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.
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.
The Gertrude Street Projection Festival starts tonight and it should be a beautiful night to go after the winter wonderland of all the fog this morning, which has dissipated into a beautiful sunny day today. It’s also the last weekend of the Leaps and Bounds Music Festival if you’re interested in seeing a local gig. I’ve seen musician Paul Kelly perform live before and he’s a man who’s led a very interesting life if you’ve ever seen the documentary Paul Kelly: Stories of Me.
Speaking of the night, I made it to the Night Life exhibition at Ripponlea earlier this week and I’m glad I managed to catch the show before it closes at the end of this month. There’s also still time to catch the associated Vintage Fashion Market & Pop Up Beauty Studio as well as its final evening soiree titled ‘Putting on the Ritz’ next Saturday, which would be lots of fun.
The beautiful dresses that were on show were quite amazing although my favourite piece is the spectacular opera coat from Selfridges (above) on display in the very first part of the exhibition. I hadn’t been to Ripponlea in a long time but it was a great experience to have a very civilised cup of tea served in beautiful crockery in front of the open fire at the teahouse before buying tickets from the vintage caravan out the front to then entering the period building itself, which is like going back in time.
My girlfriend Julia and I also had a wander around the gardens afterwards including sitting by the lake that’s there overlooking the water, which was like doing a seated meditation in stillness and calm. The cold and the wind got the better of us in the end, but it was still a good thing to do in the depths of Winter.
Talking about all things artistic, those jobs I mentioned at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre are now online and open for application if you are interested in throwing your hat in the ring. There’s an interesting upcoming sculptural installation at the Homestead next month which has also been inspired by Paul Kelly called From little things big things grow by Carly Fischer. Have a great weekend!
I love the title of this Heide Museum of Modern Art exhibition on Constructivism and Australian Art and have always loved the fact that my ex-client Pat Mackle chose a play on words for her postcard business Avant Card. Pat, and her partner Paul who runs Shop Neutral at the Prahran Market, have always been ahead of their time as most innovators are.
Call of the Avant-Garde is being launched next Wednesday night and I’m also pleased to say that I’ll be seeing one of my Heide Visitor Services colleagues Jake Treacy at his exhibition Salon of Spirits being held later this year at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre. Speaking of which, I was at the Homestead for a Board meeting earlier this week so stay tuned if you’re interested in any paid gallery positions there as these will be advertised over the coming months.
Animal Kingdom is currently showing at The Johnston Collection museum of fine and decorative art in East Melbourne, which is the annual House of Ideas Exhibition-House tour with animal-inspired objects from the collection juxtaposed alongside fantastic creations from some of Melbourne’s leading contemporary artists.
It’s the name of Kasey Edwards’ new book , which is a meditation on the guilt women feel about their bodies, relationships, pregnancy and childbirth, motherhood and careers. It’s published by Black Inc. Books who have partnered with La Trobe to form La Trobe University Press and the University’s 50th Anniversary book – From the paddock to the Agora – a copy of which was given to me as a thank you from Vice Chancellor John Dewar for working on the 50th. Kasey’s invited me to her upcoming book launch, in conversation with Clare Bowditch, being held on Thursday 25 May at Readings Hawthorn in Melbourne. If you’re interested in attending, it’s free but please register on Eventbrite. Being the small world that it is, Kasey has previously worked with Mr Rosanna while I have had dealings with her partner, an Associate Professor, who works at La Trobe University.
I missed the recent launch of local author Les Zigomanis’ book for Young Adults called Pride (published under his pseudonym Lazaros Zigomanis) the other week. I met Les last year at the Busybird Publishing Karma Kinglake writing retreat as he is the Publications Manager there, working closely with owner Blaise van Hecke. I love the preamble to his book ‘dreams mean nothing unless you have the courage to pursue them’ so it’s another one to add to my list.
Indeed it was interesting to note at the Leading Now 2017 leadership summit some of the practices of our greatest leaders include waking up early, yoga, meditation and reading books, and lots of them. Apparently Elon Musk reads two books a day on average and many leaders curate the content of what they take in – choosing books over the noise of traditional and social media and being pedantic about their energy management. I think it’s something the average person can take on board as well so we’re not feeling drained at the end of every day.
It’s Mother’s Day this weekend so I just wanted to wish all the mums out there a fun day on Sunday. If you’re interested in doing something arty, there are also two exhibition openings on tomorrow afternoon at the Bundoora Homestead Art Centre – Technician’s Choice and Group Formalism. The Homestead has recently re-introduced a lunch menu but also does great scones and jam.
Nb. Miss Rosanna is a Bundoora Homestead Art Centre Board member
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.