Monday, December 5, 2011

Dancing into summer

Not much art and very little travel to write up on my blog lately - with my thesis study deadline looming -  often my only release is some foot stomping - so it is thanks to a friend who is also musically inclined towards diverse tastes and tribes of all things musical that I have an awesome YouTube video to share from the Black Keys.  It is currently re-looped onto my study break music tracks.

I also have a recommended CD from ABC music critic Tim Ritchie, Clairy Browne and the Banging Rockettes. My Baby Caught a Bus - is quite a boppy track - but really,  I love her voice and hope to hear more from her / them soon. They are a Melbourne nine piece - with a big sound - just what I like - a bit less hip hop than my current favourite Brow Horn Orchestra - the Perth band with brass and hip hop roots.

The Lammas Tide at Ya-Yas was a great night out recently (see last blog)  the venue has been repainted - also thanks for the 80s disco theme after midnight, I much appreciated the opportunity to dance oh-oh-oh   dance,  oh- oh-oh boogie wonderland etc. and I had the original moves still!
I thought two names to keep an eye out for were Lammas Tides support bands - in particular; Nosey Parker and Deep River Collective.

OK - end of my music break  - back to the books! 


Monday, October 17, 2011

Music for the springtime!

Just checked out what are some good vibe music events for this pre-summer, warmer & earlier evening times  and noticed one or two of noteworthy-ness!
Firstly the old favourite from Fairbridge and the Wilderness Society's gigs -Brow Horn Orchestra are on at the Fly By Night club - looks like it will be a fun night - along with Eco Faeries Unleashed and some serious sounding burlesque acts!  All for Freo Pride .

But I think the one I really don't want to miss is The Lammas Tide gig at Mojo's on Dec 4th. They are a great band - big sound worth a jig along to...

And my final pick also at the Fly by Night club is a funky soul night out - coming up really soon - same time as CHOGM - so if you haven't been invited to high tea with the queen - then as our beloved Australian queen Molly Meldrum used to say ....."do yourself a favour" ......head on out for some soul music!

Now where is the Victoria Park music scene........?  Hmmm


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Studio / Shed update

Very excited as the studio/shed moves nearer completion - the walls have been gyprocked and now we need to complete the bathroom tiling and plumbing, get the light fittings up - and then it is finished - oh not quite, still  need to finish the steps, privacy screens on fences and the sides of the veranda. Leaving the final  painting of the interior and exterior walls

We may need to hold some sort of 'barn raising' event here and get the whole thing painted in a weekend!
So be afraid, very afraid if you receive a invitation that mentions anything about "old clothing"  and naming a favourite painting implement! Actually, even if you casually call by to visit us in the month of December you may well need to come in old gear!  

 Photo taken looking out towards the house from inside the studio
this photo shows the studio in the background and the new retaining walls and back yard paving 

 all settling in well.... 


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

WA Art Gallery - Plates, blocks and stones exhibition 2011

I have just spent a rather relaxed and enjoyable Sunday morning, early afternoon in the Art Gallery - having a look at some beautiful prints with the Dwellingup Retreat and Art Weekend group - minus our patron - I might add! 

The prints in our WA Art Gallery collection are diverse and represented a strong cross section of print makers and types of printmaking.

Picasso, Lautrec, William Blake, Gauguin and Kandinsky prints- all the well known artists names with sound prints representing their work.

German print maker Kathe Kollwitz 's work "The Peasants War Cry" was confronting yet beautifully done.
I loved being able to see an Egon Schiele print - wee hoo- I just couldn't make the Melbourne exhibition of the Viennese Masters, so the poster of Egon Schiele's was a real treat to be able to see here in Perth!

However, it was a good visit for those who came along, followed by a fairly authentic yum cha lunch - all well worth the effort to get into the Gallery (and the Cultural Centre - I had not counted on all the models and the activity for fashion week happening in Northbridge too) and see what is on offer.

I am fired up for our next Dwellingup Retreat and Arts Weekend ! 

Monday, September 19, 2011

The back yard studio has started

After considerable years in the making, months spent discussing the pros and cons of having a studio in our backyard the work has finally started!

We have selected a building company - who work in steel frame construction sheds, patios etc, and things are happening!

Finally a place to put the canvases, paints, drawing boards, easel and me!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Fun, free and local!

