Arts and Letters Report: January/February 2016

By Jennifer Ann DAVIES

NCWQ Arts and Letters Adviser


LITERATURE – How to read!


“…The reader became the book; and summer night

Was like the conscious being of the book.” Wallace Stevens.


There is no single way to read well, though there is a prime reason why we should read.

Reading well…is…the most healing of pleasures…It returns you to otherness…

Critics and masters, Samuel Johnson and William Hazlitt practise their art to make what is IMPLICIT in a book finely EXPLICIT!

The wonderful, wise, nourishing and beautiful writing of Harold BLOOM, in “HOW TO READ AND WHY” warns us to leave behind ideological expectations in order NOT to defraud our still developing selves, cognitively and aesthetically! P.23

Dr Johnson advised: “Clear your mind of cant!”

That WAS c a n t.

Cant:   -speech overflowing with pious platitudes, the peculiar vocabulary of a sect or coven.

Our own universities have empowered the covens of gender, sexuality and multiculturalism.

How can the Language of these covens replace ‘original’, beautiful, rich parody and literature?

The idiosyncratic must be considered!

Bloom states that as an authentic reader, you will automatically illuminate others – let self improvement suffice and do not attempt to improve others!

Self-trust, usually, cannot come without years of deep reading.

Bloom argues that not only are Shakespeare’s works still pervasive, but also that his works contain “…every principle of reading…” and that Shakespeare’s DIFFERENCE is a cognitive power, posited by him, received by us – “…in a quest of a mind more original than our own…”.

The writer then claims that the loss of irony is the death of reading! p.25

“Look at Dickenson, Johnson, Emerson, Montaigne, Thomas Mann…irony – ironic juxtapositions! However – IRONY demands a certain attention span, and the ability to sustain antithetical ideas, even when they collide with each other!”

“READ DEEPLY,” writes Bloom, “…not to believe, not to accept, not to contradict, but to learn to share in that one nature that writes and reads.”

This text bridges worlds and bonds readers. It is devoured, pondered and studied in both the academic and lay worlds of myriad readers.

“How to Read and Why”, BLOOM, Harold, Touchstone, New York NY 10020, 2001.


LITERATURE – Love, Friendship and Hope!

Poignant, topical yet thematically timeless, a story of exile and survival…

Beautifully written, funny, disturbing, heart-breaking….and at times, familiar –

“BLACK MAMBA BOY” is a vivid tale of love, friendship and boundless Hope!

Nadifa MOHAMED begins….”I tell this story of war and of my father, I tell you because no-one else will…”

“…oversized glasses perched on his bulbous nose; his ma’awis hitched up around his knees. To see his knees buckling under the weight of his thin body hurts me, but I respect those knees for walking across continents, for wading through the Red Sea……I will sing the song of those knees…I am my father’s griot, this is a hymn to him….”

“Black Mamba Boy”, MOHAMED, Nadifa, Harper Collins, London, W6 8JB, 2010


LITERATURE – Action and International Intrigue!

Action careens between Moscow, Helsinki, Athens, Rome and Washington D.C. in a masterful thriller lifted from the dossiers of intelligence agencies on either side of the Atlantic.

“Red Sparrow” delivers spell-binding intrigue and authenticity and insider detail, from veteran CIA officer and author, Jason MATTHEWS. 

Interestingly, in addition to primary themes, woven with threads of multi-linguistic flavours – “Dobre vecher, dyadya…” another strand emerges, when the heroine, Russian Dominika Egorova, is popped upon the page in front of the Reader! Dominika is an only child – her mother, concert-master in the Moscow State Symphony; passionate and spectacular, she was thwarted in the cold-blooded, delusional, over-managed system which promoted toads and dismissed the energetic, enlivened, beautiful, creative Aliveness that morphed into dismissal, danger and/or death for the genuinely talented!

Dominika’s father is quieter, avoiding controversy, even though he rejected the imbalance and illogic of the Soviet system, and despised the top-heavy, favouritism of the cheloveki – the insider’s sloth and self-indulgence that crushed the human spirit, and robbed Russians of their lives, country, their patrimony… p.25

As a five year old, Dominika demonstrated evidence of a prodigious memory – reciting Pushkin – identifying each concerto of the wonderful Tchaikovsky – seeing the music in colours – hearing stories and words in colour – a fascinating character – a fascinating synesthete! Simon & Schuster, London, UK, 2013.

Literature – an AUSSIE find! ‘FATHER BOB’!!

Sydney’s Sue WILLIAMS has authored a lively, honest, revealing book “Father Bob” – The Larrikin Priest! – copyrighted and first published by Penguin Australia in 2013, this wonderfully Australian life story is prefaced thus…..

