05 February 2016

Downs and Ups

Today was the first day in a long time (feels like nearly a month) when I've wanted to get out of bed. The deadlines and workload that have haunted me are still there, the stresses are still there, but my body and mind are lighter today. 

I've always had a cycle - periods of massive energy bursts followed by sustained lows. I cope, but it makes it difficult to maintain a routine. Successful lives need routines that include exercise, eating well, plenty of sleep, attending to the maintenance of things. I do not do any of this well. 

I sometimes wonder what impact my ups and downs have had on my kids. I know it has. Sometimes that makes me feel sad and regretful. When they're older I imagine we'll talk it all through. On my bad days I wish and dream I was a different person. But I'm not. I'm just me. 

Today I woke up and went for a good walk. I had breakfast and folded clothes. Now I'm have a cup of tea and am at my desk ready for work. Today is a good day. 

14 January 2016

Articulate to execute

Starting working on Monday and I've spent the first week chasing up urgent client work, but also on some of our foundation documents. 

On Tuesday we had a three hour strategy session with an outside advisor. And what a meeting it was. Tellingly there were MANY questions I couldn't answer or could only partly answer. How can you grow the business when you're not sure what the business even is? 

The second half of the week has been spent working on our big-picture action list - updating our business plan, update the vision statement, developing accurate  and updated position descriptions, creating a workforce plan, and creating a 2 - 5 year marketing plan. 

I have to be able to articulate what our business is, in order to execute strategies to get is where we want to be in the future. 

11 January 2016

Hello 2016

I was going to blog about something meaningful, but I've stayed up late talking with my sister who is in town for just one more week. Now I'm tired. And tomorrow I'm back to work. So here is a pic of the little arrangement on our back verandah. 

Mum had been hassling me for jars but she didn't say what she wanted them for. Turns out she's coloured them and created the stain-glass window look and has added little fake candles. They look awesome in the dark. I'm going to get her to do more for a party we're having late June in the backyard. 

Ok. Goodnight. Happy New Year. Hope this year brings you love and peace. 

28 December 2015

Revealing the Mountain, the Australian Imaginary

Earlier this year I attended a Symposium at Carriageworks in Sydney. Ghassan Hage spoke at the event and presented a paper. As part of his presentation, he told a story about a man who was on a journey. The man was moving in the direction of a mountain in the distance. The mountain was so large that it provided him with a sense of direction. Even though he was far away from it, regardless of where he was going, he could always position himself in relation to the mountain. Then one day, the mountain was gone. It had disappeared. No longer could the man tell where he was - he had no place that would centre him, he had no way to navigate this new world. Where before he could always use the mountain to make his way in the world, now he was lost.

The Australian Imaginary is the mountain. Myths like mateship, egalitarianism, fair-go, virtue, all built upon terra nullius and originary violence (Watson), all go into creating this Imaginary. Some of us already know that this Imaginary exists only as fantasy and not reality. Indeed, some of us already know that the Mountain never actually existed. But most Australians do not.

How do they react when their Mountain disappears? Increasingly we see White Australians and their discomfort with Aboriginal people. Upon invasion, White Australia set about erasing Aboriginal people and culture. 

Aboriginal culture had to be erased, and continues to be erased and rendered invisible except in those versions of Aboriginality it deems acceptable. The responses to Adam Goodes is a prime example of their discomfort and anger.

When we call out racism and privilege, they hurt. They hurt because their mountain has disappeared and they are lost. It turns out they were on the Holodeck* the whole time. But they're still fighting against that loss. They will not bend, nor will they concede.

Last century James Baldwin, wrote about White America,
"They are, in effect, still trapped in a history which they do not understand; and until they understand it, they cannot be released from it.
His words ring true for us here in Australia this century.

For us, the continued work remains in revealing the Mountain, the Australian Imaginary, to be the myth it always was.

  • Watson, Irene (2009) What is saved or rescued and at what cost? Cultural Studies Review, Vol 15, No 2. 
  • *Trekkers will get there reference here.  
  • Baldwin, J (1963) The Fire Next Time. 

21 December 2015

Tools downed.