I have just been to an event at the new(ish) book shop at the end of my street, Crow Books
It was great - very well run the wine was from Margaret River - and went down well, however the two women who were serving it up packed up early and were a tad unhappy about giving me and my friend a free wine - we had to ask nicely both times! ... ....hmmmm

The book reading was great! Kim Scott's "That Deadman Dance" was interesting to hear about - from its early influences and conceptualisation. As a bonus the author is a bit of a showman! Yes ! An author that i think maybe excellent guest speaker material! Scott was enjoyable to listen to,  intelligently intellectual without being pompous and a solid reader of his own book.

So thanks  - Writing WA for a great night out !
I am looking forward to the next event !

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thinking about teachers and learners....

1. Remember a teacher who made a difference in your education / life.
2. Consider what it was about that teacher that made the difference for you.
3. Now consider what it was about yourself that made it possible for this teacher to make a difference.

I liked the idea that defining what made the teachers able to make a difference to us was in fact something held within us, the learner, not external to us, as in within the teacher!

So by rewarding teachers externally (with more pay- if you are a good one) it is really only rewarding a person for something that they are only partially involved in creating - the learner is really responsible for creating the 'space' inside themselves to learn ....

 - as they say in facebook;     Like.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Oats Factory - Carlise - giving emerging artists a red hot go!

Melody Smith is running a great new gallery space just near the Carlise train station and over the road from the poly technic west campus on Oats St  ...and who'd have thought 25 years ago there would be anything like this along the railway line out to Armadale! All so close to my beloved East Victoria Park - how exciting!

So I was thrilled to attend an art exhibition opening at the gallery space on Friday 3rd June, of paintings by Roxanne Cox, an emerging Perth artist.

On arrival offered a decent red and provided a detailed artist statement about what the exhibition was aiming to achieve and a price list of the paintings. But that is where I was left to speak..... in an art space on a Friday night .....and it is not such a comfortable situation to be in. Don't get me wrong, Melody Smith is a smooth operator, talented artist in her own right, and she is running a serious contender for the "great new gallery space near Jacsbac's house" award  -so it is a boon for the artistically inclined in the local area. But I was left hanging waiting for the "Art exhibition opening night speech?.

I love those speeches! Let me hear the journey, let me hear about the paintings from the artist (or nominated patron)

If I am going to part with some of my hard earned art investment dollars - (as I have been known to do.... much to the fear and puzzlement of the beanie-wearing defacto-ed one; "you bought what? For how much?") then I feel I need to hear about the exhibition from the mouth of the creative artist themselves (or a nominated patron as I keep saying - that is fine too - I don't want to force any artist who is greatly daunted about speaking publicly to do so) - but as a live event, I want an opening night  exhibition speech! I want to hear about the artworks on the night - particularly as this was Cox's first exhibition - who is she? Why should I care about her paintings? give me an insight that I can't get simply by looking at  the paintings on-line? Talk to me about your special brand of creativity!

An opening night art exhibition speech also is important to set the opening of an exhibition apart from any other of the exhibition dates. I realised fairly quickly into the Friday night gathering, that without an opening night speech, I could have stayed at home under the feather doona and visited the gallery - sans wine and nibbles - on-line! Which I like to do too - but sometimes the need to see and attend to the works in real space, is also vital to their appreciation.

An opening demands a separation from the rest of the exhibition run - and I think this is done via an opening speech for the exhibition!

Whilst we were treated to a lovely array of nibbles and wine - all enjoyed while surrounded by other guests, including gender blurring artist Mathew  Jackson, dressed as a cross between the flying nun and an aging Balinese hawker - I really hope for his exhibition opening he finds a better outfit! Call me, Mathew - lets do lunch - we can go pick outfits together afterwards. He seriously needs some good girlfren' advise!

Anyway....all I am saying is that I think the exhibition needed a good opening night speech - something to bring the gathered together, something for us to ruminate over and perhaps bond with the paintings through, all wrapped up in the shared intimacy of a Friday night art exhibition opening event. apart from the lack of a rousing speech or even a proud friend's enthusiastic words at the opening  - everything else felt like a real art exhibition opening. I hope to make a few more exhibition openings at the very swish Oatsfactory - just next time I will not expect a talk, from anyone
 - just some serious post-modern milling about!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dwellingup Retreat and Arts Weekend

We had a really lovely escape to the forest fringes of Dwellingup-thank you Kathy and Steve for the accommodation and opportunity to relax in comfortable surroundings - with red wine in hand and pot belly roaring our weekend of printmaking, drawing and all things artsy was off to a classic 'arts weekend' start.