“All that is required for evil to prevail

Is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund BURKE.

This is a favourite quote, repeated with absolute conviction, throughout this engaging life story of Father Bob Macguire!

Radical? Zany? Idiosyncratic? Unusual! Loving! Bursting at the seams with a genuine common humanity – a great read!

A true Wordsmith; sad child; replanted Celt, like so many of us, this extraordinary human being is happy to have published “…the good and the bad…warts ‘n’ all….the saintly and the devilish…”

In addition to the delightful subject and ethos, reflection our own, Williams has interwoven and underpinned the very personal with substantial socio-cultural history, solidifying a rare and non-inflated validity in a grand piece of Australian literature!

ART VIEW – Visual Arts – Cairns Regional Gallery

I have mentioned The Climbing Tree prior to this – however, the display is still open!

Internationally recognised artist, Hiromi TANGO, established her career in art, focussing on sculpture, photography, video and performance, and her art practice encourages audience participation via workshops and sessions.

ART MAGIC: THE CLIMBING TREE is a sculptural installation that extends floor-to-ceiling, with sprawling branches and brightly coloured tendrils that will continue to ‘grow’ throughout the exhibition!   All Welcome!



Displayed in Cairns until 13th March 2016

Cairns Regional Gallery

This wonderful TREAT was developed by Rockhampton Art Gallery, to showcase their remarkable


Supported by Museums & Galleries Queensland

the collection is now touring to venues

in Queensland and interstate!

Some of the regional galleries included in the tour are in:

  • Caloundra
  • Tweed
  • Gladstone
  • Dubbo
  • Winton
  • Mackay
  • Cairns

This is a wonderful opportunity for those of us in Regional Queensland!

CREAM chronicles the development of modernism in Australia and articulates its stylistic diversity and influences. This begins with Grace Cossington Smith’s Drapery in the studio 1940, which demonstrates the predominance of post-impressionism and European influences in Australian art at that time. It also indicates an end point for Euro-centric influences and the new era of a truly Australian style!

Dynamics change and choices become more abundant – Salut! to our Regional Gallery and its gradual, though obvious growth!


‘The Phantom’ – Cairns Civic Centre


Performances to be announced next Newsletter

Some wonderful work is being done at junior levels in the world of theatre/drama/the arts! I hope to be able to bring you further details by the end of this first academic semester!!

Arts and Letters Report: November/December 2015

By Jennifer Ann DAVIES

NCWQ Arts and Letters Adviser



A book about hope and human resilience……again and again people who have been through terrible, unimaginable horrors……can smile…tell jokes, they can be compassionate to others. They look to the future. The human spirit is amazing……Author Jo COTTERILL “Looking at the Stars” Penguin Random House UK 2015

“Once, when I was little, I had a story book.

A real book, with pages and pictures…

It was about a mouse who was a detective, and he went

everywhere looking for clues.

I loved that book so much….

It was old and battered….Potta had found it

on a rubbish dump.

I treasured that book –

not just because it was a thing
that belonged to me,

but also because it gave me a glimpse of another world.

Amina, the storyteller – p.246:Ch.17



Angharad PRICE, author of “The Life of Rebecca Jones” posits a poignant portrait of ‘home’ – of ‘place’ – relaying her story of a tiny rural community in the Maesglasau valley in Wales, where her family has farmed the land for a thousand years.

Delivered with haunting dignity and simple intimacy, this beautiful work of fiction was an instant classic when first published in Welsh! –

I wish to insert, here, the fact that I am having difficulty finding Australian works which give readers/viewers a sense of beauty, of hope, of place, of timelessness and of rich histories. One element of this absence is the sheer ‘youth’ of our own beautiful country – yet there are other elements and my hope is that more Australian writers, and more Australian women, in particular find their ‘voice’, to present, promote, posit the beautiful, the hopeful, the vital sense of ‘place’ and can tell us tales that are timeless and rich……..

Angharad PRICE, born near Caernarfon, is a novelist, critic and translator, as well as a senior lecturer in Welsh at Bangor University. One thematic strand of her work is that of a connection with or love for one’s native area, celebrated in poetry. One such poet, the author’s Uncle Baldwyn, was a favourite. The following is in praise of his native area’s beauty – the symbology is simple, evident and evocative.

The Pillow

The pillow’s a white altar – slowly

The day’s late sacrifices smoulder,

And light smoke rises softly

As dreams to happy realms.