More often than not, I fall off the social media landscape when we go on family trips. Partly it's a security thing - if the whole family is away, who is at home? But it's also an environmental thing. You see my family aren't big on social - and that includes the teens. They read and consume stuff, but the don't share about their everyday lives - no selfies, few comments and occasional posts that are rarely about 'I'm doing X today'. When I'm at home, I can justify the selfies and the rest, as being about work. When I'm away from my desk, it's clearly not about work is it? 

Unless I'm really in the zone like last week when we went to the midnight screening of Star Wars & took heaps of images & posted them, when I'm with just the family (and during these moments, they good heartedly put up with me), I'll make very few posts about our travels. And it's okay. I've learned to understand and respect how they do things.  

It always takes me a few days to down tools, but after a while it becomes the new normal. 

10 December 2015

Is it too late for a new language?

Language is dynamic. We create new words for new ideas, objects, and contexts. 
In the past few years I've been thinking about language. Well, more accurately, my inability to speak nothing but English. Tonight I read an article (link appears to be lost forever in the stream) about lessons of our forties, and being 46 this year, I've realised - rather sadly that I will probably never learn Italian or French or 'another language', despite having that goal on my bucket list since the movie came out a thousand years ago.

In particular though, I've also been thinking about 'traditional' language, and how our family has only a few words in our everyday vocabulary. Oh how I wished we had more. With my children now teens, it's too late to raise them in a bilingual home, but is it possible that I could start now in time for my grand-children to have a language other than English in their lives?

I recently met an inspiring sistah from Aotearoa who was Samoan, but who spoke six different languages. Tuiloma Lina Samu, a PhD candidate at Massey University was recently in Australia for the UoW's Reterritorialising Social Media conference and she spoke about Pacifika language and the way in which we make assumptions and understandings from language.

On our last evening together we talked about language and she's inspired me more to do something. I'm not sure what it will be. Of course, I have no time, but there really is never time for these kinds of endeavours. After listening to the #SovereigntyX panel at Clancestry last week, I'm convinced that this is part of a much bigger nation-(re)building exercise, and as such is vitally important personally and for our community.

Where to next?

18 November 2015

Reterritorialising Social Media: Indigenous People Rise Up - My work-in-progress notes

I'm presenting next week at the University of Woollongong next week at the Reterritorialising Social Media: Indigenous People Rise Up.

I'm still forming my presentation. I've done a few presentations about Deadly Bloggers in the past including at the World Indigenous People's Conference on Education. This time however, I'm pushing myself to move forward. I think my presentation will be framed around one or a series of questions. I don't have the answers yet.

Here's where I'm heading so far ...

1. Conceptualisations of Social Media
When people ask what is social media it really makes my eye twitch. The term 'social media' feels redundant. It's just the internet. Or is it more than 'the internet'. It's just how we do things now. Just as we're gradually dropping the e from e-commerce (online v/& bricks&mortar is just how we commerce now) and e-learning (it's just how learning is delivered now - face-to-face supported by online tools), the 'social' in media is just how we do the internet now.

But thinking about some of the conceptualisations,

  • Social Media as Personal Communication - it's how we communicate with each other. Our online and offline relationships are intertwined, it's not either/or. 
  • Social Media as Activist Space - 'the march' moves to the screen - the petition, the hashtags. #sosBlakAustralia is a perfect example. But again, it's not either/or - the online/offline worked together in sync to amplify voices and ideas
  • Social Media as trade route - we network, build relationships, and trade commodities 
  • Social Media as critical expression - just like the canvas, is social media the canvas we draw on? or is it the gallery? Or both? I think that Siv Park's Twitter Yarns probably best transcend any canvas/gallery dichotomy. 
2. Bearing Witness
"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you"
Maya Angelou
"Bearing witness is a term that, used in psychology, refers to sharing our experiences with others, most notably in the communication to others of traumatic experiences. Bearing witnress is a valuable way to process an experience, to obtain empathy and support, to lighten out emotional load via sharing it with the witness, and to obtain catharsis. Most people bear witness daily, and not only in reaction to traumatic events. We bear witness to one another through our writing, through art, and by verbally simply sharing with others" (Pikiewicz)
I think this 'bearing witness' relates to a post I wrote in 2012 Why I blog: No Image Available.

