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So much has happened since I last posted – the world has changed, politics has become even more corrupt, and I’m closer to graduating with a Bachelor’s degree. 

I hope to get back into blogging in the near future, once all of these essays, projects and exams are over and behind me for good.

In the meantime, here are two pieces I’ve written recently for ArtsHub but they may be under lock and key:

Artists need to be at the developers’ table

Navigating an international career

Women and men, both, are forever trying to achieve what emerged in the 1880s as the work-leisure balance. Each of us are constantly juggling commitments: friends, family, career, ambition, hobbies, inner-drive, chores, household tasks, running errands and answering emails.

Technology has made these processes more seamless and more demanding. As other peoples’ availability and accessibility increases, the same is thought of and applied to us.

For students, a further dimension is added into the equation when school/tertiary/further study becomes another immersion and pleasure with deadlines, readings and out-of-hours time required to complete and pass each course. You’ll of course then have to earn a living and manage the other aspects of life simultaneously. And while there are the old 9 to 5, or 8-8-8 expressions, the reality of the world today is that flexibility and adaptability are keys to success, achievement and sanity.

I’m pretty terrible with flexibility, I like routine. But I’m slowly and steadily trying to stretch and thoughtfully strain those tired muscles and help them to regain some youthful flexibility.

While we’re on the topic of flexibility, have you ever wondered how those amazing women you see on stage manage their dual roles as mother-actress/dancer/musician/performer?

On top of the complexities other workers, commuters and you and I have to face, those drawn to the stage and screen must also integrate rehearsals, shows, touring and long days and nights into their ‘routine’.

I recently spoke to a few notable women who find themselves in this position (no pun intended) and wrote about it for artsHub. Check it out for some insight into living the days and loving the nights, and how to be constantly ‘on’ and present.

On Thursday evening I attended a discussion hosted by Melbourne Conversations – the City of Melbourne – on what the future holds for Melbourne art, design and architecture and the fields’ practitioners. Talking about Art and Change was compered by writer and broadcaster, Peter Mares and included five panelists:

  • Ian McDougall – Founding Director ARM Architecture
  • Fleur Watson – Curator, Design Hub RMIT Univeristy, Guest curator ‘Sampling the City’, Melbourne Now
  • Rob Adams AM – Architect/Urban Designer, Director City Design (City of Melbourne)
  • Tony Ellwood – Director National Gallery of Victoria (NGV)
  • Emily Floyd – Visual artist

In 90 minutes, the panel drew (pardon the pun) many hypothetical plans for the future of the city, and highlighted the importance of recognising the similarities between art, architecture and design, which are perhaps too commonly seen as distinctly separate disciplines.

As well as attending the forum for personal interest, I covered the panel discussion for artsHub. You can see my piece ‘Melbourne’s changing landscape has artists in its sight‘ in the Design section of the artsHub website.

 

In the Comment pages of today’s Age under a banner advertising the paper’s ‘Quality commentary’, is a piece by Christopher Bantick, aptly (self-)described as ‘a senior literature teacher at a Melbourne boys’ Anglican grammar school. Unfortunately for Bantick, his opinion (also available at The Age online) only serves to prove aspects of his title, as he sits comfortably purporting the stereotypes of both ‘senior’ and a conservative gentleman teaching at an established, elite ‘grammar school’.

Cleverly, the subeditor – referencing of one Bantick’s remarks – had titled the piece ‘Another brick in the wall of Gen Y cultural decline’. Of course, I was immediately intrigued, but failed to note the commentary’s author before jumping in. What followed was fundamentally an utterly abhorrent dismissal of the entire 20th and 21st centuries, under the principle that Australia’s ‘jingoistic egalitarianism has gone too far’, and we are now all too ‘ignoran[t]’ to appreciate anything the writer deems a worthy contributor to ‘high culture’.

In a few hundred words, Bantick rejects world-renowned screenwriter, director and producer, Ang Lee, Leonard Cohen, the Rolling Stones, Australian writer, Melina Marchetta, and British street artist, Banksy. He claims ‘Young people have lost the capacity to actually know when something is art, and worthy’ and that the only people attending ‘an opera, a concert of searching classical music or an art show that is not a blockbuster’ are those with ‘Grey hairs’. Bantick professes to fear a future where ‘the elders of keepers of the cultural treasures’ will be extinct, leaving only a generation too hung up on ‘selfies’, ‘fanzines and blogs of banality’.

Apparently, according to Bantick, today’s celebrity culture is all-encompasing and so widely ‘pervasive’ that is it altering the way our brains are processing information. Well! If this ‘moronic introspection’ has such overriding power, would he too, not be under its spell?

