Category Archives: ARTS & CULTURE

Everything and anything to do with our arts and cultural activities

Does Clive Hamilton value his own backyard?

Looking at the creative political sign in front of the Kingston Glass Workshop in October (now removed), the message was clear.

Continue reading Does Clive Hamilton value his own backyard?

Greenslabor de-green the bush capital

Visiting Cedric Bryant’s garden

Unsettling thoughts should not enter your head when you are admiring a beautiful garden. This happened recently.

Continue reading Greenslabor de-green the bush capital

The disconnect between passionate Peter Dombrovskis and the ACT Greens

A Great photograph can bring about a myriad of memories as well as pose more mundane questions such as why political movements fail.

Continue reading The disconnect between passionate Peter Dombrovskis and the ACT Greens

The National Library trees and sculpture festival

How the NCA keeps getting it wrong!

The National Library of Australia forecourt should be a well-designed open space welcoming people to a key national institution. It is, sort of – but not quite!

Continue reading The National Library trees and sculpture festival

photography at the National Library of Australia

Viewfinder: Photography from the 1970s to Now

The National Library is staging an exhibition of 125 documentary photographs, “Viewfinder: Photography from the 1970s to Now”. Continue reading photography at the National Library of Australia

Gardening and farming at the National Museum

A visit to an exhibition at the National Museum of Australia provided the extra opportunity to have a look at the new garden at the entrance and to check out again the Garden of Australian Dreams.

Continue reading Gardening and farming at the National Museum

photography at the National Library of Australia

documentary photography exhibition

Viewfinder: Photography from the 1970s to Now

National Library of Australia exhibition, Friday 16 September 2022 until Monday 13 March 2023    Entry is free, curated by Matthew Jones

a link to the NLA page on the exhibition – click here

a tour of the exhibition click here

Developers blame selfish residents

The lies told too often

Most mainstream media articles about developments in RZ1 residential zones regularly include developers or their loyal followers who will criticise Canberra’s elite NIMBYs. Continue reading Developers blame selfish residents

Visiting the National Gallery in Canberra

When the national Gallery opened in 1988, the exhibitions and their café became frequent destinations – a meeting place for locals, to take in the latest exhibitions while seeing old friends – the fabulous works in the permanent collections. Continue reading Visiting the National Gallery in Canberra

ACT Government fails on architecture and design

Infill would be more embraced if it was well designed

There were several announcements by the ACT government at the end of July with most by the chief minister, Andrew Barr.

Continue reading ACT Government fails on architecture and design

Dreaming of having a real environment minister

ACT Government not so environmental

In February, 2012, the then-ACT Labor Environment and Sustainable Development Minister, Simon Corbell, officially opened the Dickson Wetlands (completed in 2011). This marvellous water feature changed the neighbourhood.

Continue reading Dreaming of having a real environment minister

Marion Mahony Griffin – What A Life!

Particular major urban developments in Canberra have been promoted to be in line with the plans of Marion Mahony Griffin and Walter Burley Griffin or somehow in the spirit of the Griffins.

Continue reading Marion Mahony Griffin – What A Life!

Woden town cramming continues

There are architecture tours of the city of Chicago conducted (when it is not frozen over in winter) to admire the wonders of design incorporated into the city towers. It would be doubtful that there would ever be architecture tours of Woden’s town-centre towers. Continue reading Woden town cramming continues

Marion Mahony Griffin’s vision for Canberra

and how it is being lost

When Marion Mahony Griffin provided those glorious drawings for the submission to design Canberra, she included a distant view of the mountains.

Continue reading Marion Mahony Griffin’s vision for Canberra

ACT Government fails on landscape design

Design leadership missing in action

The south side of Franklin Street, Manuka, was shut off during November for several clusters of seats and tables on fake grass. It was apparently another of this government’s pop-up experiments.

Continue reading ACT Government fails on landscape design

Something nasty is stirring in planning reforms

ACT hides its real intentions on planning reforms

This year’s planning reform announcement was accompanied by the usual spin (sorry, media release) and another misleading online document (sorry, progress report).

Continue reading Something nasty is stirring in planning reforms

Christmas, trees and biodiversity

ACT Government does not get biodiversity

Wandering through Civic, there loomed ahead a shape.

Continue reading Christmas, trees and biodiversity

innovative architecture versus boringly normal

NCA challenged on suburban design

When you think of planning and development and who is making a mess of this city, attention usually turns to the dark arts as practised by the ACT Planning Directorate.

Continue reading innovative architecture versus boringly normal

the nightmare of the ACT’s Better Normal

This was to be the year the ACT government was to deliver the much-vaunted reforms to make planning simpler and more accessible.

Continue reading the nightmare of the ACT’s Better Normal

ACT Public Art and inequality

It was stunning to see the images of Premier Dominic Perrottet after NSW opened up on October 11; he welcomed people back to his version of normal – that of blokes, pubs, beers and more blokes. Women were absent.

Continue reading ACT Public Art and inequality

Kingston Arts Space reboot – maybe

Inner-south community groups received a curious, but welcomed, phone call on Thursday (November 4) from the communications officer of the ACT Suburban Land Agency (SLA).

Continue reading Kingston Arts Space reboot – maybe

When planning permission is beyond the pale

For most people, what happens with planning regulations tends to be of little interest, until the day arrives when it becomes the issue requiring their utmost concentration to work out what the hell is going on.

Continue reading When planning permission is beyond the pale

Public Art in Canberra

When “Seven Days” columnist Ian Meikle remarked in “CityNews” on July 19 that the ACT Legislative Assembly’s Standing Committee on Economy and Gender and Economic Equality is seeking submissions to its inquiry into memorialisation through public commemoration, it did raise an issue or two.

