing to de-clutter. Mr Rosanna’s Dad has told me that you never finish once you have a house of your own – there’s always something to do maintenance-wise! Argh!