Why it means so much to me to have a space to draw..... 
Many years ago I had a small cabin in the forest near Margaret River and I had always said I would do art weekends workshops down there - it was a really lovely spot. There was so much to see, photograph, draw and get inspired by down there, well, the relationship ended and along with it so did the cabin in the forest and the opportunity to draw trees and bushland and sky  - so I had to rethink my space for art weekends and I have been looking for some years to hopefully find another bushland cabin! And just last weekend at Dwellingup I felt I had found it - it was so comfortable and fun it was like I had always thought my Margaret River weekend workshops would be! (its only taken 20 years to move on - don't want to rush these things!).
So thank you Kathy and Steve too - for making your home feel so comfortable and me so welcome that it feels just right to get down there and create my sketches, paintings and prints - I am very privileged to be so welcome in your holiday home in the forest- and I didn't spill any paint on the new carpet!

Anyway,  I love being able to be down there - talking with good friends, meeting and making some new ones too and creating some drawings and art works - it's my meditation time really!

Here are a few of my sketches and prints from my times at D.R.A.W,  (Dwellingup Retreat and Arts Weekend!)   

ink pen sketch - forest gully

Pencil and charcoal  sketch of gum leaves

 Tall Timbers, lino- cut, hand water-coloured

 Dam and Far Treeline. Lino-cut, hand water coloured. 

 I am really looking forward to the next D.R.A.W. gathering in Spring time perhaps?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Dwellingup Dreaming.............

Just getting the last of the supplies in the duffel bag then I am off to the nearest big forest - for a weekend of art, open fires, red wine, drawing and print making ..... nothing I like better!

There is something about the rain arriving and the temperature dropping to 6 degrees (2 degrees in Dwellingup for sure!) that makes me extra pleased to be heading down south to the big green!
I love the bush with rain , actually most of the time I just love the bush - rain, shine or even just a bit overcast is fine with me. 

I get together with a group of friends who all enjoy a scribble and a dabble with all things artsy. 
This photo shows one of a pair of paintings I finished from the last Dwellingup Gathering!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Time warp - its just a jump to left ........

I am unsure if we should be really, really scared and cautious of Facebook and the likes, or if it is just a new form of the old Friday night Police and Citizen's youth groups, so popular with myself and my teen friends in the late 70s to mid 80s.

I mean there was all that unmediated contact with the opposite sex - just like on Facebook, except a lot more up close and personal. Lots of playing games, basket ball, ping-pong and spin the bottle were all favourites of the youths of the various groups I attended - some of our games where obviously better at beating obesity than others ....just like the digital ones the teens play today!  In the 80's some of the games might have even led to a form of temporary weight gain ....for 9 months anyway - yep - that up close and personal!

We had friends act as 'lookouts' posted at the doors of the youth group, and we would all be called down to witness other packs of teens as they cruised by in their spruced up Sandman panel vans and we would either 'friend'  them or not....we usually didn't choose to 'friend' them by shouting after the disappearing panel van such things as "Rack of Normie - you and your mates!"  or other choice words that  have now become immortalised in various song lyrics of the time. "Jump in my car" by Australian band the Ted 'Mulray Gang comes to mind straight away, I am sure he must have attended one of the same youth groups I went to.
We had pecking orders within the groups and experienced heated exchanges with others that could make or break your social status for the following week , month , year.- Just like on Facebook  - and believe me not only at the youth group would the 'socially' be ostracised  - but at the beach, school, deli, local park and the least of Facebook once you've been 'defriended' you can close the computer and walk to the  fridge and eat something, or hang out in lounge with the olds or tidy your sock drawer such luck in the days of the 'reality' youth group, we had to wait until youth group ended and we could catch the bus home or our parents would collect us!  

