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books September 19, 2020

Writing Through Fences

A Facebook message seven years ago prompted poet and activist Janet Galbraith to found a writing group that brought hope and connection to refugees. “It was formed out of the relationships between human beings, reaching through prison fences and beyond borders.”

dance September 12, 2020

Choreographer Shaun Parker

On his company’s 10th anniversary, Shaun Parker – one of the stalwarts of Australian contemporary dance – looks over his shapeshifting career. “It’s weird, I didn’t like it. I loved it. You’d think I’d be more terrified, but I think, beginning to sing or dance or act, you’re becoming another role. I love that feeling of becoming someone else.”

art September 5, 2020

John Nixon’s generous legacy

Last month one of the enduring figures of the Australian art world, John Nixon, died. From the beginning of his career, Nixon remained an artist who believed in the ideal of a perpetual avant-garde.”

television August 29, 2020

Actor Catherine Văn-Davies

Catherine Văn-Davies found that her starring role in SBS’s Hungry Ghosts excavated intimate family histories. “For most of my life, Mum wouldn’t talk about the war. But with intergenerational trauma, even if they don’t tell us the experience in their own words, we’re so sensitive to our parents.”

music August 22, 2020

Indie folk icons Bright Eyes

Ten years after their previous album, Bright Eyes’ latest release brings a new lightness to their apocalyptic imagining. “Lyrical and generous, it feels like a new beginning for Oberst and co on their own terms, despite the weight of its conception, and despite the pain that it holds.”

music August 15, 2020

James Nguyen and Victoria Pham

Through their new work for BLEED 2020, artists James Nguyen and Victoria Pham reanimate the Đông Sơn drum, an ancient instrument with great cultural significance for their Vietnamese heritage. “We wanted to build a body of knowledge around this instrument in a way that just isn’t possible in academia or museums.”

art August 8, 2020

Wiradyuri conceptual artist Amala Groom

For Amala Groom, making art is a collaboration between herself and her Wiradyuri ancestors. Drawing on her history and culture, as well as her legal training, she seeks to subvert the colonial project. “Colonialism affects all of us … To be change agents we have to be inclusive, and Aboriginal culture is inclusive.”

books August 1, 2020

Sydney deputy lord mayor Jess Scully

Since becoming the deputy lord mayor of Sydney, Jess Scully has continued her fight for social equality. As she pushes for affordable housing and investment in the ‘caring economy’, she remains hopeful of instituting long-lasting change. “I think there’s an opportunity for us right now to make sure that participatory democracy and the care economy and affordable housing are some of the things that become practical, real projects.”

theatre July 25, 2020

Theatre-maker and multidisciplinary artist Anchuli Felicia King

After a whirlwind 2019, in which three of her plays debuted around the world, Anchuli Felicia King is showing no signs of slowing down. The Thai–Australian playwright and multidisciplinary artist speaks about language, learning from other Asian women and how storytelling can make a difference. “I’m drawn towards muscular political storytelling, art that has a clear politics and an ethical framework it’s trying to impart. That feels especially vital in a world lacking humane moral leadership.”

film July 18, 2020

Essie Davis’s honour roles

Actress Essie Davis made her name inhabiting charismatic women, from detective Phryne Fisher to The Babadook’s Amelia Vanek. She speaks about being born to act, breaking her ribs on set and learning piano for her new film, Babyteeth. “I do love going to the cinema and having a really good cry. It can be a really profound experience to be that moved in the darkness … It’s very hard not to feel sentimental about every scene [in Babyteeth] because they’re quite moving.”

music July 11, 2020

Jarvis Cocker pops the questions

More than 40 years after starting the iconic band Pulp, Jarvis Cocker continues to evolve as an artist. He speaks about the raves of the late ’80s, his concerns about the growing costs of humanities degrees, and his latest album, Beyond the Pale.