Continue reading Public Art in Canberra

The good, the bad and too much ugly!

This city is fairly ordinary when it comes to public architecture. There are a few exceptions, often Federal buildings and those on the ANU, but not many.

Continue reading The good, the bad and too much ugly!

ACT Government destroys Northbourne Ave

and now heads south to mess up more suburbs

In the late 1980s, if you happened to be in the office of the National Capital Development Commission, at 220 Northbourne Avenue, it was hard to concentrate on the discussions because of the view looking south along Northbourne to the far mountains.

Continue reading ACT Government destroys Northbourne Ave

National Capital Authority specializes in being patronising

residents should avoid contact with NCA

I begin this opinion piece about the National Capital Authority (NCA) by going back about 20 years to comments made during a parliamentary committee looking at the NCA.

Continue reading National Capital Authority specializes in being patronising

ACT Government fails own climate actions

Rhetoric alone is not climate action

Once upon a time, Canberra tourism included views of tree-lined suburban streets. That was Canberra as we knew it – a city in a landscape. The ambience was greenery and open spaces.

Continue reading ACT Government fails own climate actions

ACT Government lacks design leadership

A pamphlet arrived in Dickson letterboxes that won’t bring much joy to the other areas of the city. It announced that $3 million is to be spent on Woolley Street, Dickson.

Continue reading ACT Government lacks design leadership

ACT Government Design Panel a disaster

the failure of the National Capital Design Review Panel

Along with the wish the government would look after the city’s landscapes, its greenery and its open spaces, a common frustration is that the government does not understand design and does little to encourage good architecture.

Continue reading ACT Government Design Panel a disaster

What happens in Sydney – happens here

Book Review: Killing Sydney: The Fight For a City’s Soul

 

Elizabeth Farrelly’s new book “Killing Sydney: The Fight For a City’s Soul” is a must-read for anyone with an interest in their local planning issues.

Continue reading What happens in Sydney – happens here

Canberra community groups have fun

Local enthusiasm for trees and parks

When community groups bring residents together to collectively do something for their suburb, good things happen.

Continue reading Canberra community groups have fun

A day out in Braidwood

Making the time out to visit regionally

Earlier this month we ventured out for the day to meet a friend at Braidwood. She was from the south coast and so Braidwood meant we both travelled just over an hour.

Continue reading A day out in Braidwood

ACT Government score card

They are not doing well!

With the ACT Labor/Greens coalition in place until October 2024, it’s a good time to start reporting on how it’s performing.

Continue reading ACT Government score card

ACT Government ignores Commonwealth Park

Commonwealth Park neglected by government

Attention to a significant piece of national land is being overlooked among the misinformation used to justify the demolition of West Basin.

Continue reading ACT Government ignores Commonwealth Park

ACT Government and public sculpture

Need for a new public art policy

Sometime during the last election, a candidate said something about revising the public sculpture program initiated by Jon Stanhope when he was chief minister.

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Canberra’s missing arts centres

ACT Government failure on culture

In 2015, the now disbanded Land Development Agency announced the follow up to its 2011 master plan with the go-ahead for the Kingston Arts Precinct.

Continue reading Canberra’s missing arts centres

Floriade Canberra 2020

Flowers in the suburbs

It is all happening again in Kingston and, as with other locations throughout Canberra, Floriade Reimagined saw locals planting more than 8000 bulbs and annuals in May.

Continue reading Floriade Canberra 2020

Yarralumla does Christmas

Big Red Bows and a Jolly Suburb

Is there a more significant way of celebrating Christmas than with a tree?

Yes, with lots of trees! How about a suburb of trees? This is what the Yarralumla Residents Association is doing for Christmas this year.

Continue reading Yarralumla does Christmas

Kingston Arts Precinct or more apartments

When confronted with the latest complex goings-on with the proposal for a huge apartment development alongside the Old Bus Depot Markets that will include the Kingston Arts Precinct, the Inner South Canberra Community Council (ISCCC) did a very sensible thing.

Continue reading Kingston Arts Precinct or more apartments

Griffin impugned for the West Basin’s awful future

Good journalism is welcomed and embraced. Journalism that is written to promote bad decisions by government must  be called out. Here’s an example of the latter.  The author, Tom Greenwell, starts well by making some points about Walter Burley Griffin’s planning for Canberra. But then he commits the crime of using Griffin’s name and visions to justify some outrageous developments being planned by the ACT Government (Urban Renewal Authority again!) that will destroy a wonderful part of the foreshore of Lake Burley Griffin. Click here for the article in City News.

and for more about West Basin alternative facts – click here;  includes letters from Richard Johnstone of kingston – a supporter of West Basin developments.

And for more on the arguments against what Tom Greenwell has written – click here for a very well informed  piece by Penny Moyes, one of the Lake Burley Griffin Guardians.

ACT Government about to bulldoze a community site

Crunch time looms for Dickson parklands

There’s a long saga at play in Dickson in Canberra. Here’s the latest on this – click here.

and there’s more..

Continue reading ACT Government about to bulldoze a community site

Mythomania Peter Conrad

Recommended Reading

Mythomania: Tales of Our Times from Apple to ISIS – by  Peter Conrad, Thames and Hudson

Several years ago I had listened to most of Peter Conrad’s BBC podcasts on his topic of Myths – and loved them.

I have read just a little of this book so far – but can say that it as good as if not better than listening to the podcasts of Peter’s broadcasts. It is now part of my reading for the next weeks. And there are new topics covered.

Continue reading Mythomania Peter Conrad