Today, with the innovation of digital media and twitter-book-face-tubes, etc. we all seem particularly terrified of any unmediated time teens spend digitally, or incidents of cyberbullying, (whilst we continue to ignore 'realtime' real life bullying in the work place, school and our homes.  Is Facebook and the likes such a new threat for our young people? In the past we could share our teen years with a group of similar teens from similar backgrounds with similar homes in a similar suburb, but now - my teens can actually talk with other teens from anywhere in the world - global - viral, however they need to also be connected via google and this huge filter tends to attract teens with similar homes, in similar suburbs in similar social economic I say is it really that different?

Are we frightened of something we do on-line going viral? I remember fronting up fully dressed in skimpy outfits to the local cinema in dingy downtown during the 1980s to watch the Rocky Horror picture show at midnight several Saturday nights in a row - waiting for the moment we could all storm the stage and do the time warp with thousands (OK, 100 tops) of similar zany, scantily dressed young people - wasn't that pretty damn viral? it is the only way I can explain my ability to sing and speak most of the lyrics to the time warp - it must have been a virus I caught !

Is it the fear of the unknown? Cyberworlds are not as known to my generation, we have not had digital texts as a constant in our lives. Teens today have.  If it is unknown to us, is it necessarily dangerous or any worse than what we did as teens? 

I think we have to let teens be teens - yes they will be exposed forever in some cyberworld data bank that will allow instant downloads of what they did at 14 to be endlessly played in some sort of horrific video loop well into their 50s and 60s. But what is the actual harm of seeing footage of teens in shorty shorts, sporting a tattoo of a small colourful dragon and with enough piercings to double as a kitchen colander actually going to do to the reputation of the head of the world bank in 2030? And will anyone care as long as she is running the bank well - besides most of her clients will be friended on Facebook back in the good ol' days, with possibly even more horrifyingly embarrassing footage to suppress - not! 

I still have friends from my youth group days who I know have Kodak Instamatic images of me that they like to pin up every tine we get together for a Saturday night bar-b-cue so we can all gather around the photo board and  point and laugh at the various teen antics we 'wild things' used to get up to, this usually happens just before someone lumbers off to home early due to their bunions, and or arthritis and or the need to get an early night before the kids wake up and we have to run them to gym or soccer.
So how delicious is it to view the photos and slumber away with refreshed memories of what we all used to look like and do in our youth- bliss - I really did have quite a nice bum - just didn't need to expose it towards the camera in the crotchet bikini quite as often as did. But considering what has happened to it now - I am thrilled I have the photographic proof that I too was once young, beautiful and buoyant of bottom! 

I believe my friends are able to laugh and acknowledge that today, in my role as Head of World Bank (Domestic branch) I have moved on - the crotchet bikini is not such a huge embarrassment to me in the board room. However, getting caught up in yet another global financial crisis due to willy-nilly consumerism, might be. I am now expected to know better. Does anyone seriously think that what I wore and did at Friday night youth group has any bearing on what I do and think now?  Will tweeting on Facebook really have any bearing to what our teens will do in their futures? 

....oh....I do know one worrying aspect of my personality that was shaped from those youth group days and perhaps does serve as a warning to our teens today .....I can still dance the time warp  - and usually do so at any opportunity .......its just a jump to left ... and a step to the righ - righ- righ- rightttt .......

Monday, May 2, 2011

Totally Fairbridged Out

Fairbridge is over for another year - it was a great festival with some stand out acts and great dance bands and hoot-nannying into the wee hours, as per my expectations.