3. Building Legacy 
In 100 years from now, the great artworks of today will still be seen on gallery walls, the great literature will still be read. 

In 100 years, Alexis Wright's Carpentaria will still exist. Gordon Bennett's Possession Island will still hang on the walls of the NGV. We will still listen to Archie Roach's Charcoal Lane. These works are archivable, reference-able, findable. 

But where are our Twitter and Facebook streams archived? Who will be able to access the archive?

If we don't build our own spaces (self-hosted/owned), do we really own anything? 

4. Is social media a midden?
What if, rather than static works of expression/communication (as in discreet texts), social media expression is like a midden. Over a life-time, interactions from different platforms (in 2015 = Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat etc) build up over time to form something real and tangible. Each individual shell, discarded months ago, is relatively meaningless, but over decades - a form is created - one with shape, life, and a degree of permanency. 

So these are my notes so far. A slide deck will happen next week when I've made more sense of it. I feel like I'm lacking theory and it's killing me. I have no space right now to go and seek it out. It's times like this I miss the freedom/research imperative/structure of the higher education institution. I'll let you know how I go. 

17 November 2015

Annual Awards Night round-up.

Tonight was the Annual Awards night. T3&4 received awards.

As I sat there listening to the Principal's speech, I remembered how many conversations I used to have with (usually) mums at the primary school about Everton Park State High.

So many were adamant that it was a bad school - that it was rough, that it didn't even deserve consideration as an option for their children. When pressed, not one parent could point to an actual incident that led to them having this opinion. It was all gossip and assumption.

 In 2013 the school was on the closure list and it was because of the dedication and commitment of parents, staff and community that it remained open.

Ms Sue Wallace the Principal, in her speech tonight made mention of a number of achievements including the decision today that it would be made a Queensland Independent School. Other achievements included being a partner with Queensland Academies to provide accelerated learning (some of the year 7s are doing year 9 mathematics), and finally some investment by the state on infrastructure with $500K outdoor education area approved.

It's not a perfect school by any means. There are plenty of things that need attention. Clearly no one there appears to have heard of a welcome/acknowledgment before. (On my to-do list!!)

But really, it's a decent local school that deserves community support. And it deserves to have its 'story' re-written.

It's a place I'm very happy to lend my time and energy to.

Do you go to Greek school?

Do you go to Greek school?

One of the lines from the trailer for the new movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 has a one character asking another "do you go to Greek school?"

I've seen these 'schools' referred to in other movies, and often wondered what they're about and if perhaps a similar concept would be useful here for Murris. Perhaps, it's a reflection of the lives we lead today, where a 'school' would ensure that there was a set of teachings that is explicitly being passed down.

I'm reading through Aunty Mary Graham's Custodial Navigator, and wondering ideas like this can be passed down.

Perhaps a 'school' that kids attend on a Saturday morning or a Tuesday afternoon from a very early age, operating in suburbs across the continent would help to ensure that Murri cultures are going as strong as other cultures in hundreds of years time.

Note: In Brisbane the very deadly Fred Leone is running occasional Sunday sessions in a park for local kids. I wonder if this is the start of a new movement? 

25 October 2015

Walking for Junior Diabetes Research

Today we walked 5 kilometres in the Junior Diabetes Research Foundation annual walk. Our niece is a Type-1 Diabetic. Until she was diagnosed I had no real understanding of Type-1 beyond Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias and the occasional very intense parent over the years at the primary school. I didn't understand why there were intense, but now I do. 

Every Single Day my sister keeps her daughter alive. There is no off or down time. Every day food must be weighed, blood must be tested and the correct insulin administered. There is no room for my sister to have a 'night out' as there are few, even those of us close to her, who can read our niece the way that she can. Being a single parent makes every day a struggle - rarely does my sister get a full nights sleep. 

I'm ashamed by how little I knew and how little I cared. It must be said that if ever here was a time for a Type-1 Diabetic to be alive, it's today. With research making it easier to live - the pump means fewer injections. Today we found out that a new pump soon to be released may mean fewer finger pricks. 

