Arts & Culture

First Nations dancers are stepping into the void left by Australia’s politicians

In the space of a few short weeks, I have seen two world premieres of dance theatre by First Nations artists: Le Dernier Appel (The Last Cry) and plenty serious TALK TALK. Both put front and centre the lived experience of Indigenous peoples at a… Justine Shih Pearson The Conversation Australians are still waiting for a serious political conversation in response to last year’s momentous Uluru Statement from the Heart. This has been topped off, most recently, by the appointment ... Read More »

Lesson from Brazil: Museums are not forever

We now know what history going up in flames looks like. On Sept. 2, the National Museum of Brazil lit up Rio de Janeiro’s night sky. Chip Colwell The Conversation Perhaps started by an errant paper hot air balloon landing on the roof or a short circuit in a laboratory, the fire gutted the historic 200-year-old building. Likely gone are a collection of resplendent indigenous ceremonial robes, the first dinosaur found in South America, Portuguese royal furniture, ancient Egyptian mummies, ... Read More »

How will Indigenous people be compensated for lost native title rights? The High Court will soon decide

Today, the High Court of Australia will begin hearing the most significant case concerning Indigenous land rights since the Mabo and Wik native title cases in the 1990s. Authors: The Conversation For the first time, the High Court will consider how to approach the question of compensation for the loss of traditional land rights. The decision will have huge implications for Indigenous peoples who have lost their land rights and for the state and territory governments responsible for that loss. ... Read More »

The case to set aside one day of the year to remember our great artists

In Australia, we hold state funerals for political leaders, however divisive or unloved they may have been while they lived.  And we grieve the departure of sporting greats. Julian Burnside Daily Review Perhaps we should set aside one day each year to remember great Australian artists who have died during the past year. So far in 2018, a significant number of great creative Australian talents have died: painters Charles Blackman (b. 1928) and Mirka Mora (b.1928); photographer Polixeni Papapetrou (b. 1960); cartoonists: Jeff Hook ... Read More »

German far right fuels Muslim ‘takeover’ fears

A series of violent crimes committed by refugees is unsettling the nation. By MATTHEW KARNITSCHNIG Politico BERLIN — Can Germany survive Islam? That question is once again at the center of the country’s public discourse amid the violent protests that followed last week’s brutal killing of a German man, allegedly at the hands of two Muslim refugees, and the publication of a new book titled “Hostile Takeover, how Islam halts progress and… On Saturday, about 11,000 people (8,000 right-wing and far-right protesters ... Read More »

Brazil museum fire: ‘incalculable’ loss as 200-year-old Rio institution gutted

The Museu Nacional houses artefacts from Egypt, Greco-Roman art and some of the first fossils found in Brazil Dom Phillips The Guardian Brazil’s oldest and most important historical and scientific museum has been consumed by fire, and much of its archive of 20 million items is believed to have been destroyed. The fire at Rio de Janeiro’s 200-year-old National Museum began after it closed to the public on Sunday and raged into the night. There were no reports of injuries, ... Read More »

The Mystery of People Who Speak Dozens of Languages

What can hyperpolyglots teach the rest of us? Judith Thurman The New Yorker One researcher of language acquisition describes her basic question as “How do I get a thought from my mind into yours?” Last May, Luis Miguel Rojas-Berscia, a doctoral candidate at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, in the Dutch city of Nijmegen, flew to Malta for a week to learn Maltese. He had a hefty grammar book in his backpack, but he didn’t plan to open it ... Read More »

How we showed Homer’s Odyssey is not pure fiction, with a little help from Facebook

When you look at networks of people, whether it’s architects or table tennis players or a regular bunch of Facebook friends, they will have certain similarities. Authors: The Conversation They tend to confirm the “six degrees of separation” idea that most people are connected in a few very short steps. Each person tends to have large numbers of connections and to associate with people who are similar to them. The networks are also usually organised into hierarchies. In fiction – ... Read More »

