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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Kindness is still everything

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 05 September 2017
    20 Comments

    The old grey mare she ain't what she used to be: so the song says. Well, I'm definitely grey, but thought I was trotting along satisfactorily on the sands of time until about a month ago, when I was calmly crossing a Kalamata street. I remember stepping on to the pavement, and then nothing more until a passerby was helping me up and dabbing rather ineffectually at my face and shirtfront. There was blood everywhere.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Tomatoes, harbour

    • Rory Harris
    • 22 August 2017
    1 Comment

    tomatoes you fade into the hospital white above your head a row of floral Hallmark cards as a husband’s garden once filled every available backyard space with colour the glasshouse arrived after retirement

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  • MEDIA

    Encryption and liberties on the 'ungovernable' internet

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 14 July 2017
    6 Comments

    Turnbull's attitude echoes the fear all autocracies have: that control is slipping away, and that citizens cannot be trusted to behave in a modern communications environment without government intrusions. Arguments are repeatedly made that such enlarged powers are never abused - a charmingly naive assumption - and that law enforcement authorities merely need the 'capacity' to have them. These can either abate, or be extended, after a review. The reality tends to be different.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Cultural ownership and responsibility is not just a fad

    • Esther Anatolitis
    • 04 October 2016
    10 Comments

    Who owns a cultural object? Who has the right to determine cultural values? And how can public institutions exercise cultural responsibility? It's a timely set of questions as we consider the implications of the National Gallery of Australia's return of ancient Indian sculptures, the British Museum's refusal to return Indigenous objects, or Lionel Shriver's rejection of minority cultural identities. Each of these unleashes complex, painful consequences that can undermine cultural value or cultural safety.

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  • MEDIA

    Breaking out of the social media echo chamber

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 29 July 2016
    2 Comments

    Though the internet has stretched and expanded the number of people and places we have access to, it has also constrained the range of ideas and opinions to which we're exposed. Research has found that Facebook users tend to read and share information that reinforces their own beliefs. This phenomenon has been particularly noticeable in the past month, with the emotion whipped up by the Brexit campaign, the election, and a spate of shocking, apparently Isis-related killings.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Ai Weiwei is the cultural hero that China needs

    • Jeremy Clarke
    • 16 December 2015
    3 Comments

    Ai Weiwei might be more Dada than Dao and a hirsute satirist of Beijing's rulers, but he is no mere trending hashtag. Since his birth in 1957, his life history has moulded him, and given him the courage to speak up for a reformed China. And while he might appear the court jester that a simplistic West wants, he is in fact a clever and pragmatic political operator in his own world pursuing a rights agenda in a systematic, constructive and humorous way, often through artistic production.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Moral injury and the recalibration of priorities

    • Fatima Measham
    • 18 September 2015
    5 Comments

    French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has stirred controversy over cartoons depicting Aylan Kurdi. Superficially it appears this is about the bounds of propriety, but the hard truth is that body of a three-year old refugee cannot be a holy relic that is untouchable. What is the point of being miserable over things we cannot control?

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Australia's 'stop the boats' policy as iconic

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 21 May 2015
    18 Comments

    The world is gazing with astonishment at our single-minded way of dealing with people who come to us for protection. It is iconic, now that nations in the region have adopted it. The modern understanding of icons as embodying qualities people desire differs from the Byzantine approach in which traditional religious icons do not impress us with their dominance over their environment, but draw us to their eyes.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    A brief history of not drawing Muhammad

    • Philip Harvey
    • 18 February 2015
    10 Comments

    Why ban an image of Muhammad? Why is he an image-free zone? The answer is not primarily political or artistic but theological. The clue is in a statute of a meeting of bishops called the Second Council of Nicea. This may seem obscure and unimportant, but the bishops weren't obscure and the issue was whether or not humans can make an image of God. The outcome was decisive in the history of world art.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Suitcase crammed with affluence

    • Jena Woodhouse
    • 25 November 2014
    8 Comments

    What they thought could not be read in faces pinched with need. They plodded on, a ragged band of hungry, thirsty refugees, hoping for a crust of bread ... Perhaps tomorrow, there'd be grapes and oranges awaiting them; farmers who would pay in kind for harvesting.

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  • RELIGION

    Not a good time to be Catholic

    • Kevin Donnelly
    • 28 August 2014
    34 Comments

    Growing up in working class Broadmeadows in a Housing Commission estate with a communist father and a Catholic mother – mass on Sunday and the Eureka Youth Movement on Tuesday – taught me first hand about two of the most influential and powerful forces of the 20th century.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    This little app

    • Various
    • 24 June 2014
    2 Comments

    This little app drives the car for you while you're texting. This little app pushes the child on the swing while you're tweeting. This little app thanks the bus-driver, the taxi-driver, the butcher. This little app watches the movie and eats the popcorn while you're messaging. This little app talks to the neighbour, the carpenter, the courier. This little app makes eye contact with passers-by.

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