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.



It’s the name of the Bendigo cafe where I was meant to have breakfast with a work colleague while in town earlier this year, but unfortunately the stars didn’t align.  It’s the phonetic spelling of the Danish word Hygge meaning ‘comfort’, ‘warmth’ or ‘cosiness’ which has had quite a bit of airplay over the past year (and been the subject of a number of different books).  It’s a concept that encapsulates a bit more than that – think catching up with friends at home, drinking mulled wine in front of the fireplace, dinners by candlelight.  Despite living in a cold climate, the Danish are amongst the happiest people in the world so I think hygge is something we can all learn from.

Image via

It was interesting to read too about warmth in a different context, apparently people of influence are both warm and strong – qualities that some of the world’s great leaders like Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama exemplify.

Image via

As for me, we found ourself car-less this weekend so decided to put some hygge in action by riding our bikes to Funkie Brewster cafe in Davies Street Rosanna to meet local friends who live in the surrounding area. Funkie Brewster had a write up in Time Out the other week and while I opted for the sweet potato waffle with kale instead of the almond and blueberry pancake stack, it was a fun thing to do on a fairly cold and grey winter’s afternoon.  The undercover area at the back has some bigger tables and a cubby for the kids to play in and there was a passing parade of young families with babies and toddlers, which reflects the new generation of people moving into the area.

Image via Twitter

Speaking of the great indoors, the Finders Keepers market is on this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton – I keep missing them but will have to go along to one at some stage.

Open House printed program image via Twitter

The 10th annual Open House Melbourne is also on the weekend of the 29 and 30 July (look out for the special printed program available from Readings) and some of my work buildings at La Trobe University are open to the public including the Centre for AgriBiosciences, the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science and the Mont Park Terraces precinct.  My pick would actually be the Spanish Mission-style Ernest Jones Hall in the Mont Park Terraces precinct as well as the Modernist building by Robin Boyd, the A.D. Trendall Research Centre for Ancient Mediterranean Studies.  If it’s a sunny day like today then the campus walk From the paddock to the Agora (also the name of the 50th Anniversary book) would be a beautiful thing to do. It’s not quite the groovy co-working space like The Hub opposite Southern Cross station in the former Mail Exchange building where Mr Rosanna is lucky enough to be working at the moment, but I don’t take working so close to home in the leafy environs of the University for granted.

Call of the Avant-Garde

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.

Jake Treacy Spirit Tableau 2017 image via Bundoora Homestead Art Centre

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.

The Johnston Collection image via Wikipedia

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.

Image via Banyule City Council

There is also a call for entries before 31st July for the 2017 Banyule Award for Works on Paper with this year’s theme being ‘ebb and flow’ for the $10,000 main prize.  Finally there will be an Architour Art Deco to Moderne walking tour being held on 8 July and I’m also excited about Open House Melbourne later next month as La Trobe University and some of its more obscure and unknown buildings is part of this year’s event.

Art Deco to Modern Walking Tour image via

I’m very relieved to get to the end of the term and looking forward to a few quiet days ahead of me to recover.  If you’re a school parent, I’m sure you’re happy it’s holiday time!