The art of music

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!

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Image via La Trobe weekly student update

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.

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Image via YouTube

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.

A few other things to mention – if you’re a sci-fi fan, tickets are on sale for The Last Jedi at IMAX Melbourne and my friends who’ve been to see Bladerunner 2049 have said it’s fantastic.  The Heide Makers Market is on tomorrow, while on Sunday the North Melbourne Spring Fling.  Enjoy!

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Elvis has left the building

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.farewell

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.IMG_6078

A few things on this weekend including the Eaglemont Village Artisan Market in Eaglemont tomorrow and the Wild about Melbourne pop up market at Thornbury Bowls on Sunday, which is the same day as the Hurstbridge Wattle Festival, which also includes a new Night Market.  There are also a heap of new exhibitions now on at the Bundoora Homestead Art Centre with a special opening tomorrow afternoon from 2 – 4 pm, some exhibitions which are part of this year’s Radiant Pavilion Melbourne Contemporary Jewellery and Object Biennial.IMG_6094

On China’s Rise and a New World Order

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.

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Image via Eventbrite

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.

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Image via www.realestate.com.au

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!

Politics, protests and prison life

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.

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Image via 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.

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Michael Kirby image via La Trobe University

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.

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Image via Wattle Festival Hurstbridge

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!

Cooking up a storm

My Food, Mood & Diet – Myth versus Science lecture with chef Shane Delia and charismatic ABC National broadcaster Dr Norman Swan was held last night to a packed audience at the State Library Theatrette, including a number of my La Trobe colleagues who had to stand at the back. There’s a certain level of skill involved in making sure everyone’s properly briefed, prepared and comfortable with the format for the evening but it’s always an interesting exercise seeing how the panel (who are often meeting each other for the first time) come together and do their thing on stage.  Our MC Francis Leach always makes it look easy but I sometimes think he’s got the toughest job of all trying to guide the conversation and give all the speakers a turn to shine on stage.

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L-R: Shane Delia, Catherine Itsiopoulos, Antigone Kouris, Francis Leach, Antigone Kouris & Norman Swan

 

 

It was a very entertaining conversation last night with Scottish-born Norman Swan saying a few naughty words and cheeky comments.  Shane Delia was also a very natural panelist sharing his perspectives and food journey as a chef, including mentioning that he suffers from ADHD which is something he shares in common with fellow chef Heston Blumenthal.  We are all human at the end of the day but it’s very courageous to be so open in a public forum and it was lovely to hear him speak about his passion for food, inherited from cooking rituals he enjoyed as a young boy with his grandparents, which led him down the food path.  He is also a very busy man who works 14 hour days – he had two other gigs to go to after our lecture finished last night and Dr Swan had also jetted in that afternoon and was flying out again this morning.https3a2f2fcdn-evbuc-com2fimages2f321479182f1087472139252f12foriginal

It was also fascinating for me to listen to La Trobe’s two health sciences academics Catherine Itsiopoulos and Antigone Kouris explain why the Mediterranean Diet in particular is so good for you health-wise (including evidence-based data to support longevity and anti-ageing).  I will be doing a lot more slow cooking, braising and casseroles after finding out it’s a much healthier process than caramelising, barbecuing and roasting as well as eating more plant-based foods especially leafy greens, nuts, legumes and olives and extra virgin olive oil.the-mediterranean-diet-cookbook

The lecture touched on the fact that more educated and affluent people have the knowledge and access to healthier food including fresh fruit and vegetables and I will be interested to watch Shane Delia’s upcoming SBS documentary on better access for children at poorer schools in Melbourne’s growth corridors – he was horrified to drive past at least 14 McDonalds outlets on the way from his home to Tarneit in Melbourne’s outer west while filming the series.  I get just as cross about gambling outlets and sports betting targeting the less educated and more vulnerable people in our society but don’t get me started…

Have a wonderful weekend and I am looking forward to the last month of Winter, which starts next week.

Mind over madness

Yoga in Times Square, New York to celebrate the summer solstice and International Yoga Day is something I’ve not yet made it to, but it’s on my bucket list. Every year at this time, I start dreaming of holidays in sunnier places and this one fits the bill.  If you’re a yogi, you may be interested in some of the winter workshops being held at Clifton Hill Yoga School.

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Image via Yoga Flava Facebook page

I’ve been busy organising my next Bold Thinking Series lecture on Thursday 27 July at the State Library and wanted to give you advance notice if you’d like to book tickets to Food, Mood & Diet – Myth versus Science where my two La Trobe health sciences academics Catherine Itsiopoulos and Antigone Kouris will be joined by Maha Restaurant Owner and Chef Shane Delia and Dr Norman Swan, host of ABC Radio National’s The Health Report.  Tickets can be purchased here and we’ll start officially promoting via Facebook next week.