“SISTER” written by an insightful woman, Rosamund LUPTON (Piatkus UK 2010), engages the reader from first to last page! Suspense crackles and twists and turns proceed thick and fast – however, this is blended, unusually, with a touching poignancy that brings tears to your eyes, and incorporates, for example, a startling verse from ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’ Christina Rossetti (1830-1894). This novel is an emotionally gripping and rather frightening debut from Lupton, and is very, very clever. The ties that bind two sisters are indelibly, amazingly, interesting……


I have had Russian visitors and have been gifted the most beautiful, precious copies of Pushkin’s poetry and prose; children’s tales, told for Aloysha Tolstoy! – a range of other revered writers and Chekov’s plays!

Of particular interest, is the Foreword to Chekov’s plays. Chekov is posited as “…the gentlest and most impersonal of all the great modern dramatists….” who, though addicted to ‘culture’, and endeavouring to combat the encroaching mediocrity, vulgarity and illiteracy of his times, did not want to generate further hypocrisy or falsehoods, and promoted, by the content of his works and his own behaviours and attitudes, “…a mystical compound of humanity, decency, kindness, intelligence, education, accomplishment and will…”. His plays, then, express life through subtle construction, everyday dialogue, and an electrically charged atmosphere in which even the most casual words and actions assume great importance.

“What makes his work great is that it can be FELT and understood not only by any Russian but by anybody in the world.” Leo TOLSTOY.



There are many wonderful ‘end of year’ events in the Art world – however, most are yet to come!

This week I will attend the opening of the exhibition: ART MAGIC: THE CLIMBING TREE by Hiromi TANGO – an internationally recognised artist who creates large-scale installation works, most usually developed in collaboration with local community groups.

Hiromo has worked in liaison with local artist, Hayley GILLESPIE, and the exhibition will be housed in the Loft!

Once installed, the sculptural installation will extend floor to ceiling, with sprawling branches and brightly coloured tendrils that will continue to ‘grow’ throughout the exhibition. (20th November 2015 – 7th February 2016). Gallery visitors will be encouraged to create environmental elements that will be progressively incorporated into the magical rainforest!!!! Lots of fun!!


Blessings and Magick for the Christmas Season!


Education Adviser Report April 2014


By Helen McAllister


Early Childhood Australia (QLD Branch ) invites you to join ECA in celebrating the launch of Under Eight’s Week and AGM, Wednesday 21 May 2014.

Guest speakers for the evening include Associate Professor Beverley Fluckiger, Associate Professor Julie Dunn, both from the Griffith University, Samantha Page, Early Childhood Australia CEO, Emma King -ECA Queensland Branch. It will be an enjoyable, informative evening and we look forward to seeing you there. Early Childhood Australia (Qld Branch).

Early Childhood Australia supports move to improve subsidies for early learning (May 1, 2014 media statement

The national children’s peak body Early Childhood Australia (ECA) has welcomed the Commission of Audit’s recommendation to merge the child care rebate and the child care benefit into one payment. However, ECA CEO Samantha Page has cautioned that the structure of the system mustn’t leave families worse off, especially those on lower household incomes. The calculation provided by the Commission of Audit, capping subsidies at $12,000 at the lowest end of the system, will leave families using fulltime care thousands of dollars worse off. ‘We are glad the report authors recognised the complexity of the current system and the issues of having two payments available to families’, said ECA CEO Samantha Page. ‘We have supported this move in our submission to the Commission of Audit, especially if it was paid directly to providers. By streamlining payments and paying subsidies to services, we can reduce out of pocket expenses for families and make long day more accessible.’

The Commission of Audit has also recommended that in-home care models such as nannies should be subsidised under the revised system to provide parents more flexibility.

The recommendation to introduce a voucher system for access to accredited early childhood services in Indigenous communities is another concern to ECA. ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are more than twice as likely to be developmentally vulnerable than non-Indigenous children. However, there is a strong evidence base that participation in high quality early childhood education and care services can turn this around’ said Ms Page. ‘ECA is concerned that by replacing funded programs with a voucher system, it will significantly impact our most vulnerable children.’

ECA supports the move to reduce the Paid Parental Leave scheme and increase investment in early childhood education and care services.

Application of a work, training, study test to the revised subsidy system will have a significant impact on disadvantaged children accessing early childhood programs for development purposes, where their parents are not working. These children will not be eligible for any support.

Other recommendations that impact on low-income households will have a major effect on the developmental outcomes of children in those environments

Childcare centre ratings and assessment process streamlined
Childcare centres will face a streamlined assessment and ratings process from 1 July, with federal Assistant Education Minister Sussan Ley signing off with states and territories on a new regulatory regime. The ministerial council agreed to work with the national childcare regulator, the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority, to improve the assessment and rating process.

[Sunday 13 April 2014  – Media Release]

The Hon Christopher Pyne  MP Minister for Education Leader of the House.

