actions

This collects the key actions (a more interesting way of describing activities) that the nonfictionLab undertakes. Collected under the menu you will find the major events and initiatives of the lab.

Kat Clarke and Emily Bitto read from works in progress

Please join us at the Urban Writing House on Tuesday 25 July for an informal reading of works in progress by Emily Bitto, author of The Strays, and Kat Clarke, graduate of RMIT’s BA (Creative Writing).


This is the third outcome of Women Writers in the City, a project supported by City of Melbourne 2016 Arts Grants.

non/fictionLab invited Emily Bitto and Kat Clarke to create new work, collaborate on an experiment in mentorship, and explore what it means to be a female-identifying writer in the city of Melbourne.

This reading in the Urban Writing House is a rare opportunity to hear them read from works in progress in an intimate space. There’ll be time for questions and there’ll be snacks and wine.

Emily Bitto’s debut novel, The Strays, was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript in 2013. The novel was published by Affirm Press, and went on to win the 2015 Stella Prize. Emily lives in Melbourne where she co-owns and runs Carlton wine bar Heartattack and Vine.

Kat Clarke is a multi-talented creative and consultant. Being a proud Wotjobaluk woman from the Wimmera, she takes pride in being active with both her own community and the Aboriginal community in Melbourne. Having graduated from RMIT in writing, she finds herself mostly merging her storytelling with her other passions such as arts management, community development, and film. Her upbringing and driven passion for her culture, has guided Kat to become a Cultural consultant for gaming and film companies interested in telling First Nations stories.

Date: Tues 25 July
Time: 5pm for 5.30pm
Location: Urban Writing House, Stewart Street (behind Building 80, opposite the basketball courts – 80.1.8).
RSVP: ronald.scott@rmit.edu.au

Supported by the City of Melbourne Arts Grants Program.

Docuverse Snapshots: Karelle Arsenault

Snapshots: I recall an interactive documentary…

By Kim Munro

Part-way through her presentation on interactive documentary and memory, Karelle began to recount memories of sleepovers as a child. Karelle and her gang of movie-loving friends would line up their mattresses in the basement and have ‘watching marathons’ that lasted well into the morning. They would eat pizza and watch movies (often horror), compiling quantitative data such as the number of murders in each Friday the 13th sequel. Karelle then invited the Docuverse audience to speak about their own memories and we each recalled similar ‘film events’ from when we were younger.

There are many reasons why memories of watching films remain vivid; the collective experience of watching films, a formative time in our lives, the cultural position and posterity that many films and TV series have acquired. But how will interactive documentary be remembered without these factors which help us to retain the experience of where we were when we watched these?

Karelle Arsenault’s presentation explored and questioned whether interactive documentary projects will still exist in the future, and if so, how will we remember them? Karelle’s presentation prompted many questions about how we engage in interactive documentary as an individual rather than collective experience, or as something that is studied (a “discourse of sobriety”[1]?) rather than viewed for pleasure. It also raises broader issues around the changing viewing habits that tend further towards individuated experiences rather than collective ones. The longevity and impact of interactive documentary is an issue that is often discussed in scholarship in the field. Jon Dovey claims that given this is a relatively new field, we will still need more time to ascertain its impact, establish audiences and develop a culture.[2] Karelle’s presentation gave us both the opportunity to think about our own film memories while also critically questioning the role and place that interactive documentary might hold for us in the future.

 

Workshop recap:

By Hannah Brasier

Karelle’s second event with Docuverse was her The experience of interactive documentary workshop. In this workshop Karelle worked through a series of questions with a group of 6 participants on their experience with The Block (SBS); a web documentary on Redfern’s infamous block in Sydney . The workshop ran in a focus group style, however Karelle’s intention was that everyone attending could take something away from the discussion. The discussion cultivated by Karelle’s questions spanned from how and when we interacted with The Block to the specifics of the interface design and content.

As most of those who participated in the workshop were makers Karelle was interested in how the interactive documentary experience could be improved to alleviate the tension most of us felt between the intention of The Block and the experience of it. Most of us felt that while the interface provides a map of the places within Redfern’s block there was no way us as users could experience these places. So, while there were a catalogue of video interviews with those who had a connection to the block there was no connection made in the interface between the interview stories and the places. The map of the block as interface then appeared to have little significance.

This tension between intention and experience is something which has emerged throughout Docuverse’s events, so it was great that Karelle gave us an opportunity to discuss this in detail. What emerged through the discussion was that there are often tensions between the interface and the content of a project. As interactive documentary makers we need to give users the agency to explore content in a way which enriches their relationship to what they are seeing.

images: Hannah Brasier

[1] Bill Nichols, Introduction to Documentary. 2nd ed. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010, p. 250.

[2] Jon Dovey, ‘Who Wants to Become Banal? The i-doc from Experiment to Industry’, in Judith Aston, Sandra Gaudenzi & Mandy Rose (eds), i-docs: The Evolving Practices of Interactive Documentary, Wallflower Press, London & New York, 2017, p. 274.

Lunchtime Lit: Emily Bitto & Kat Clarke at the Emerging Writers Festival

RMIT’s non/fictionLab invites you to join us on Thursday 22 June as Stella Prize-winning author Emily Bitto (The Strays) and multi-talented writer Kat Clarke discuss what it means to be a woman writer in the City of Melbourne.

Hosted by the Emerging Writers Festival, this is the second outcome of Women Writers in the City, a project run by RMIT’s non/fictionLab and supported by the City of Melbourne Arts Grants Program. We invited Emily Bitto and Kat Clarke to create new work, collaborate on an experiment in mentorship, and discuss their ideas, experiences, and craft.
Emily Bitto’s debut novel, The Strays, was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript in 2013. The novel was published by Affirm Press, and went on to win the 2015 Stella Prize. Emily lives in Melbourne where she co-owns and runs Carlton wine bar Heartattack and Vine.