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I’m a big fan of Shane Delia’s Spice Journey program on SBS so looking forward to working with him on this lecture and his middle Eastern Maha Restaurant in the city, where a couple of my best friends have dined, has been on my radar for a while as much as some of my male work colleagues are fans of his kebabs at the more lo-fi Biggie Smalls in Collingwood.  I also think his related cookbook below would have some great recipes if you’re wanting to experiment over the winter.

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Image via Murdoch Books

I was reflecting the other day with Mr Rosanna that it’s been an interesting professional journey for me working mainly with men at La Trobe.  Public Relations tends to be female-dominated as well as many of the industries I’ve worked in such as fashion, beauty, retail and the visual arts.  It’s been refreshing to work with guys this time around from my two bosses, to my colleagues who help coordinate the advertising, event management and livestream filming.  Have a great weekend and enjoy the sunshine today.

Something different

‘Expansion’ has been my word for 2017 and there has been a magical quality to life this year since I chose that word, which has culminated in the past week – one of the most busy and challenging professional weeks I have ever had and likely to be the high point of the year for me.

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L-R (seated): Patrick Keyzer, Anne-Maree Farrell, Gary Dowsett, Justice Michael Kirby, VC John Dewar (standing)

I met ex-High Court judge Michael Kirby (or the Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG as he is officially known) at last Thursday night’s Bold Thinking Series lecture on Health, Law & Sexuality held at the NGV Great Hall, which had fully sold out one week prior.  It’s a beautiful space with stained glass ceilings by Leonard French, which seats 600 people and the lecture was a whole-of-University project, that included support from my colleagues in the Office of the Vice Chancellor, 50th Anniversary Office, Law School, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS), Alumni and Events as well as my usual working party in Marketing and Recruitment.  Justice Kirby was, and is, indeed a great man and it was an honour to have him speak at our event – he was flying out to Japan the following day to receive an Order of the Rising Sun honour from the Emperor of Japan no less and it was a learning experience for me to look at all the pomp and ceremony required for people of this stature – La Trobe University had organised an aide-de-camp to accompany Justice Kirby for his entire stay with us as well as his own green room at the NGV on the night.  I was very relieved to get to the VIP event at the NGV Garden Restaurant after the lecture to enjoy its success.IMG_5745

I flew out on Sunday afternoon high above the clouds of Melbourne to attend the Leading Now 2017 leadership summit held at the Mantra on Salt in Kingscliff – about 15 minutes drive south from the Gold Coast Airport and the start of the stunning northern NSW beaches region which includes Cabarita Beach (where Halcyon House is located) and Byron Bay – another place I’d like to return to at some stage.  The Mantra on Salt is located in the Salt Village area including Peppers Salt Resort and Spa where some of the other speakers and I all stayed.

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My balcony view – Peppers Salt Resort

While I’m used to attending networking events in the arts and culture space, as well as marketing, this was something entirely different for me to be surrounded by a group of high calibre leaders mainly from the corporate arena.  It made me realise that my own journey has been a very different one since leaving corporate life behind and starting this blog – no less valuable but perhaps the road less travelled.  In my heart of hearts, I will always be an inherently more creative, and persuasive, person with a different take on things to the mainstream – something I’ve started to see increasingly more as a strength than a weakness these past few years.

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Image via louisemahler.com.au

But back to the leadership summit, it was both daunting and inspiring to be in the presence of some truly great leaders and keynote speakers including Dr Louise Mahler whose magnificent presentation on body language was a real ice-breaker at the ‘fork and talk’ opening night dinner where we all met for the first time.  Equally impressive was Dr Jason Fox – the swashbuckling international speaker and author on motivation strategy and design, who embodies inner-north Melbourne hipster, including bushranger beard and coffee addiction.  I was lucky enough to have him sit in on my Think Out loud session on communications in the age of social media yesterday, and I hope I was able to teach such a clever person something new.

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Image via drjasonfox.com.au

I also met some other amazingly positive, dynamic, smart and interesting female leaders in the form of my fellow speakers and attendees at the summit – too many to mention here suffice to say that this event took things to a whole new level for me – to be in the company of such inspiring people and learn new things about myself and the skills which great leaders have, or can develop – was priceless.  I feel very grateful to my former Telstra colleague Tiffany Gray from Prism Brain Mapping (and her co-conspirator Monique Rattray-Wood) who gave me the opportunity to be involved in this inaugural summit.  I flew home late last night and it’s going to take me some time to process all the information I was exposed to at the summit as it was definitely not an ordinary, but an extraordinary experience – one which will stay with me for a long time.