Smelling the roses

The La Trobe University Distinguished Alumni Awards were held on Monday evening and it was a long day and night for me. They are an annual event which were held in the city at Metropolis Events at Southgate which offered glittering night-time views of Melbourne and it was spectacular to get there late afternoon where we could see Arbory Afloat on the Yarra opposite us.

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I got to mingle at the start of the evening talking to a number of high profile people I’d previously worked with when I managed the Bold Thinking Series including Virginia Trioli (who was one of the winners) and her partner Russell Skelton, Tony Walker, Geoff Walsh and Professor Jenny Graves AO plus a number of other leading academics and industry professionals with ties to La Trobe. Prior to the Awards, guests were also treated to a surprise performance by the Australian Ballet School – one of the University’s partners.

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Writer and academic Dr (now Professor) Clare Wright was MC with Chancellor John Brumby AO making presentations along with Vice-Chancellor John Dewar to the stellar lineup of winners, which included Young Achiever Awards to Melbourne AFLW player Daisy Pearce and surgical resident Dr Batool Albatat; rural women’s pioneer Alana Johnson, epidemiologist Dr John Hopper AM, SecondBite co-founder Simone Carson AM and ABC Melbourne Mornings host Virginia Trioli completing the field.

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My wider team and La Trobe staff were given the beautiful floral table decorations at the end of the night and so I have stopped to smell the roses and enjoy the beauty of life this week, knowing that lift itself is a gift.

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Speaking of flowers, the Bee Shed Launch Party is being held on Sunday at the Alphington Farmers Market and my friend and Bundoora Homestead Art Centre Director Ella Hinkley is involved with the Pollinator Alliance while tomorrow the Rosanna Primary Old School Fair, the Paella Sangria Churros night (fun!) at The Pioneer Cafe, the annual Watsonia craft fair and the Melbourne Ceramics Market in Collingwood (which local ceramic artist Lene Kuhl Jakobsen is part of) are all on – it’s a big day.

If the weather holds, the Malahang Festival is also on this Sunday in Heidelberg West as well as the Public Run Day at the Box Hill Miniature Railway. Strange to think our Spring weather has been so mild this year and my thoughts have been with our NSW neighbours up north battling those horrific bushfires this week. Stay cool…

Mr Clever

I’m really hoping it’s Friday as it’s been a massive week.  My team held the Rudd on the PM Years Melbourne book launch at the Sofitel on Wednesday night for close to 400 people and it was a big night.  Love him or hate him, Mr Rudd tends to elicit fairly strong reactions from people and it has been an interesting exercise for me in relationship management and diplomacy both within and outside the greater University with this one.

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La Trobe University image by Savs Photography

As I mentioned last year when I worked with his office, whatever you think of him, Mr Rudd is an exceedingly clever man.  I consider myself more literate than the average punter but my breath was taken away by his everyday vernacular – his vocabulary is quite extraordinary.  You can have a listen on the Bold Thinking Series livestream if you’re interested in the conversation where he spoke on democracy, disruption to institutions, Australian media ownership and more.  He did go a little off piste given the remit we gave him in terms of topic but the predominantly young, Uni student audience lapped it all up and queues were out the door for selfies and book signings with Mr Rudd after the event, when I left the venue after 10pm.  He leads a cracking pace too in that his team flew out the next morning at 5am bound for Sydney.

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L-R: Mr Rudd & MC Patricia Karvelas – La Trobe University image by Savs Photography

 

For me, it was lovely to look after MC Patricia Karvelas who did a great job despite being a little bit under the weather and to spend time in the green room with La Trobe academic and former Triple J broadcaster Lawrie Zion having a chat.  No rest for the wicked in that I had my Is democracy broken? panel discussion (picture below) last night at the State Library with VC’s Fellow and Fairfax columnist Tony Walker and the panel he’d assembled including Mark Textor, Michele Levine, Katharine Murphy and Geoff Walsh.  All were outstanding speakers who very generously lent their time and expertise to the event – Katharine Murphy’s insights into political journalism and how the industry has been completely disrupted were probably the most fascinating to me given my profession.  She has also written on the subject with her On Disruption book (only $15!) currently available at independent bookstores.  Again, you can see the whole conversation on the Bold Thinking livestream page.  And yes, I did buy a copy of Mr Rudd’s book – the bibliophile in me couldn’t help myself.

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L-R: Mark Textor, Michele Levine, MC Tony Walker, Katharine Murphy, Geoff Walsh and Professor Nick Bisley

There were some tech issues with both events on the night – event-management is definitely not for the faint hearted – but the show always goes on no matter what.  The Eaglemont Artisans market in Eaglemont Village is on this weekend as well as the Textile Art Community Spring into Fashion event with the Bell St markets in Heidelberg West.  The Darebin Music Feast is currently on as well as the British Film Festival at Palace Cinemas. Enjoy your weekend – I’ll be taking it easy…

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We need to talk about Kevin

Kevin 07 that is.  For someone who regards themselves as fairly apolitical, I am going to have an interesting end to my working year with both the Hon. Kevin Rudd for the launch of his new book – Rudd: The PM years at The Sofitel next month as well as a panel of pollsters, political advisors and journalists including Vice Chancellor’s Fellow Tony Walker (who makes me laugh with his sense of humour) for my Bold Thinking Series lecture the following night titled Is democracy broken?  Given the revolving door of Prime Ministers and parliaments, the Australian political landscape has been a very dynamic space, to say the least.  It doesn’t end there for me as my final lecture of the year will be with another ex-Foreign Affairs Minister who shall remain nameless at this stage, needless to say it’s been a fascinating exercise dealing with very senior people at the highest level.3D book - The PM Years - Kevin Rudd

It’s been warm today and a pretty dry September – I’m about to plant some hanging herbs although forgoing other plants this year as I have a dog (or vandal as we call her) who has chewed her way through all last Spring’s plants and a number of our shrubs in our back yard and left it looking like a tip.  I love my dog but she’s naughty.

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It’s all about the football this long weekend and while many Melburnians will back the Magpies, I suspect the West Coast Eagles may continue their domination – the poor young Melbourne Demons team were seriously outplayed last week at every turn.  I did watch the Brownlow Red Carpet on Monday night and not surprisingly, my favourite outfits were the more covered up numbers worn by Britt Davis (Paolo Sebastian) and Hester Brown (Gwendolynne).  The silver dress worn by Melbourne player Max Gawn’s partner Jessica Todd (Georgia Young Couture) was also stunning and likewise gold dresses worn by Dani Shreve and Ruby Keddie if you’re into metallics.  It was also nice to see both pink and lilac featured in dresses worn by Jessie Murphy and Bec Judd (J’Aton).  At the risk of sounding very prudish (!) I’m not a huge fan of the plunging necklines, thigh high splits or see through numbers but understand that it’s always more about glamour rather than style.