Arts and Letters Report July 2016

By Jennifer Ann DAVIES

Arts and Letters Adviser



Global and National concerns pervading grassroots, socio-political and economic problems, fears and issues are explored in a recent article ‘IS FREE TRADE BAD FOR THE WORLD?’ Informed writer, Rana FOROOHAR, believes that economic globalization is the surprise hot-button campaign issue of 2016. TIME Vol. 187, NO.131/2016.

As the Language of Community is consumed by the Language of Economics, it is remembered that conversations about trade used to be so simple – free trade good, tariffs bad! Fooroohar’s article directly reflects the chaos, conversations, controversies and concerns in America – however, informed critics and readers have expressed similar views and concerns in relation to socio-political and fiscal status, trade and labour market activities in Australia!

Fundamentally, although great wealth has been created via the reduction of trade barriers, concentrated groups of economic ‘losers’ and declines in labour markets are of concern and demand rebalancing.

Fooroohar writes that we need to develop a new way of thinking about fair trade. “Global trade has reduced inequality at a worldwide level, but it has played some part in increasing it at a national level….”   she says. p.36 


Triple-Fullbright winning geobiologist and author, Hope JAHREN, talks of STEM sexism, manicures and mental in her new memoir “Lab Girl” …This publication exposes a range of women’s issues that have always concerned us, yet is woven, with fascinating details about plant life (Jahren’s love and field of study!) into deeply personal stories about her life and experiences in the world of science. TIME 2016 p.48 Siobhan O’Connor.

Whilst Jahren mentions existing discrimination and harassment as “…expressions of culturally learned power imbalances…”, she also concludes that she will minimise mention of these cultural features, yet go to “great lengths to describe in real detail the people who do matter.”

Responding to a range of questions, Jahren states and restates her love of plants that can do things we can’t! – “They can stand out in the rain and cold, which would make us miserable or kill us, but they adapt.” She adds that as an environmental scientist, she is not as much concerned about climate change but that we should focus on our first need to feed, shelter and nurture, which has always required the exploitation of plant life!!


Hope Jahren reinforces the repeated message from Mary-Lee Grisanti:-

“…Life is infinitely precious…:”!! 




Professor Alan Rix, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, invites you all to:-

‘beyond the Tower’

UQ Art Museum – 40 years and counting…

Open to the public Saturday 16th July, 2016 2pm

Join curators Dr Campbell Gray and Samantha Littley for a tour of the exhibition, followed by a conversation with inaugural Director,

Dr Nancy Underhill.

The exhibit continues until 13th November, 2016, with free entry and free parking on weekends.


Many of you would have read this interesting article about the HISTORIC FIGHT AT BULIMBA in 1929, where Mrs Irene LONGMAN, the first Woman Candidate in political circles, was well covered by some very balanced journalism in Brisbane’s Courier Mail, Tuesday 16 April, 1929.

At the Morningside School of Arts, Mrs Longman stated that:- “…women’s viewpoint (is) as essential as men’s – public welfare – clinics – vaccinations – women police..”

She promised the public that she “…will not present questionable hollow records of ‘achievement’ in tragic attempts to glorify failure! –“ nor would she ever be responsible for a ‘poverty of attainment’!!

This is wonderful reading and an interesting perspective of the ongoingness of issues and potential inabilities to fully and finally address the important issues instead of elected persons simply acting as ‘party hacks, following blindly in the ruts of party procedure…’ – Topical….timely…Thank you!! 21395942



Former Sydney-sider and SBS Television journalist, Sarah TURNBULL, published a delightful memoir: – “ALMOST FRENCH” – A New Life in Paris. Random House, Sydney NSW 2002.

Funny, perceptive and poignant, “Almost French” is the story of an adventurous heart, a magical city – and finding love! It also highlights the minefield of misunderstanding that Language can create; and the myriad paradoxes of France! These, combined, create the highs and lows of living and surviving in a strange and new country and culture….navigating all of this can be maddening, mysterious, yet deliciously seductive!

Thusly, the reader travels into this magical country, with Paris the centre of ‘savoir vivre’, haute couture – where Givenchy, Chanel, Vuitton are venerated but are also being taken over by commercially oriented foreigners, who, nevertheless, represent an injection of youth and talent, and whose clothes are casual, clean and immensely wearable!! p.194

Following the French Renaissance and the French Revolution was, perhaps, the French Recovery, in which genuine problems of unemployment, poor economy and youth migration began to change! – New bars and restaurants sprouted in Eastern Paris; the Right Bank and neighbourhoods and canals of the 10th arrondissement drew lively cosmopolitan crowds….new openness appeared to develop, including a new openness surrounding Language! Voila!! Enjoy!!!

…and so…La Vie aujourd’hui…

(..the life today..)!



“The Life of Elves”, beautifully written by Muriel BARBERY; translated from French by Alison ANDERSON and published by The Text Publishing Company, Melbourne, Australia in 2015, is truly “…unlike any other novel…” Express.

Barbery is a French resident who was Moroccan born (1969) and is author of “The Elegance of the Hedgehog’.

Her writing has an extraordinary depth and expanded psychological and socio-political understandings, always celebrating the feminine – the female – the grandmothers – mothers….unforgettable characters. Simultaneously, Barbery celebrates the power of love and the role of intuition!!

Interestingly, again, there are hints of synaesthesia, presenting to one of the two heroines …”the BLUE musical score in the church…the same vibration that came not only from the places her eyes or her piano connected her to…but also a combined frequency of earth – and art…” Clara, alone, understood what could be seen – and seen in her!

A moving and deeply felt homage to the power of nature and art – a beloved author! A wonderful read!





Audiences? – spellbound, engaged…questioning..discussing…challenged!!

Reviews have cited the ‘points of tension’ as well as the ‘brilliant play and set’. Characters were as different as chalk and cheese….dragging each other towards the horrifying climax!

The possibilities of touring this psychological thriller are still being discussed, with, of course, cuts in funding to the arts at play! (pardon the pun!) –

Playwright, Tom Gardiner, was honoured to have many family members, colleagues and old school friends from interstate, swell the audience and celebrate his success.

Once more, extraordinary ‘though it may seem, an unusually perceptive understanding of the multi-sensory condition, synaesthesia, was beautifully and clearly articulated and demonstrated in this deep, dark, poignant and stark drama performance!

Congratulations to all!!


See More Related Articles