It's an expensive disease too. Thousands of dollars spent each year just to give our niece the tools she needs to lead a 'normal' active ten year old's life. My sister's budgeting skills are second to none. I wonder how many families are unable to afford the pump (and to keep it going - another cost). 

In Brisbane we have been lucky to be able to access Moreton Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Centre and the full range of health professionals that attend there. They have been wonderful. This year we all wore our Deadly Choices shirts as a shout-out to them and the work they do. 

If you have time or room, I'd fully recommend supporting Type-1 Diabetes research. 

12 October 2015

Ideas are nothing without execution

You don't own the Big Idea. You only own its execution or its expression. Ideas are nothing without execution.

I have ideas all the time. At the time I have them (and occasionally for years, even decades afterwards) I think they're the best thing in town. However only a small fraction of the ideas I have end up becoming something meaningful. I operate three 'brands' (Critical Classroom, Dark and Disturbing, and Deadly Bloggers) and each of them has been a created gradually. Without any meaningful capital, I have been forced to bootstrap each project incrementally, over a long period of time. The Critical Classroom evolved from my early work with Nyumba, Blacklines Publications, my teaching, and my experiences as a parent of Murri kids in school today.

For better or worse, the Critical Classroom is an expression of my ability to bring resources together to create something. You see, how you execute is an sign of your leadership (your ability to enrol others into your vision for a desired result), the environment, and the resources available to you. Last week when I was in Sydney for the launch of Indigenous Business Month, I saw what Mayrah Sonter from 33 Creative was able to pull together. Her ability to communicate her vision and make big asks of people to get things like sponsorship was a sign of her leadership. If I was launching Indigenous Business Month, I have no doubt that I would not have been able to generate the levels of sponsorship or media interest that she did. I don't have what it takes to do that kind of work. I wonder if in another person's hands what The Critical Classroom might be by now.

Don't misunderstand the intention of this post. I'm not 'having a go' at myself, nor am I looking for praise. I think my work has been meaningful and I perform my kind of leadership. This posts comes in response to those who want to complain that 'I had the idea first' but whose execution fell short. There's only so far that kind of thinking and attitude will get you.

If you consistently fail to execute the Big Idea, perhaps you need to do some self-reflection exercises. Can you see patterns of behaviour and patterns of thinking? I'm in my mid-forties and I'm still learning about myself and figuring out why I fall short of my own expectations. 

Rather than complain about the Big Idea not being taken up by The Masses - and blaming all and sundry for it - why not seek out a partner with complimentary skills? Two or three heads are often better than one. Your Big Idea may still fail - the external environment has a way of spoiling the best laid plans. Just don't keep complaining that your idea was taken, or 'I thought of that first'.

When you focus on the Big Idea and ignore execution, then you're really only telling one part of the story. 

06 October 2015

Grateful for the dirt under my fingers

This afternoon I have dirt under my fingers. It's because of my son. He's 16 and he loves pottering around the garden. I've always loved the garden but have too short an attention span to give it the kind of love it needs to thrive. But my son is different. He loves to potter around, planting and replanting. He's always been like that even when he was a toddler. All the old people we know give him plants now. He notices things in the yard that the rest of us miss.

Following his lead, I've just come back into the house from spending an hour with my head in the plants. Three of us were out there, digging up the bindies, pulling out weeds, and just getting our hands dirty.

I'm grateful to my son because I know that I would have sat here at my desk tired (it's mid-afternoon & I could easily nanna-nap) and not at all productive. Instead of sitting here forcing myself to focus, I've spent an hour breathing in the dirt and plants, moving, and putting my mind elsewhere.

And hour later I'm here, ready, focused and productive. Definitely time not wasted.

05 October 2015

The inaugural Indigenous Business Month (1st - 31st October) is launched

I travelled to Sydney last week to attend the launch of Indigenous Business Month. Indigenous Business Month is an initiative of the Murra Indigenous Business Masterclass Alumni.

Iscariot Media created the logo design as well as built the website. I'm looking forward to adding fresh content to the website as the years go on.