Bantick discredits any potential value so-called ‘popular culture’ may offer a young person – or any person’s – life, and outright eliminates any factors of contemporary culture that may enrich us humble beings. Furthermore, he states Generation Y are all too ‘vain’ and thus blind, to the beauty of Mahler, Jane Eyre and John Keats, masters of what Bantick qualifies as ‘High culture: fine art, opera, serious drama and music that requires patience and understanding’.

What a load of absolute horse shit.

First and foremost, I am unsure of what elite qualification Bantick holds that he believes has granted him the right to oversimplify and almost objectify my generation. In fact, he has stirred up some controversy in recent times in similar vein, applying vast generalisations to today’s youth and ascribing us with what he appropriates as ‘amoral’ values and obsessions.

Secondly, he writes it is ‘beyond subjective taste’ that teaching Looking for Alibrandi rather than Jane Eyre is just another example of schools ‘pandering to the lowest common denominator’. Yes, it can be hard to obtain objectivity in today’s complicated world, but surely this man’s opinion is no more objective than yours or mine.

Furthermore, I am personally offended Bantick has so little appreciation of and respect for my peers and our mores, so much so that he has predicted the ‘atrophy’ of art, music, theatre and literature predating the 1900s.

Bantick is also a little off on his knowledge of the state of Australian philanthropy. Only a matter of months ago I researched and published a piece at artsHub specifically on the pertinent topic of Millennial philanthropists with a focus on the arts. Unfortuately, the article is locked to artsHub subscribers but I can assure you Philanthropy Australia’s New Gen project is working to ensure the future of all of our arts ‘treasures’ is preserved and sustained for a long time to come.

I may also suggest Bantick lends an eye to the perspective of British teacher, Andrew Jones, who is in favour of engaging students in their learning of religion, of all subjects, through ‘pop culture’.

Also pertinent are the views of this commenter, ‘drjones’ (amongst others):

Image

I’m left to ponder the following:

  • Do high art and contemporary art have to be mutually exclusive?
  • What is the role of time and reflection in determining high culture?
  • Does generalising the interests of an entire generation actually do them a disservice?
  • And, isn’t beauty in the eye (and ear) of the beholder?

Let me know your thoughts.

So for something a bit different, here’s a kind of latest news/opinion piece I wrote for artsHub yesterday. It’s a bit tongue-in-cheek but the foundation of my arguments still stand. So, have a read and give ya mum a book this christmas – and while you’re at it, buy your brother/sister/cousin/friend one, too.

An abbreviated version is available at the artsHub website.

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With the rise of the hipster, young adults are creating a digital divide when it comes to reading – and its not what you think.

Young adult readers want a tangible bang for their buck when it comes to buying books

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image: Books abound at The Central Library of Stuttgart
A new study has found 16 to 24 year olds prefer buying printed books to eBooks.
Recent research by British marketing group Voxburner found that 62 per cent of this demographic surveyed would rather buy a physical book than purchase a copy of the same book for a digital reading device.
As referenced in Voxburner’s Buying Digital Content Report, which sourced and surveyed 1,420 respondents in the UK between 24 September and 18 October this year, 17 per cent of respondents felt eBooks need to be 75 per cent cheaper than current market prices.
Only eight per cent of young people found eBooks to be reasonably priced and over a quarter thought the price of eBooks should be halved.
As a young woman who could comfortably locate myself within this demographic if we presume such findings are transferable across the equator, I find myself siding with the majority.
Nothing beats the smell, the weight and the wonder a physical book presents. I nurture the opportunity to flip through a book’s pages, making my own creases in the spine and being able hold it close to my heart. While I personally am not a fan of dog-earing page corners, it too, is a physical sensation unavailable to those who choose the digital path.
Voxburner found the top-rated reasons for preferring physical to digital books were ‘I like to hold the product’ (51 per cent), ‘I am not restricted to a particular device’ (20 per cent), ‘I can easily share it’ (10 per cent), ‘I like the packaging’ (9 per cent), and ‘I can sell it when used’ (6 per cent). These physical and emotional experiences are simply unavailable when it comes to eBooks.
Readers may benefit from being able to enlarge the font size of their eBooks, but with so many hipsters wearing glasses these days, that’s hardly a concern for today’s young adults.
I gain so much satisfaction from slowly lifting up the bottom corner of the right-side page whilst reading intently and swiftly through an all-enveloping story, before the climax of reaching that last visible word and slamming the page down on its head to continue without breaking rhythm.
Then there are the smells of a freshly printed page, or the history of the second-hand book purchased from a little bookstore in a country town after accidently forgetting how amazing reading can be, relishing in some free time and subsequently finishing a book faster than expected, on a weekend away.
Bookshelves are a unique window into a person’s interests, past and knowledge. If I were to store my books virtually, I’d be without the ready reminder of who I’ve become through reading, each time I pass the shelves.
In an interview with The Guardian, Voxburner spokesman, Luke Mitchell extended this sentiment, reiterating that ‘books are like status symbols, you can’t really see what someone has read on their Kindle’.
Additionally, eBooks lack character. As Gerard Ward of Voxburner notes, most eBooks use standard fonts and contain fewer images due to the lack of colour available on many devices.
I admit, I don’t own an eReader of any sort. But, I also have very little interest in doing so.
Where is the pleasure of cuddling up in front of the open fire on a wintery night but having to worry about the heat adversely affecting the electrical components of my ‘book’? I want to be able to sit as close to the heat as I want, and observe the shadows of the flames illuminate and shade different parts of my page as they flicker.
Yes, I am highly dependent on my smartphone and many other technological devices. However, as Mitchell suggested to publishers in an interview with British trade journal, The Bookseller, it might pay to reconsider their pricing hierarchy.
‘The report suggests that publishers should look at how young people download content, because although about 85 per cent have a smartphone, only 55 per cent have some kind of eReader’, Mitchell said.
So, eBooks may be convenient and available at the drop of a hat (or the tap of a screen), but isn’t the kill of the chase a significant element of the reading experience? Browsing, scouting and landing the coveted paperback only heighten my desire to jump in once the pages fill my hands.
But ultimately, what is important to me is that we just keep young people reading. So this holiday season, don’t pass up the gift of giving your loved one a whole other world they can explore in the palm of their hands, whatever your preference; print or digital.