The Government will release a response to the review by Dr Kemp and Mr Norton

The review of the demand driven funding system report, conducted by Dr David Kemp and Mr Andrew Norton, was released today. The review was commissioned in November 2013 to examine the impact of the demand driven system on higher education provision. The report makes 19 findings and provides 17 recommendations that the Government will now consider. Terms of reference for the review ranged from the effectiveness of the demand driven system’s implementation to ensuring the maintenance of quality in teaching and the

Topics in Australian Education – ARACY discussion April 2014  

Indigenous students skipping school to avoid bullying and racism
Experiences of bullying and unfair treatment are a significant factor in explaining school attendance among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, according to Nicholas Biddle from the Australian National University and Naomi Priest of Deakin University. Biddle and Priest note, of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people interviewed, 14% of students aged 14 years and under in 2008 were reported by their carers to have been bullied or treated unfairly due to their Indigenous status in the previous 12 months. This rose to 23% for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students in non-remote parts of the country. Those who experienced bullying were more than twice as likely to miss school without permission.

Push for Daniel Morcombe Child Safety Curriculum to be adopted nationally
The Federal Government is considering adopting the Daniel Morcombe Child Safety Curriculum in schools across Australia. The curriculum was developed by the parents of murdered Sunshine Coast schoolboy Daniel Morcombe and the Queensland Government. Bruce Morcombe says Education Minister Christopher Pyne has asked the panel reviewing the Australian curriculum to consider the child safety initiative.

Schoolchildren are being exposed to internet pornography at an increasingly early age, a leading child protection expert says. Freda Briggs, who teaches about child protection at the University of South Australia, said “Some young children have been overexposed to pornography because although you may be a wonderfully protective parent, you often don’t know what your children are seeing on their electronic devices”.

Support school-community partnerships – for students and our future

A new Leading Learning in Education and Philanthropy (LLEAP) 2013 Survey Report, from the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), looks at the issues around encouraging a culture of philanthropy between schools and communities. LLEAP surveyed schools, philanthropic foundations involved in structured forms of giving, and not-for-profits with programs or services that intersect with schools. A consistent finding of the LLEAP study is that the schools most in need are least equipped to access philanthropic support. Ninety per cent of schools are new or inexperienced when it comes to engaging with philanthropy via the traditional avenue of seeking and applying for grants.

Well-educated parents the key to children who are well-behaved, sociable and read better
Well-educated parents produce children who behave, socialise and read better than their classmates, a new Australian study has found. The researchers found parents with a higher education were able to absorb more information about parenting and were then able to better advocate for the children. The project tracked the impact of parental education on a child’s wellbeing over the past 30 years, and found it has consistently remained a key factor in helping to determine whether kids will have behavioural difficulties or strong social and reading skills.

National curriculum undermined by 1 in 5 students not having the internet at home

The national school curriculum unfairly assumes all students can do their homework using a computer and the internet at home, a submission to the federal government’s curriculum review has warned. Children’s education charity The Smith Family said a lack of access to a computer and the internet among disadvantaged families could undermine the implementation of the national curriculum. One in five children do not have access to the internet at home and that figure rises to one-third of children aged 5 to 14 in the most disadvantaged families, according to the submission.

Senate NAPLAN inquiry recommends removing school rankings from MySchool website: The senate committee report on Effectiveness of the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN), recommends: a quicker turnaround of results; the needs of students with disabilities and those from non-English-speaking backgrounds to be taken into account; and close monitoring to ensure published results assist targeted funding and not the development of league tables. The committee considered numerous submissions, including claims children felt ill, cried and lost sleep as a result of NAPLAN. A spokesman for Education Minister Christopher Pyne said the Government would respond “in due course” to the inquiry’s recommendations.

Information re Gonski :

Extract : As common sense suggests, and contrary to the Australian Education Union’s “I Give a ­Gonski” campaign, a more effective way to raise standards is to have a rigorous curriculum, qualified and committed teachers, strong parental engagement and schools, within broad guidelines, that have the flexibility to manage themselves.

Quadrant Magazine May 2014 – History Curriculum comment Article:

The National Curriculum’s Bogus History– STEPHANIE FORREST

An extract: While the debate rages on, Labor’s history curriculum has already been rolled out into many Australian classrooms. A number of history textbooks that closely reflect the contents of the curriculum are appearing on booklists everywhere. We came across the some of these textbooks while writing our critique of the national curriculum at the Institute of Public Affairs. These books contain so many outrageous statements and factual errors that they were worthy of a critique on their own.

Since Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne announced the review of the national curriculum in January this year, the national curriculum has been a topic of heated debate, and no area of the curriculum has received more attention than history.

The errors and distortions in these textbooks are not just problematic for their own sake: they reveal the fundamental ideological biases of the national curriculum itself. 