The goals of Indigenous Business Month are about drawing attention to the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses across Australia. There are events around the country, and hopefully we will see more and more people get on board each year.

I have to add a special mention to the amazing Mayrah Sonter from 33 Creative who really did drive Indigenous Business Month from 'idea' to 'reality'. She took the reins and made it happen.

Alumni from four different years of Murra. 

01 October 2015

That's not networking, that's space hogging

Ah, NOW I remember you. 

I met you about two years ago at that networking thing. You stood really close to me, thrust your business card in my hand, and then talked at me for five minutes straight about your business and the work that you do, how yours was the only way to do business and how you were saving the community. Telling us how important your work is. You didn't ask me my name, or about my business. You weren't there to listen, you were there to be listened to. It wasn't about forming relationships, it was about excavating opportunities. And I clearly wasn't an opportunity for you. Just like that, you moved to the next target. It was all about you. 

I didn't remember your name then because I threw your card away as soon as you walked away. I knew that I would never work with you. The positive is you were a lesson in how not to network.

Now, two years later you're here and you're hogging the space. Again. With things that are irrelevant to the purpose of the event. We're here to learn to make our businesses, our communities and our families stronger. We know all that stuff you're going on about, we live it too. Every day. But please, tell us more about The Struggles. Make sure we all know you're the big man in the room. Hog the space and the energy. You don't seek our permission to speak, you just speak, and you take our time. No you steal our time. Never mind about what we've got going on. Never mind what it took for us to turn up. We're there to learn. You there to be heard. 

And again, it's all about you. 

29 September 2015

Busy, distracted, writing elsewhere...

So it's been over a month since my last post - busy, distracted and writing elsewhere are my excuses. 

Busy ...
Indigenous Business Month - we (Iscariot Media) have created the logo and website. It launches on Thursday (1st October) in Sydney. It's been a little crazy! 

Distracted ...
I've been distracted by trying to get my ass to the gym (and mostly failing), and by family being overseas (but home now).  I can't really concentrate when they're overseas. 

Writing elsewhere ... 
I've been busy writing assignments - doing my Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. I've started it twice before (and got distracted), and will DEFINITELY not get distracted again. I've also just finished writing my University Unit and have finally had it completed and approved. 

I think I need a new writing focus. I like how Anita Heiss regularly writes "Gratefuls". Maybe that's an exercise that could get me going. 

Alright. I'll yarn soon. 


Image source: Flowers at Lidcombe, Sydney. 29th September 2015. iPhone 6. 

27 August 2015

Promoting your work using social media - focus on relationship building

Two years ago I presented Blogging for Beginners at the First Nations Australia Writers National Workshop at the State Library of Queensland in Brisbane. This year I've been invited back to talk about how writers can use social media to promote their work.

I've been thinking a lot about how to approach the talk as I've done a couple of 'how to use social media' presentations this year - most of them have focused on the what and how. In this presentation though I would like to bring the conversation to building relationships.

I wrote recently about how the networking is about forming relationships. Just as we create, build and foster real-life/face-to-face relationships, as authors, writers and storytellers we can create and build relationships with our audiences. Using social media tools can facilitate this relationship building.

What a good relationship looks like will vary from person to person. But there are some common elements - good listening, sharing, regular communication, interesting interactions. These four elements can be easily replicated online. Making posts that are interesting, replying when your audience comments, posting regularly and sharing stories about yourself are all aspects of that regardless of which platform you might be on.

You can see my workshop notes on Slideshare.

24 August 2015

Getting ready to make the leap ... to Wordpress

Okay folks. My few loyal readers. I think it's time that I made the leap from Blogger to Wordpress. I have a fondness for Blogger. It's reliable, loyal, and always will be my choice for the beginner.

But like many hopeful bloggers before me, I have visions of grander things. And self-hosted Wordpress is the option of the future.

I'm going to try to keep  the name - notquitecooked.com. There will be technical difficulties with this as I signed up with Google and have to work out how to unravel this arrangement.

Other changes may include an incorporation of some of my Critical Classroom work here. I spent many years dividing up my interests (iscariot = business, critical classroom = indigenous stuff, deadly bloggers = social media + indigenous voice. not quite cooked/leesawatego = the rest), but perhaps this discombobulated me isn't right.