Apart from having the pleasure and privilege to continue my internship at artsHub and publishing articles there each week, last week I also had two other quite different pieces published.

My poem The Station was published as part of an anthology of poems displayed on a map. The title of the anthology is Impressions of Banyule and was published by Poets@Watsonia. I attended the launch of Impressions with my parents and was asked to read my poem. It was my first experience of a poetry reading, and it was interesting and enjoyable.

In addition, a while back I submitted a reflective piece for the next issue of Ricochet Magazine. After a selection process and contact with lovely members of the Ricochet team, my piece, Friday Night, was published as part of The Flashback Edition, launched last Tuesday morning. It is available for free download. This work is dedicated to my family, and anyone who has been lucky enough to spend a Friday night at the humble abode of S, M & A.

Peruse and enjoy at your own leisure.

Chipotle Scarecrow

Chipotle Scarecrow

I just wanted to do a quick post to share a couple of ads I’ve come across recently that I think are reflective of really well-thoughout communications strategies. These advertising and other comms professionals have really gone beneath surface issues when considering what their customers/patrons/consumers value, and as I’m learning through my degree, that is an integral part of a successful media campaign. Their ads tell a story, offer a narrative for viewers to follow, and appeal to our emotions, rather than our hip pockets.

1. Chipotle

‘In a dystopian fantasy world, all food production is controlled by fictional industrial giant Crow Foods. Scarecrows have been displaced from their traditional role of protecting food, and are now servants to the crows and their evil plans to dominate the food system. Dreaming of something better, a lone scarecrow sets out to provide an alternative to the unsustainable processed food from the factory.’ The ad features a cover of ‘Pure Imagination’ from the film Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, by vegan and animal lover, Fiona Apple.

2. True

‘Giving’ tells the story of a man unexpectedly rewarded for a lifetime of good deeds he performed without expecting anything in return. True “believes in the power of giving without expecting a return.”

3. Expedia

Expedia’s ‘Find Your Understanding’ tells the tale of a father coming to terms with his daughter’s marriage to another woman, and his (cliche) journey both physically and mentally, to arriving at their wedding.

4. Pizza Hut Canada

This ad ‘Dip Hop’ might tell less of a ‘story’ but it’s pretty bloody fascinating, at least for a minute or two.

5. Airbnb

Airbnb have combined ‘the history of filmmaking (Hollywood) with the future of filmmaking (Vine)’ to make ‘a true work of art’. According to PSFK, ‘[s]tarting on August 22nd, different sets of instructions were released between the hours of 8am and 5pm until August 27th [via Twitter]. There was a 48 hour window for submissions for each set of instructions, and they were judged based on several weighted criteria: Originality & Creativity (40%), Compliance with Instructions (40%) and Video Quality & Clarity (20%).’ If a video was selected, it appears in the final film, and winners received a $100 Airbnb coupon. Vivek Wagle says, ‘[i]t’s a story about personal transformation and finding one’s place in the world. It’s what happens when you decide to eschew the boring and familiar. In the end, the raw, imperfect nature of the medium is part of the story.’

6. Ikea

And finally, Ikea shows us the importance of adventure, getting out of your comfort zone and not letting your habits and routines rule your life. I wish this ad were a true story.

Enjoy!

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And here’s what I did at artsHub this week:

Record number of finalists for Portia Geach Memorial Award

Young singers battle for Australasia’s top award

New model for artists’ payment