NCWQ Education Report April 2014

Arts and Letters Adviser Report April-May


By Jennifer Ann Davies  

…….bringing you a variety of Women writers and writers for Women, in the dynamic world of Literature!  …adding a wonderful weave of Women Artists, all of whom love COLOUR!  ….. rounding this all off with depth and action on stage! 

Relationships, change, friendship and war history ‘bond’ the delightful writer, Georgie Sinclair and eccentric Jewish émigré, Mrs Shapiro, in the Penguin publication, “We Are All Made of Glue” ! From the best-selling author of “A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian” and “Two Caravans”, MARINA LEWYCKA, this humour-infused novel delights the reader!!

Humour, the unlikely and sheer nonsense are but film-like veils, allowing the relational ebbs and flows between ‘bonding’ and ‘bondage’, smelly cats, slimy real-estate agents, social workers, clarity and visibility!  Journeying from Highbury (England) to wartime Europe, to the Middle East, this unusual novel has a poignancy infusing the story of a very unlikely friendship!

……….and moving from the humour and the poignancy, is another Penguin publication, taking the reader to a fantasy world that is neither old nor new – not near, nor far – wonderfully known yet unknown…..

“Scatterlings” is an enthralling and exotic fantasy, from Australia’s ISOBELLE CARMODY.  Isobelle, born in Wangaretta in 1958, now lives on the Great Ocean Road, near Apollo Bay, Victoria. Following successful publications, “Obernewtyn” and “The Farseekers”, Isobelle continues her thematically challenging authorship in “The Keeping Place”, the third book in the Obernewtyn Chronicles.

“…For a long time there was silence and endless sleep.  Then came a grinding sound – a metallic scream and a dazzling flash of whiteness…Merlin…cannot even remember her face…Only one thing is certain: this is not her world, though it might once have been….” 


  …Well acclaimed and long published physician, psychiatrist and writer, DR. GORDON LIVINGSTON, continues to rise, in the eyes of the world in general and of Women in particular. Publisher’s Weekly wrote of Livingston’s “Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart”  “…Among the many blithe and hollow self-help books available everywhere, this book stands out as a jewel….”

Although I explore many books, some of which are dense with ideas, fraught with contrasting ideologies; and others, simply thematically complex, I was delighted with the pragmatic truths posited in a gift – “AND NEVER STOP DANCING!” This small, simple, yet profound gift is dedicated to Livingston’s children and grandchildren – Hodder Aust. ISBN: 07336 21198

“After a bomb killed two dozen young people at a Tel Aviv disco a few years ago, Israeli youth refused to be cowed.  They resumed a robust nightlife.  Today, outside the scene of the bombing, beneath a stone memorial… a single inscription: LO NAFSEEK LIRKOD…

It means: “WE WON’T STOP DANCING!” Gene Weingarten: The Washington Post Magazine

After ploughing through many books which promote the content as having generated specifically and uniquely from each author, it was refreshingly honest to read: “…Many people’s ideas are contained in this book…”

Many writers, lecturers and gurus complicate paradox, forgiveness, relationships, dignity, attachment, intelligence, happiness and Beauty!  This author SIMPLIFIES all of these elements of Life – without being patronising or egotistical in the slightest.

“… So much wisdom, so many quotable aphorisms in such a compact book.  Read it!” Rabbi Harold KUSHNER: author of “When Bad Things Happen to Good People.

“Secrets for joyful living spill forth.  We learn that the most precious gift is learning to forgive ourselves…” Mehmet OZ M.D. co-author of “You: The Owner’s Manual”.

“Dr Livingston strikingly renews our understanding of major issues…ageing, relationships, self-worth, responsibility and…meaning…he writes most profoundly from the standpoint of a human being who has faced life’s ups and downs himself, with suffering, courage and humour.” Robert Grudin, author of “Time and the Art of Living”.

This book may also be borrowed from me if you wish!! 


In the dynamic and different world of Visual Art, Sarah MCDONALD offers some wonderfully soul-piercing and diverse artwork in her series “Travel Diaries” –

Extraordinary thematic variation flavours and enhances the artworks of our talented Women Artists, in Australia, and includes Anne BOURNE, whose works are currently exclusive to CWM Galleries in Sydney NSW. To view vibrant contemporary still life…..and more….in stunning colour, some of these works may be viewed on:

Annette SPINKS is another Australian Artist who has her studio established in the seaside town of Inverloch, Victoria.  She states that she is particularly drawn to nature…expressing a love of the ocean, its energy and fluidity.  Annette’s online gallery:

  Jacqui CLARK has a penchant for painting EYES.  She says: “I think they have the ability to get you to really connect with the painting…”  Jacqui is yet another artist who loves colour!  ART EDIT Jan/Mar 2014 Issue 01.

