It’s cold in Melbourne and about to get even cooler over the next fortnight – traditionally the two coldest weeks of the year. I went running at dusk last Sunday in the rain and wished I had windscreen wipers for my eyes – I did manage not to slip in the mud. It is dark but there are lots of activities taking place celebrating the light.

Lightscape is on at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne until 7 August saluting light, nature and wonder, while the Docklands Firelight Festival finishes tonight. You can also head indoors to enjoy Light: Works from Tate’s Collection at ACMI in the city or Bruce Munro: From Sunrise Rd at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen, the latter of who brought the spectacular Field of Light Uluru light installation to the Northern Territory in 2016. Light festivals are apparently now a thing if you’ve read this article in Traveller.

The Leaps and Bounds Music Festival is currently on and it’s exciting too to hear about new Melbourne music festival Always Live, which is modelling itself on the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. If you like the great indoors, Open House Melbourne starts at the end of this month and I was glad to hear the Nicholas Building is close to being sold under a unique social enterprise model that will allow its creative community to stay. Interesting too that a Robin Boyd house in Warrandyte was also ‘whisked off the market’ last month by one lucky buyer.

It’s been busy at work with end of financial year, with my team launching a re-vamped website (and all the work leading up to it) and doing a bit of professional development. I watched a fascinating presentation on culture, brand and COVID-19 by a speaker from Kantar Public and while perhaps not unexpected, the themes of safety, belonging and self-esteem, have been prevalent and people’s behavioural responses to them over this time.

Also interesting has been census data showing how diverse we have become as a nation, particularly in Melbourne and Sydney. It was also great to see Melbourne re-joining the top 10 most liveable cities list – jointly tying with Japanese city Osaka and being crowned Australia’s most liveable city. While we continue to live with COVID and the numbers are still very high, I’m very grateful to be living with relative freedom this third winter of the pandemic. If anything, I think it’s taught us not to take the simple things for granted ever again.