I found myself enjoying the band The Brow Horn Orchestra just a bit too much - I am probably not the right demographic they are hoping to attract! They are an unreal mix of Cat Empire meets Hip Hop Rap and the lead singer is a virtuoso on the microphone - rapping his heart out with great diction and lyrics.
They combine a big band sound with a dance beat of Hip Hop- and when they released the inflated beach balls into the crowd we just all felt so loved! Great crowd participation!I liked them a lot and have already seen them at several of their Freo gigs last year - but so happy they were picked up by the Fairbridge Festival selection team!
Had the rare chance to sit in the lovely Fairbridge Chapel for an hour of vocal power with the Good Lovelies from Canada -what a talented trio of beautiful young women - with such gifted voices and mandolin, guitar, harmonica playing skills - all mixed with a bit of cheek and irreverence! Good show in an intimate setting which I think they really suited.
Also loved the one man band - 'wall of sound' - Kim Churchill.....very 'James Blunt' but in a good way....with more funked up bluesy beats to set him apart from being a clever lyric writing pop crooner. Loved his work - the venue for his final show at Fairbridge at Ruby's Wine Bar just didn't do him justice he needed a final fling with his admiring people in one of the big tents where everyone could dance and totally bliss out to his huge sound - he maxed out the speakers and broke a guitar string in his show of pure sound + power.
He is on at a few Fremantle gigs in WA and I hope to see him again - loads of talent. when he draws breath and backs of some of the sound wall I think he will be even better - with experience (he is only 21!) I think he will manage to vary his delivery to more suit the venue and not loose his ability to wow audiences - just needed to come down a notch or two from his thumping sound levels and know that he already had our full attention - fantastic. I loved seeing  someone using looped recordings live on stage  - I have not seen that since a concert in NZ some time ago when the very talented Hinemoana Baker recorded her self singing/speaking and playing an instrument, then played it back on a loop and sang live over her own vocals to create a hauntingly beautiful vocal track - all laid down in front of the audience - like seeing a magician's trick exposed but instead of destroying the magic it just makes you more aware of their awesomeness!

A final mention goes to Red Juliet - great to hear Liz Frencham - still going from strength to strength - love her vocals and bass playing. Really enjoyed the venue and atmosphere at Ruby's on the Sunday morning - good timing for such a gig - I kicked back and rested my dancing knees (yes, sore knees this year....must be the cooler nights and the camping - could not possibly be my advancing age combined with the mosh pit participation of Friday and Saturday night). In aide of my recovery - I enjoyed a decent Devonshire tea and the company of the twangy and talented Red Juliet band - it made for a great Sunday morning coming down to earth, and start to my end of the Fairbridge festival day........



Monday, April 25, 2011

Just about time to folk and roll at Fairbridge !

Its nearly Fairbridge time again  - five more sleeps to the big dance town, music fest fun weekend of my year. wee hoo!

My partner and I have been going to Fairbridge Folk Festival, whenever we can over the past 14 years with our daughter, Tess and various friends and their children. We usually make every second year and we love the weekend. The local musicians, big bands and international guests are always top quality and with various activities, workshops and venues there is always something going on for everyone. I especially like the atmosphere as I am a wannabe singer - Oh how I wish I could sing...I was just not given that particular talent - so I will have to settle for the lesser known inner humming and tapping talent that I do possess, and can get quite a song up in my own head - especially if i get in touch with my inner voice and keep it inside, way , way inside, then the weekend will be a success. Sharing my singing has always been the issue, for others mainly, I am unusually OK with it, audiences on the other hand are usually just not ready for what emerges as tonal squeaking and unpitched bellowing, the grazing animals that have been moved on from the fields at Fairbridge to make way for the camping, usually get it and I have heard them reply to my midnight songs but relax not this year I will keep my inner voice silenced.

Anyway it is always a great atmosphere and we plan another great weekend at Perth's premier Folk Music Festival this coming weekend! Although this year I have become a bit concerned as they have announced that the organisers plan to incorporate a dress up parade in honour of the royal wedding and I think they have misjudged the Fairbridge festival goers, I thought of all the places the Fairbridge Festival would keep away from celebrating such a deeply royalist event, I thought I danced among friends, that we were all 'agin' the kin', anti-royalists. Now I feel I may be shamed into having to stand alongside revellers who will wave a union jack and dance about into the wee hours in a strange outdated colonial Wills and Kate hootenanny.

I am afraid, I don't want any part of it. perhaps instead I dress up in gum tree and sing and tap against the tall jarrahs of the bush and give and inward song to the ancestral people of the Pinjarra land, in celebration of a place before the Fairbridge farms came, before the tall ships and the royal monarchs. I feel no celebration is required, even if I was to get an invite to the Wedding, all white and sharp edged in gilt with royal coats and arms (and that is the guests not the paper invitation) - I wouldn't go.

I'm going to slink off and choose instead to corroborree, elsewhere, down near the river, near the ghost gums, just until the I do part is over, because, I don't.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

I have been thinking about ....teaching and learning and online courses....

In the words of David Thornton (technology and education commentator)

"any teacher who can be replaced by a computer probably deserves to be"

Thinking about what technology has to offer university students and lecturers led me to thinking about how technology changes the society and culture in which it is situated and used - and what online learning will create / change in relation to the nature of learning and teaching.