Jacqui works with portraits, people, pieces and palates, where she…  “…lets the drips run and the paint go where it wants to…” p.17

 Moving further North………

Creative contemporary, Belinda WARFIELD, has been exploring more stunning colour and art from some amazing Women Artists in the Maningrida region of the Northern Territory!

Long known for their objects crafted and coloured from natural fibres, collected in the bush, these vibrant Women Artists now depart from that traditional repertoire, to bring to the public for the first time, an exhibition of Women’s work on paper!

“BUSHCOLOUR”  – the new exhibition, “…celebrates the strength and vibrancy of Women’s Art…(and)…in its bold handling of subject matter traditionally dealt with and discussed by men….makes a voluble statement and a resounding impression…”  Fiona Salmon, Senior Arts Adviser, Maningrida Arts & Culture/Judy Watson, Curator 

Local Director, AVRIL DUCK, brings “Hot subject in new play…”!! Cairns FNQ

JUTE Theatre Company’s latest show, Sentinel Chickens, by Tony Robertson, is being led by this innovative local Director, who, with her team of creative artists, recently dazzled audiences with  a collaborative Propelled !

The new production, a witty take on the current refugee debate, is Robertson’s second JUTE production, and Duck’s first time as a director with this dynamic company.

Duck believes in theatre’s power as a tool for social change and expects that this show will provide a window or opportunity for precisely this.

Blending, again, “…..the sacred search for identity…….(the show)…treads a fine line between offending tradition and expecting self-reflection….” Cairns Sun:Wed Mar 19:2014.p.7

“Only live theatre can tread this line quite as precariously and when we slip either way it’s funny.  To laugh at ourselves gives us the power to change…” smiles Duck!

Production opens 28th March, 2014.  My nephew, from Mackay, plays a major role in this show!

I have had some wonderful Adventures in Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, but will relay Arts/Letters news in my next newsletter!

Arts and Letters Adviser Report April-May 2014

Music Adviser Report February 2014


By Alison Lingard

NCWQ Music Adviser

As we now commence another year in the Council,  I would like to wish you all a Happy New year and may it bring many new facets for you all.

Since October my time has been full and I have had quality time with my family.

I would also like to take this opportunity to send greetings and a welcome to our new Advisers.

It is some time since I brought you news of Megan Scougall and her progress at the Conservatorium of Music

My report is all about Megan and centres on a small insight into her activities at the Conservatorium and University.

Megan is progressing well and finished her second year with a High Distinction for Advanced Performance in Clarinet   She is very passionate about her music studies and always remembers the help and encouragement the NCWQ gave her as she embarked on her musical journey.

Megan has formed a saxophone quartet along with three of her friends from the Conservatorium.  It is very quaintly named  “ Stitched “.  They travelled to Sydney in January for the Saxophone Summer School, and they will be the opening act for a concert by Silvie Paladino in Beaudesert on the 14 Mach 2014.

I am hoping to attend and give greetings from NCWQ.

This year is promising to be another full one, as apart from her studies Megan will be playing in Conservatorium Ensembles.    Megan is playing Bass Clarinet with the Queensland Youth Symphony and the Brisbane Philharmonic Orchestra, Clarinet  with the Orchestra Corda Spiritus of St Andrew’s , and will be playing in the pit orchestra for Ignation’s production of the musical  “ Company “

As you can see by all of her activity this far, Megan is progressing with leaps and bounds on a pursuit of excellence.

This also marks the halfway mark for Megan’s Bachelor of Music.

We wish her every success and continue to watch her grow.

 “ The woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best! “

National Council of Queensland Inc music February 2014



Arts & Letters Adviser Report

Jennifer Ann Davies
NCWQ Arts & Letters Adviser



A very Happy New Year to Everyone!

This is becoming, I believe, an era in which Women are not only producing, performing, promoting and presenting ideas, issues, Beauty itself and action; but also one in which Women have all but become curators of the productions, the performances, the promotions and presentations of ideas, issues, actions and Beauty itself, through Arts and Letters!  In symbiosis with the boldness, open-ness and importance of content, the curatorship and preservation of all that IS Beautiful, seems, to me, to be global, national and regional. In the historicity of the Arts, this, then, is a WONDERFUL and interesting era for Arts and Letters!