Anyhoo. I'll keep you posted. Let's see what the future holds ... the joy of exporting & importing is that you can can go backwards & forwards relatively simple.

Blogger - you're forever in my heart. ;-)

ps. i'm not sure how long this will take. could be month! keep you posted.

23 August 2015

Reflections on business building

So much of what we do at Iscariot Media has been ad hoc, and/or incremental so over time we have taken on opportunities that have been outside our original goals. We started in 1994, delivering and creating Indigenous educational resources, and now in 2015, we’re working with clients in graphic design, building websites, business and communication strategy consultation, and art project management, as well as continuing to create Indigenous education resources. My 1994 business and my 2015 business are very different. 

Not being anywhere as ‘cooked’ as I’d like the business to be, I wanted to reflect two decades on some of the challenges of growing and expanding. 

1. While we’re never bored, and constantly challenged as we stretch outside our existing skills set, we’re also distracted from our core business. 

It’s not easy, when you’re a very small business that is reliant on sub-contractors (ie. no full-time staff), to run increasing numbers of projects and increasing numbers of clients. Maintaining focus on our core business (developing Indigenous educational resources) has been difficult at times. The reality is that the Critical Classroom is our own brand, and the development of this brand is an internal pressure. Our client work on the other hand, is an external pressure. It’s much easier to push back deadlines for your internal projects in favour of external deadlines. 

2. Because we’re adding new services all the time, we don’t necessarily have time to build systems around those services. 

All successful businesses owners make the transition from working "in the business" to working "on the business" by creating systems. It takes time to develop systems. Because in many cases I’ve reacted to opportunities (a good example of this is social media services), I’ve found that there is lag time between when you start doing something new and the realisation that you’ve just add a new service that you can now offer. It takes time to incorporate new tasks and the wins/losses that accompany them, in order to adapt them into systems that make product delivery efficient.

3. Letting yourself grow. 

I had no idea when I started way back in 1994, that I would be working with clients from all around Australia on their own businesses. It’s frustrating that I’ve moved myself away from developing Indigenous education resources (and every now and then, you’ll find me happily back there), but it’s also exciting. Over twenty years of being in business I guess I’ve learned a few things that I can give to others who are just starting out. But for me personally, it’s been a slow-cooker realisation that I know a thing or two and that I’m valuable to others. 

4. Understanding that as we expand our networks, new opportunities arise. 

From an objective angle, my career has not been super stellar career. I’m not one of the super-stars of my generation and that's really fine with me. My CV is full of pot-holes, hard left turns and the odd u-turn. This is due partly because I inherited my father's shot attention span, my own inherent curiosity, but also because since the age of 24 have been the primary carer for my four children. I've always worked. I was back at Nyumba weeks after Eddie was born, and I started working at Griffith Uni exactly 3 weeks after Gavin was born. I've done tutoring and sessional lecturing while babies have napped, and have breastfed babies while running tutes. Despite consistently working, by my own choice, I've more or less let my career take fifth place with my work life revolving around children and within Brisbane only. However, now that my youngest child is in her mid-teens, this year I’ve experienced the freedom to work, travel and network more than ever before. This has meant I've seen my network gradually expand. And  I'm beginning to realise that ‘networking’ in this sense is really just being able to meet new people and form stronger and deeper relationships. One sistah recently said to me "ah.. social capital.. network, network, network". These relationships are beginning to mean further expansion of our business opportunities. 

Whether you’re at the beginning of your business journey or in the middle of it, I say welcome to the club. It’s scary and exciting. It's also tiring. You may not realise it yet, but you’ve swapped the 9 - 5, for 52/24/7 (yes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year). There is ALWAYS something to be done.

But hopefully, it’s a world of your own making. You’re responsible for it. There’s power in being owner. 

21 August 2015

Everton Park Business Breakfast 2015

Many in my inner circle say that I'm stretched too thin. Some days I'm inclined to believe them. But I'm drawn to new things and new opportunities. As a result of this crazy crazy approach to life, I found myself Chair of the Everton Park State High School P&C - Family and Community Engagement sub-committee. I seriously have no time to do this, but I'm doing it anyway. 