To paraphrase a question posed by Neil Postman; schools and universities, need to ask not only what the technology can can provide for their teachers and students and what can be gained by having it, but also, what might it take from them too.

What might we, as teachers and educators stand to lose?

things that make me go ....hmmmmmm

Monday, March 28, 2011

posted the picture to entice amanda to New Zealand

The last post I put up was just a photo - and I didn't have time to provide the commentary - so here is some context for the snap shot now.

It was taken in my last week or so in my beloved Hokianga in New Zealand's North of the North Island ...heaven on a stick  that place - I will one day return to spend even more time there.
It is a place where Hone Heke one or the Maori tribal kings arrived and paddled his canoe up the harbour.
It is spectacular - I have been on the harbour in a motor boat but will train and go back to do the paddle.
Best day our horse riding in my life to date!  and I fell off hard too! but still it was wonderful - what a life experience I really loved the opportunity to see the place for horse back with a friend Rob Pink - a local identify who horse rides funds the local polo games, horses, gear training for the local tamariki (kids) and does a range of community based activities in the area. Rob has been n movies riding in adventure outfits around New Zealand but is a down to Earth guy that if you are ever in the Hokianga, in a town named Rawene, stop and ask if he is about- he will organise a trek on horse back that you will never forget - but watch out those horses are pretty wild up there !

Thursday, March 24, 2011

what is it with the planet? Is the Godess dancing?

We have started this year beset with bush fires, earthquakes and tsunami's, the collective suffering has been huge - the Moon has appeared closest to us in 18 years and  we are meant to be in the cycle of  the age of and understanding  - what has happened? 

I think the Goddess is not waving, drowning.

We are surrounded by scurrilous debates on climate change, courtesy of Mr Rabbit, and our man made answer to clean power generation, nuclear power has shown us its mighty pointless use to our home planet,  as we watch on horrified for Japan and its people, animals and food crops, which are all affected and caught up in its slow poisonous unravelling. I have to wonder.........

what on earth are we doing? 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

found another blog I like

My work has got in the way of my social interests once again and another week has gone by without me posting anything new decided to post this link
I found the snippets from this blogger a lot of fun to read ...albeit at times some of the writing almost caused physical pain - I did manage a few laughs in between the grimacing ....   

Friday, February 11, 2011

Context defines the message - always

Just had a great balmy night at Fringe festival event in Perth at the fringes especially erected speighal tent - which is an event in itself - and it was great fun! A fantastic venue, the performance was a pair of women doing some 'punked up' burlesque. They were known as the Wau Wau sisters - they were hysterical, irreverent and very, very , VERY naughty  - in a good way!

It got me thinking about our values surrounding women nudity and crudity, what society tells us is OK when it comes to sexuality and behaviour. what is OK to be exposed to and most importantly when? This was a  18 + event with full nudity, foul language and a trapeze act that if it was book or film instead of a live performance that can only be assembled after the two girls had got into the country, it may have been stopped at the border due to our censorship laws!

I could almost feel the wowsers prickling in the audience - thinking this is just too much - what with the alter, banana and now the trapeze ....whaaa?  I did wonder if any of the prominent Perth churches were aware that they were in town - just at that thought left my head the Sisters plucked an representative from the audience to dress as a woman as they do at these things  - and low and behold if he doesn't work for Save the Children  - you can't pay for irony as good as that! There was closing a scene that depicts the last supper like I have never seen before - or ever will again! but it was funny, amongst a room full of consenting adults all whom were over 18. 
However, the next day I was in line at the shopping counter in the local supermarket and next me me was the magazine rack  - the blazing headline for this month 's Cleo was "ride him like never before - & lose weight while you do" - or something similar  ...I took a double take - I know what I had experienced the night before was way more raunchy and wild in comparison - but just like Abbott says 'context is everything' and I thought pardon me!  I can feel my inner wowser rising a good way ...if you know what I mean.

If I attend a special tent to see burlesque I expect a bit of fun and sexy debauchery in a way that is expressly rehearsed and therefore somehow decent ....but at the supermarket check out? At 10 past three in the afternoon with five women and their toddlers, two out of work accountants flicking matching BMW keys and  three men from the local bowls club getting the afternoon tea  -  I do not appreciate standing next to headlines like that!