WALES! “The Davies Collection” – National Museum CARDIFF

One of the largest, and perhaps the best collection of Impressionist art works outside Paris was bequeathed to the nation of Wales by the Davies sisters.  Their father, David Davies, was the great rival of the Marquess of Bute – an unusual man, who built railways and Barry docks in the 19th century!  Art lover, conservator, former First Minister of Wales, Rhodri Morgan, promotes Cardiff as a ‘…modern city of Europe…’. Rhodri met the younger sister, Margaret, in 1963 – This was not long before Margaret’s death, and they had met to confirm details of the bequest of the art collection to the city of Cardiff.  Rhodri described the willowy Miss Davies as being “…almost a throwback to the characters of a Jane Austen novel…”. CARDIFF The Essential Guide: Cardiff Council p.8  The wonderful Davies collection is now housed in what was an old abandoned High School, and has now become the Chapter Arts centre.  Rhodri effusively states: “…I don’t believe there is a better community arts centre anywhere in the UK!” CARDIFF The Essential Guide: p.7



Global Literature: “The Art of Learning by Doing”……… true life experiences of children in East Balinese villages, who have been given the opportunity to help improve community life in some of the most primitive and isolated parts of Bali.  These children have been supported in this by the East Bali Poverty Project.

This delightful book is illustrated by children in four villages, published by Saritaksu Editions, Bali, and translated into English by Kadek Krishna Adidharma, in 2005.

Trying to encourage increasing numbers of Australian children to come to school, listen, follow rules and instructions, occasionally learn, and equally occasionally, submit required assignments, is a challenge, a chore and contestably, a very sad-making nonsense!!

Being able to travel after the years of child rearing; experiencing the sheer joy of new people, places, pastimes, politics and the past, it was with the grandest pleasure that I was able to purchase, for a minimal, forgotten price, this indelibly interesting book, which Sarita Newson introduces with these unforgettable words: – “…The miracle of learning brings light and opens up worlds to young lives…..retelling these stories from families… (who had)…never had the privilege of education…..the wonder of this, above all things, shines….”!

Poverty and a high incidence of mental retardation, alleged to be due to iodine deficiency disorders, challenged survival, created struggle and simultaneously, open a door for change!


One door opened in 1999, and a new atmosphere of excitement and hope permeated the villages!  New possibilities presented, for the children could now have opportunities to be educated; for a promising curriculum; practical training; reading, writing and arithmetic!!!!!!

This blend was planned to forge a pathway out of poverty, so it also included a range of life skills, nutrition, hygiene, sanitation, creative arts and organic farming.

If anyone would like to borrow this publication, please contact me on: – – You are most welcome to borrow “The Art of Learning by Doing”!


Whilst we are reading about children, a slight shift away from the seriousness, intricacies and burdensome and unpalatable politics and philosophies of our adult worlds, is possible, created by children’s author, Kym Lardner. One of Australia’s most popular story tellers, Kym performs live in schools and festivals all around Australia!

Kym’s delightful fantasy, “The Sad Little Monster & The Jelly Bean Queen” is illustrated with stunningly original pictures, in glowing colours, and is about a sad little monster, who sits alone, unloved and unloving, until visited by the fair princess, looking for someone to share her jelly beans!!!!

First the little monster learns to smile – then to laugh!….Ultimately, his dark house wills with light and friendship!This delightful fantasy is published for the ABC, under licence by Harper Collins Publishers Australia.



LA BOITE! – Dynamic creative institutions like LA BOITE and the North’s JUTE, provide grand encouragement for Australian playwrights and actors! The 2014 season in Brisbane, at La Boite, will include PALE BLUE DOT – a play by Brisbane’s Kathryn MARQUET, about an alien abduction, set in Toowoomba!

“…Toowoomba,” says Marquet, “…is a real hot spot for UFO sightings….(They) have a very active UFO society…” Courier Mail Wed Jan 1 2014:p52

Artistic Director, David BERTHOLD, promises the public an unusual season, with a symbiosis of national artists and interesting themes!

Productions you may enjoy as the new year unfolds: –

    • COSI – Jessica Marais and James Stewart
    • COCK – Set to ARIA award winning music by Missy HIGGINS
    • A DOLL’S HOUSE: Henrik Ibsen – retold by gifted playwright and theatre lover, Australia’s Lally KATZ
    • MACHINA by local playwright, Richard JORDAN
  • And….to begin the new year – Roald DAHL’S “ Revolting Rhymes and Dirty Beasts” – for the whole family.  This production will have been performed by the time this Report is released – however, I thought this was worth reporting.
  • Live Theatre is the ‘place’ where Women not only reveal, promote and discuss huge issues, but it is also the ‘place’ where Women writers and performers in particular, demonstrate their high levels of Intelligence, Linguistic skills and Literacies! – As these elements of humanity become more and more relevant because of their sheer diminishing in our society, the Theatre then, primarily and Women’s voices and issues are being taken very, very seriously, facilitating some extraordinary mixes and sometimes odd symbiosis between subject matter, performers and audience.  This, then, is an arena, where Women’s voices are vital and welcomed!