What the FACE is and what it does is still unclear. There are four of us parents who each month meet to create innovative ways to promote Everton Park State High School with a view to altering the perception many in the local community have of it. 

One of the activities I've driven is a business breakfast. It's my belief that by increasing the standing of EPSHS within  the local business community we're better placed to influence the way that families see it. 

So last month the first connections breakfast was held. I've created a Facebook page (because clearly being admin for 18 other pages isn't enough!). 

It was an excellent morning. Cameron Reilly from Motherlode Marketing was a fantastic keynote speaker.

I'm looking forward to many more breakfast events. You can keep track of the Everton Park Business group here: www.facebook.com/evertonparkbusiness.

19 August 2015

Welcome to Brisbane. You are on Aboriginal Land.

Coming down the escalator at Brisbane International Airport this morning. I saw this sign. Under the 2 it says "You are on ..."

In my head, all I could think was "You are on .... "

"You are on Aboriginal land."

How cool would it be if that's what the sign really said!

27 July 2015

In the middle of the blacklash

I've been thinking recently about when I read Susan Faludi's Backlash decades (OMG!! Decades!?!?!) ago and it made sense. The tl;dr version of course is the more they react and the more they kick and scream, the bigger the change underway. (For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction?)

That's how I have to think about Reclaim, Bolt, Devine, Ackerman, Henderson, IPA et al. They keep yelling and fighting, kicking and screaming every millimetre of the way. And they will continue to do that until their last breath. Some of their children will even take over their righteous war.



I have to live in hope. Hope that they are on the wrong side of history. That eventually the majority will look at them and laugh at their conservatism, their ethnocentrism, their insularity and their dream of a world of a different time.

I have to continue to live in hope. What other option is there?

25 June 2015

Resources for NAIDOC Week

A little bit of shameless self-promotion in today's blog post. We made these for The Critical Classroom (www.criticalclassroom.com). They're for sale. The little bit we make from sales all helps to support the work we do. Would love if you shared it around. 

Much appreciated. 

24 June 2015

Thank you Murra!

I've hardly posted. And it's not because I didn't have anything to say. I just had NO time. I arrived home from Melbourne on Sunday night after four nights down there at the Melbourne Business School. 

I intend writing on the Murra program in more depth on the Iscariot Media blog, but let me just say that it was great - both the content and the opportunity to meet other business owners.

Some highlights from this Melbourne trip, 

Wandering down to Fed Square and seeing an opera performance by a young Koori performer. 

Catching up with PVC Professor Bronwyn Fredericks and having a love dinner at Shark Finn House.

Finding out you can be too over-dressed for a night-club. 

There were many other highlights that will come back as I find some time to go through my photo library. 

Let's see if I can complete this last #blogJine stretch. 

17 June 2015

Dinner in Melbourne tonight

I've arrived in Melbourne today for the final instalment of the Murra Indigenous Business Masterclass at the Melbourne Business School. 

After arriving at the MBS, I headed down to Federation Square to get a new charger for my computer. Once there I stopped to listen to a deadly Koori Opera singer performing (will post a link to a little video I captured when I'm at my desktop). After a few tweets from the street I found out that a friend was in town.

So rather than grab a quick bite and head back to my room, I ended up at Shark Fin House on Little Bourke Street with Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor Bronwyn Fredericks. We had an excellent meal with great conversation with lots of yarning about social media. Bronwyn has discovered a real talent for Twitter and is a wonderful representative of CQ University. If you're not following her, I thoroughly recommend it. 

La Boîte Theatre Company's Medea is a must see

Tonight I went with a sistah to La Boite's production of Medea.

I have to say I know little about the story and did very minor Wikipedia research while waiting for my ride this evening. Part of me wants to chase down the tale, while the rest of me wants to savour this interpretation by Suzie Miller. I do not know how close this version is to the original, but right now I don't really care.