Am I wowser or what? And what kind of wowser does it make me? One who finds that good old burlesque is fine - even full frontal nudity can be a hoot in public - but I am very, very over the trashy headlines of Cleo and Cosmo about riding men and loosing weight - and all whilst in a supermarket line !  Really!

I wonder if I could get nude and hook up a trapeze in the supermarket line next week and see if any customers take offense?

Kidding - but context is everything!   

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


“The beautiful part of writing is that you don't have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon”

Robert Cormier, US author

+ but you do have to get it right at some time  - Jac

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Education, teaching and learning - or 'I've been sent where? To teach who?'

I have been reflecting on education, as the school year begins, although I am no longer teaching full time I am still involved in the learning and education field and will start a part time shared role position with schools across a district this year as a coordinator for flexible learning strategies utilising various technologies.

I am hoping not working full time will finally allow me time to reflect on what is important to me about education and teaching. Ironic that I have had to stop full time teaching to get the time and appetite to reflect on teaching ....leaning....hmmmm. Nature of what teachers do - it is a fast forward career, without much built in opportunities for reflection and pondering the big questions that teaching entails.

I remember one issue that I have debated with colleagues is about how we attract good teachers to poor schools, isolated schools, difficult to staff regions, with at times violent situations amongst the community population - and on occasion populations who are not always pleased to see new teachers in their community..... My personal experiences of beginning teaching was of being sent 24 hours drive north from my hometown to teach secondary students aged between 13 and 17,  at age 21. It was a remote northern coastal town and I was considered very lucky - it was a large population mining town - so relatively wealthy and well catered for in regards to social services and general amenities. However it did set me up for some life shattering, sink or swim experiences, that I was probably too young and naive to fully appreciate their complexities and nature at the time. The community was at times nomadic and sadly prone to violence within the school and the wider town community - I witnessed my first knifing incident - (not too serious thank heavens) by a student of a staff member whilst at the school and I was once attacked and abused outside the school context whilst at the local community shops, eventually fending off my assailant with the offer of some cigarettes, we ended up both in the dust having a smoke together!
There is more.... but I won't go into those for now.
so is it still appropriate - 25  years on - to continue this practice of sending new and green graduates to remote areas? Or is there another way?  

A variety of solutions are always presented - give them a generous financial allowance, free fights home and back each school year, build better accommodation, resource the schools more, give them a fee access to cars, offer really good promotions/ positions when they return to less difficult schools, and locations.

All of these solutions carry some merit, but at their core they are temporary and based on principals other than what is best for the  learning outcomes for the various needs of the communities, the long term solution for good educational outcomes in isolated or remote locations and the support for often only newly qualified teachers still need sto be addressed. There needs to be a solution that meets these issues head on, community ownership of the learning and education, long term consistently and quality of service delivery in isolated regions and appropriate duty of care, mentoring and positive experiences for our newly appointed teachers entering the system.

Anyway I wanted to share this interesting video.  I found it a really interesting proposition/solution for some of the really big issues that many school systems face, such as the sort outlined above.

Not everyone who commented on this video saw it as useful - but I thought it was a a pretty positive start. (Plus I get to practice putting a link into my blog - so let me know if it doesn't work).

Thanks to the TED site - it continues to inspire, delight, sometimes enrage and push me to be more thoughtful in what I do and be.....

Now I must get on with some billable hours of writing for education - enough of this meandering and reflection - I need to get on with writing about what is new and happening in teaching and learning today!

Hmmm ...where did I put that book on de-schooling society by Ivan Illich....1970......


Monday, January 24, 2011

I've been thinking about .......

......having a go at blogging for a while now so I am very excited about finally doing something about it
jacsbac is a space to reflect on my interests which include art, education, technology, relationships and travel.
I hope that this blog site is a reflective space in which I can share and think about some of  the experiences I have had so far and some of the new ones yet to be experienced!

I am looking forward to a new work role in 2011 and finally getting a studio built to house some of the burgeoning art canvases, drawings and furniture that I have been accumulating since returning to my house on the hill. I also hope to get better at determining goals for myself and my life /work balance satisfaction scale.

I would love to have you comment on my blog as I enjoy the thoughts and insights of others.