As the effectiveness of high stakes testing is explored and debated, concerns continue to be expressed over “…growing political emphasis on high stakes testing as a key tool in education reform…” Independent Education Issue 3/Vol 43/2013  Internationally, the legitimacy and the accuracy of the USE of core skills tests, such as NAPLAN and PISA, is being questioned.

England reports “…inherent problems in ….testing…reporting and interpretation of data…” Independent Education Issue 3/Vol 43/2013: pp.10-11. Professor Harvey GOLDSTEIN, Social Statistics of Bristol University, has, for many years, recommended to the OECD, that longitudinal data should be integrated with existing captured data; however, to date, this has not occurred.

High performance education, such as that in Finland, does NOT use literacy and numeracy testing in high stakes ways – however, for all those interested in Language today, there is information available on material submitted to the Senate Inquiry into the Effectiveness of NAPLAN, in our schools.

As a lifelong lover of Language, I grieve over the loss of Language and the continued dilution or abortion of the skills necessary to become literate in the basic elements of listening, speaking, reading and writing.

I have noticed an increase, however, in the incidence of children of many ages, looking at, loving, reading and asking for BOOKS!!!  Contemporary research also begins to indicate that the genuine, hard-copy, non-electronic, ‘old-time’, language-rich BOOK is much kinder to children’s EYES than electronic media!

At a local Op Shoppe, I became known as ‘The Book Angel’, for I would buy a minimum of 50 books per visit, to give to kids who have NEVER had a book at home!  Often a child would come to me to ask for another book for a brother or sister…..sometimes kids will let me know about a new word, or an old one, now understood, as it now has a context……sometimes, kids will posit a new idea…..generated from a book or story….

Perhaps it has been forgotten that handling, touching, seeing, smelling and reading a book, is a fully sensual experience, directly connected to many necessary (developmental) stimulating results….and assuredly, directly connected to the deep engagement, critical thinking and creativity that is missing in the overemphasis on testing underdeveloped ‘cornerstone skills’???



We don’t have books at home, she said….

but, please, can I take this home, to bed?


….and later, I’ll read it to my brother…

then, please, can I have another?

Jennifer Ann Davies 2014


FILM – Based on an original novel by Australian author, Markus Zusak – THE BOOK THIEF!!

Another time; another place; another Child, hungering for a book!….for learning, for knowledge of Language and for the literacies derived from this Language learning – ‘THE BOOK THIEF’ is based on the novel written by Australian author, Markus Zusak, and is a stunning revisit to Nazi Germany, with an extraordinary, courageous, alive and humane heroine, interacting with the illustrious Geoffrey RUSH. “The Book Thief” includes in its ‘weave’ of themes, the quintessential power and magick of words and imagination, in overcoming chaos, loss and grief.  Simultaneously, it celebrates not only the life-affirming traits of these two elements of humanity, but most deftly, beautifully and simply, celebrates the resilience of the human spirit.

I have not had recent contact with the author – however, I have noted that reviews, comments and publicity, here in the Far North, rarely mention the author of this international bestseller.  I trust this is not so further South!

I am going to apologise right here for these lines – I am typing at home and had inserted 3 dot points, which became the lines and I have not been able to delete same! – Sorry!

WOMEN IN ACADEMIA! –The University of Queensland: Summer 2013

I am sure that many members may have enjoyed this publication, however, for those who have not, there are a number of celebratory snippets and articles about wonderful, wonderful Queensland women, who, again, like those in theatre, actively promote important issues and Women’s Rights!

Amongst the ‘Distinguished Young Alumni Aware’ recipients, is Julie McKAY, who is the Executive Director of United Nations Women Australia – Julie works to promote Women’s Rights and states that she is “…inspired by women who, despite facing poverty, violence and lack of access to opportunities, continue to want to play an active role in making….societies stronger for future generations…..” UQ Contact: Summer 2013, p.22

Author and Alumna, Madonna KING, provides an intriguing ‘cameo’ of bonny, contemporary Scottish-born Australian immunologist, Professor Ian FRAZER, promising an extraordinary story, in her new biography: “IAN FRAZER: The man who saves a million lives!”  For information or purchase:


The UQ Art Museum, open daily from 10am to 4pm is hosting two important exhibitions of contemporary ART during this summer break.


HISTORY FOR KIDS!  Throughout the early part of 2014 there will be a series of workshops for kids in the RD Milns Antiquities Museum, on Greek, Egyptian and Roman History!  Kids will be able to handle ancient objects and learn some of the secrets of the ancient world.



Arts and Letters Report February 2014