Christen O'Leary was absolutely wonderful tonight as Medea. She was strong and powerful, her performance was passionate and utterly convincing. Helen Christinson played three roles (the Nurse, the Princess and Narrator) and owned each and every role. Beside these two powerful performance Damien Cassidy's Jason was weak and underwhelming. I do wonder what on earth did Medea see in him?

The set was fantastic. I would love to have got down onto the stage and inspected all the elements.

The other "characters" in the production were four vocalists whose work was mesmerising. (I don't to say more about the vocal work in case I spoil it for you).

I didn't know what to expect tonight, and I left the theatre 100% satisfied.

Well done La Boîte, and all the players involved.

The production runs until the 20th of June, if you can get along I recommend you do.

16 June 2015

A Snapchat captured day

I knew from the outset what today's post would be. I decided to capture aspects of my day in Snapchat. 

Snapchat now allows for the creation of "stories", and these stories can be downloaded. I've downloaded today's story (they only last 24 hours and then disappear forever) and then uploaded to YouTube. I would have embedded the video, however I'm not at my desktop and it turns out you can't grab embedding code when you're only using a mobile. 

So here is the link: http://youtu.be/tE0hnHrYJyI. Tomorrow I will embed the .57second video. 

Til tomorrow. 

Postcript: Just realise I've missed my 12am deadline so this technically isn't a 15th of June post. I got distracted by work and ended up staying up too late. 

14 June 2015

New pic and playing with Photoshop

Two years ago I took a leap and invested in a Certificate IV in Design at TAFE. It was fantastic. I often felt waaaayyy out of my comfort zone, but I learned so much about Creative Suite. I've used that knowledge EVERY day since. 

Creative Suite is/was Adobe's suite of design products (now it's referred to as Creative Cloud). It includes Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, Dreamweaver and a bunch of other programs that I don't use. But I can't imagine the last two years without the skills I learned from the course. 

I'll never be a great designer. I'm pedestrian at best. But I'm able to create the majority of social/digital items that I need to run my business.

Today I created a new professional image that will get me through the next few months. And thanks to Photoshop it doesn't look anything like the "in-my-daughter's-bedroom-pj-wearing-dull" original photo. 

The Cert IV was two and a half days per week for two semesters and there were times I thought I was crazy trying to run the business while doing the course during the day. But it was all worth it in the end. 

13 June 2015

An evening with Dr Cornell West in Brisbane

Last Thursday evening we had the pleasure of seeing visiting African-American scholar Dr Cornell West in conversation with Nazeem Hussain at the Brisbane Convention Centre. Dr West is touring the capital cities at whirlwind pace. 

Before the start of the event, Dr West made a point of visiting the Brisbane Sovereign Embassy at Musgrave Park. He also gave the stage up for Wayne Wharton and Bo Spearim to speak from the stage before he and Nazeem came on. Aunty Jean Phillips (during question time) and Wayne Wharton both said to the audience that few of the people who attended would ever attend an Aboriginal event. 

I guess that's one of the things to note, Australia doesn't really have a tradition where a thinker like Dr West could flourish and make a career. He's a public speaker as well as an academic. He's also a published author and has recorded spoken word albums. When you watch him, he has a way of speaking that's like performance or spoken word, or rap. 

His insights into race relations were a little too sophisticated for QandA earlier that week, and are a little too sophisticated for Australia generally.

It was a worthwhile event, and I'm glad that Indigenous Australia was recognised by Dr West throughout his answers. He continuously referenced our context and didn't just refer to the U.S. 

I hope the organisers have met their criteria for a successful tour and it happens again. It would be good to see more events like this, including ones a little less "blokey". I'm surprised there were no books for sale before and after. I'm sure the organisers would have made a few extra dollars. 

11 June 2015

Inspiring educators

Today I had the privilege of spending the day with a group of amazing Murri early childhood educators. All women, and from all over Queensland, they came together to grow their knowledge of early childhood but also to explore and extend their understanding of bringing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of knowing, being and doing to their learning spaces. 

By the end I came away inspired by these little acknowledged workers - quite often they're jobs are very ordinary, their wages are not that great, they'll probably never win awards or any accolades. An yet they do some of the most important work in our communities. Their work now (today), will help to shape future Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander generations. 

I go to bed inspired all of them.