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…

Back to the future

It’s been a big week and it’s not over yet.  My last Bold Thinking Series lecture for 2017 on the future of Universities at the State Library Theatrette with MC Virginia Trioli and the three Vice-Chancellors from La Trobe, Melbourne and Monash Universities went well on Wednesday night despite a couple of technical hitches at the start.  I ended up having to give up the hand-held microphone I use to roam amongst the audience for questions to outgoing Melbourne University VC Glyn Davis after his headset mic stopped working, leaving just me to cover the floor during the lecture, instead of our usual two people.  The discussion item that did not get asked on the night was the interesting fact that Glyn Davis and Margaret Gardner are actually married to each other yet work at competing universities – a colleague was playfully calling them the ‘Posh & Becks’ of the University sector!

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L-R: Virginia Trioli, Glyn Davis, John Dewar, Margaret Gardner

It was also an experience to work with Virginia Trioli – an impressive, seasoned media professional who also had her own ideas to add to the mix, which made the lecture a little bit different in terms of format.  Francis Leach will be returning as our usual MC in 2018 and I’m looking forward to catching up with him next week for a thank you dinner.  I’m now in planning mode for next year and it’s been interesting working with a 20-something focus group on the topics they’re interested in….stay tuned!

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Image via BAAG

La Trobe University is not the only one to be turning 50 this year, Bulleen Art & Garden also celebrates its 50th Birthday Party and Sculpture Garden Launch on 30 November.  Tickets are free but you will need to register to attend.

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Image via The Big Design Market Facebook page

Some design and craft events on this weekend include the pop up Design Files Open House in Collingwood from 10am – 5 pm, which opened yesterday as well as the German Christmas Market at the Deustche Schule in Fitzroy, which opens tonight at 5pm.  The Etsy Made Local Melbourne market is being held in Coburg tomorrow while The Big Design Market (started by a friend of a friend) at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton opens next Friday.

Locally, St Martin of Tours Rosanna’s Twilight Community Fete is on tonight, the Eaglemont Village Christmas Market is on tomorrow while Macleod Village has its Christmas Fair on next Saturday.