Arts & Culture

Fresh Thinking on Autism

The documentary film “Deej” challenges us all to live inclusion. Deej, a Peabody Award-winning and Emmy-nominated feature-length documentary, offers fresh perspectives on autism, inclusion, disability, and neurological diversity. Jason Tougaw Psychology Today A collaboration between Director Rob Rooy and Writer/Producer David James Savarese, the film has aired on PBS and at festivals across the country, where it has garnered numerous awards. Savarese—also known as DJ or Deej—is the primary subject of the documentary. While the film is about his experience and education as the first non-… Fresh ... Read More »

What philosophers have to say about eating meat

WeWork, a co-working and office space company, recently made a company policy not to serve or reimburse meals that include meat. Joan McGregor The Conversation WeWork’s co-founder and chief culture officer, Miguel McKelvey, said in an email that it was the company’s attempt at reducing its carbon footprint. His moral arguments are based on the devastating environmental effects of meat consumption. Research has shown that meat and dairy production are among the worst culprits when it comes to the production ... Read More »

Giants: why we needed them

Think of any sizeable water gap. It might be that between you and the island many kilometres off the coast, a place like Kangaroo Island (South Australia) or Sri Lanka as viewed from nearby India. Patrick D. Nunn The Conversation It might be the gap between Wales and Ireland, or that separating France from England. Were I to tell you that someone once walked across that gap, you might look askance at me, maybe fear for my sanity. But if ... Read More »

What makes a good friend?

Good friendships seem worth celebrating. But for many of us, tensions can appear from time to time between being a good friend and doing “the right thing.” Alexis Elder The Conversation When faced with, for example, a situation where it’s tempting to lie to cover for a friend, it can seem as though friendship and morality are on a collision course. I am an ethicist who works on issues involving friendship, so this tension is of great interest to me. ... Read More »

Your choice of holiday destination is a political act

Tickets, money, passports! We all know what to check for during that last minute packing panic. Brendan Canavan The Conversation But preparing for your holidays is about more than what you squeeze into your suitcase. It is about making a political choice. Tourism is an industry tied up with national and international politics like no other. Tourists are a source of foreign exchange, governments promote themselves through visitors, and politicians quite often worry about the social freedom that tourism can ... Read More »

Why I love my library and you should too

When I talk to people about libraries, they either tell me how much they love their local or confess they haven’t set foot in one for years. Caitlin Fitzsimmons Brisbane Times If you’re the type of person who used to read but somehow no longer has the time, or if you only ever buy e-books these days, it’s easy to imagine that you’re riding a trend and libraries are on the wane. But you’d be wrong. I’ve been going to ... Read More »

Why the mainstream media should stop giving extreme views a platform

In recent weeks, a number of quite astounding articles have appeared in the British press. These have included among others, a Times columnopining the benefit to Britain in the current climate of having a political leader like Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin or Recep Tayyip Erdoğan; referred to as… Chris Allen The Conversation In the Daily Telegraph, a similarly toned piece contemplated the reinstatement of the death penalty after Brexit. Somewhat appealing to the lowest common denominator, these and similar articles prompt questions ... Read More »

Acute Misfortune first-look review – Adam Cullen biopic is an enthralling, complex triumph

With a brilliant performance by Daniel Henshall, this hauntingly poetic film asks if we celebrate the wrong kind of people Luke Backmaster The Guardian Does Australia celebrate the wrong kind of people, and the wrong kind of art? This question bounced around my mind for days after watching Acute Misfortune – a beautifully made and intensely thoughtful portrait of the life of controversial Archibald-winning painter Adam Cullen, based on the journalist and Saturday Paper editor Erik Jensen’s wild and compelling ... Read More »

Neil Sedaka’s 1975 song revived for anti-immigrant era

Neil Sedaka is an American singer-songwriter who has written dozens of hit songs. Many of them he sang himself. Others are better known in cover versions by artists ranging from Elvis Presley to Ariana Grande. Robert Morrison The Conversation Sedaka’s wholesome image and infectious cheerfulness are easy to slight and have too often belied an extraordinary career. His song “The Immigrant” was a Top 30 hit when he released it in 1975, but today it seems even more relevant, as ... Read More »

Friday essay: the ‘great Australian silence’ 50 years on

It’s 50 years since the anthropologist WEH Stanner gave the 1968 Boyer Lectures — a watershed moment for Australian history. Stanner argued that Australia’s sense of its past, its very collective memory, had been built on a… Anna Clark The Conversation It is a structural matter, a view from a window which has been carefully placed to exclude a whole quadrant of the landscape. What may well have begun as a simple forgetting of other possible views turned under habit ... Read More »

Ancient Greek music: now we finally know what it sounded like

In 1932, the musicologist Wilfrid Perrett reported to an audience at the Royal Musical Association in London the words of an unnamed professor of Greek with musical leanings: “Nobody has ever made head or tail of ancient Greek music, and nobody ever will. That… Armand D’Angour The Conversation Indeed, ancient Greek music has long posed a maddening enigma. Yet music was ubiquitous in classical Greece, with most of the poetry from around 750BC to 350BC – the songs of Homer, ... Read More »

The lifesaving power of gratitude (or, why you should write that thank you note)

Gratitude may be more beneficial than we commonly suppose. One recent study asked subjects to write a note of thanks to someone and then estimate how surprised and happy the recipient would feel – an impact that they consistently underestimated. Richard Gunderman The Conversation Another study assessed the health benefits or writing thank you notes. The researchers found that writing as few as three weekly thank you notes over the course of three weeks improved life satisfaction, increased happy feelings ... Read More »

I didn’t want to write this, but the courage to listen to different ideas is vanishing

After a week in which we lost Fairfax and the Brisbane Writers festival banned writers, we need more than ever places where we can listen and reflect on different perspectives. Richard Flanagan The Guardian A writer, if they are doing their work properly, rubs against the grain of conventional thinking. Writers are often outcasts, heretics and marginalised. Once upon a time writers’ festivals celebrated them, and with them the values of intellectual freedom and freedom of debate. Writing that mattered ... Read More »

Mentorship key to encouraging Indigenous students into higher degrees

It took the encouragement of two mentors for Indigenous university student Graham Akhurst to even consider the possibility of enrolling in a higher degree by research. Lucy Stone Brisbane Times Now a master of philosophy student at the University of Queensland, Mr Akhurst said without that encouragement, it would never have crossed his mind to keep studying – it just wasn’t an option. Mr Akhurst’s story is representative of what a new report says is needed to boost the small ... Read More »

Go ahead, white Australia, eat your kebabs while you remind us of your ‘values’

When I think about white fragility and its moral pretensions I marvel at the great hoax of it all Randa Abdel-Fattah The Guardian I know who I am. Most racialised people do. History matters to us. We know that the answers to who we are as a nation lie in a story that did not start with the last election or 9/11 or Tampa or deaths in custody or the stolen generations. We know that if we were to approach the ... Read More »

Jaimen Hudson: Wheelchair-bound filmmaker to dive with great whites in new film

His spectacular videos showcasing the southern coastline of Western Australia and the wildlife that call it home have been devoured on social media. Daile Cross WAtoday Images of dolphins frolicking in pristine waves near Esperance and a stand up paddle boarder getting up close and personal with a majestic whale are among the most well known of the images captured by Jaimen Hudson.  Around 250 million views of his videos is an impressive tally. He uses drones to make his films, ... Read More »