‘Sword and Scimitar’ Offers In-Depth Study of Landmark Battles Between Islam and the West

..Middle East Forum director Gregg Roman recently interviewed Raymond Ibrahim, formerly the associate director of the Forum and currently the Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow. By Raymond Ibrahim Middle East Forum Ibrahim’s new book, Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West—a featured selection of the History Book Club and current best seller in several Amazon categories—was released earlier this week and is… ‘Sword and Scimitar… Read More »

Trust Me, I’m An Expert: How augmented reality may one day make music a visual, interactive experience

You probably heard your first strains of music when you were in utero. From then on it’s helped you learn, helped you relax, hyped you up, helped you work, helped you exercise, helped you celebrate and helped you grieve. Authors: The Conversation Music is ingrained in so many aspect of our lives, but it’s also the subject of a significant body of academic work. Today’s episode of Trust Me, I’m An Expert is all about research on music. We’ll be ... Read More »

Labyrinthine investigation concludes the Minotaur’s lair never existed

Long held to be a known archaeological site, the Labyrinth of Crete was never built, says a new study. Fotis Kapetopoulos reports. Since the late nineteenth century, archaeologists, documentary-makers and novelists have asserted that the Cretan Labyrinth – the lair of the terrifying Minotaur – was a real place. But now a major paper suggests that the legendary maze was just that – legend, a figment of collective imagination. The labyrinth is popularly held to have been in the Palace ... Read More »

Cate Blanchett urges UN to act on Rohingya Muslim refugees

Oscar-winning actor Cate Blanchett has told the UN Security Council that nothing prepared her for “the extent and depth of suffering” she saw when she visited camps in Bangladesh for Rohingya Muslim refugees who fled a… The Australian AP In her very different role as a goodwill ambassador for the UN refugee agency, Blanchett said she heard “gut-wrenching accounts” of torture, rape, people seeing loved ones killed before their eyes, and… “I am a mother, and I saw my children ... Read More »

Sinkholes: When the Earth Opens Up

The ground beneath our feet, our highways, and our cities appears to be very sturdy. Alan Taylor The Atlantic But, on rare occasions, that solid ground can simply open up without warning, dropping whatever it was supporting into an unpredictably deep hole. An undiscovered cavern or abandoned mine might collapse, or a broken water main or heavy storm might cause erosion, until the surface becomes a thin shell that drops away all at once. Sinkholes can be anywhere from a ... Read More »

China Is Treating Islam Like a Mental Illness

The country is putting Muslims in internment camps—and causing real psychological damage in the process. Sigal Samuel The Atlantic One million Muslims are being held right now in Chinese internment camps, according to estimates cited by the UN and U.S. officials. Former inmates—most of whom are Uighurs, a largely Muslim ethnic minority—have told reporters that over the course of an indoctrination process lasting several months, they were forced to renounce Islam, criticize their own Islamic beliefs and those of fellow inmates, and recite Communist ... Read More »

Au revoir Mirka Mora, your joie de vivre will live on

Mirka Mora has left us, at the age of 90. She will be missed by her family and friends, who recall her sunny personality and formidable appetite for life. Sabine Cotte The Conversation But for all art lovers, her work will continue to shine in the city she contributed so much to: in front of Melbourne’s Flinders Street Station, at St Kilda Pier, on the walls of the Tolarno restaurant… In reflecting on Mirka’s life and work we should remember ... Read More »

Explainer: why the rock art of Murujuga deserves World Heritage status

The West Australian government has committed to pursuing a World Heritage listing for the rock art of Murujuga. Jo McDonald The Conversation Murujuga is the Aboriginal name for the Dampier Archipelago and the Burrup Peninsula in north west WA and is home to at least a million individual works of art. Australia has some of the world’s richest and most diverse rock art. While rock art is found all around the globe, Australia is relatively unique because here there are ... Read More »