Kat Clarke is a multi-talented creative and consultant. Being a proud Wotjobaluk woman from the Wimmera, she takes pride in being active with both her own community and the Aboriginal community in Melbourne. Having graduated from RMIT in writing, she finds herself mostly merging her storytelling with her other passions such as arts management, community development, and film. Her upbringing and driven passion for her culture have guided Kat to become a Cultural consultant for gaming and film companies interested in telling First Nations stories.

Date: Thursday 22 June, 2017, 12.30pm
Cost: Free
1000 £ Bend (Unknown Union)
361 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne VIC 3000

Supported by the City of Melbourne Arts Grants Program.

More details here.

Non/fictionLab’s David Carlin has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Lapland this month. David gave a Keynote talk and a workshop at the University of Lapland’s Faculty of Social Sciences Seminar: ‘Situating the Self Ethically, Academically and in Society’ in Ranua, Finland. David’s talk was called ‘Essaying as Method’. It looked at the idea of essaying as method through discussion of a workshop called Essaying Manila David led with Australian filmmaker and RMIT Adjunct Professor John Hughes, as part of this year’s WrICE residency in the Philippines. ‘The participants were a mixed group of Filipinos and Australians, academics, students, writers – self selected on the basis of being interested in non-fiction writing. The topic of investigation presented to the group was Manila. The task was to ‘essay Manila’. We asked: in the highly constrained time and space available, what kinds of textual accounts, brief and provisional, might be produced, not to represent Manila but to help reassemble it, as it were: to start to trace the associations that make it up as a city?’

The Ranua events took place adjacent to the Ranua Zoo, the world’s northernmost zoo, where many companion species could be encountered including the critically endangered Arctic Fox. Behind bars but, this one at least, alive.

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” – Søren Kierkegaard

A further gathering of devout diarologists took place in the Urban Writers House last Thursday night to consider avenues for situating and extending discussion of our juvenilia  into a range of possible research frameworks within the field of creative writing and beyond. Contexts such as memoir studies and memory studies, ideas of reading and writing as therapeutic practices, and future forays into essayistic and documentary space are all under consideration.  Wider readings are being sourced and shared as we tease out our understanding of the diaristic impulse – past and present, digital and analogue – as means to capture, to confess, and to confide.

A third movement will be held in July.

“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.”  – Gwendolyn Fairfax, in The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde

 The first ‘movement’ of the inaugural Symphony of Awkward was conducted last Thursday evening at the Urban Writers House under the baton of Stayci Taylor, Kim Munro, and Peta Murray. This project, supported by seed-funding from non/fictionLab, drew eight contributors, all of whom had ransacked their personal archives to unearth something mortifying for the occasion. Family photos, teenage diaries, and travel journals were among the stashes and sources mined and shared in quest of traces of our pre-formed selves.

The group will meet again before the end of May to discuss and to refine research possibilities, but several avenues are already apparent. These include work on digital vs analogue archives, questions of the gendered nature of diary-keeping, notions of seeing and re-seeing, considerations of the developing artistic ‘eye’ and ‘voice’, and a further tantalising research strand around the study of Girlhood Hair Styles Through The Ages.

 

Sophie Cunningham’s Elephant Walk, 3 May

Ranee was the first elephant in Australia. She arrived in Melbourne from Calcutta Zoo on the 5th March 1883. After docking in Port Melbourne she was held at Sandridge at the Port Melbourne police station until late at night. She was then walked through the streets in darkness.  It took many hours to walk the seven kilometers but Ranee remained calm until she saw the zoo itself, at which point she attempted to bolt. Ranee lived at the zoo until her death nineteen years later.  Ranee’s dark walk, after a long and lonely sea voyage, provides a way for us to talk about a range of things including the rights (lack of) of domesticated/working animals in early Melbourne and the politics of zoos.

Peta Murray

Ranee’s walk begins as a stroll through Melbourne streets, and ends with a sense of quiet observance as we approach the zoo gates. I’m not a local, yet the next day I feel the stirring of a childhood memory. I take down the blue album and search for a page, labelled, in my father’s hand: January, 1961. There are no photos of animals, but I find what I want: an image of me, arms atop a wire fence, my back to the camera, looking out at something. There is a brick animal ‘house’ in the distance, and a small white sign, just visible. Please Do Not Feed.

I am not quite three-years-old. We are at Sydney’s Taronga Park Zoo, me, my mother, another child, his mother. Here is another photo. The two of us – the boy in his white short-sleeved shirt and ‘little man’ bow tie, me in my sleeveless summer dress – wedged between our mothers, in their cat’s eye sunglasses. They’re smiling, smoking, as we wait to ride the elephant.

The memory firms. I recall a crude box-like saddle astride the elephant’s back. There is a wooden platform for sitting on and another where we rest our feet and a leather belt to strap us in tight, and we sit, three or four aside, as the poor beast rises, in slow motion, and bears us around and around its concrete corral.

Francesca Rendle-Short

Went to sleep dreaming of elephants, toes tingling with cold and night walking, thinking of Rainee and her slow walking ears flapping across those two hours or more that she would have spent plodding from sea to zoo, and how I read somewhere that elephants have a unique way of walking as if on high-heeled shoes, their heels protected by thick fatty cartilage, how the heel bones are raised up inside the foot so that it is as if they walk on their toes, how walking on hard constructed material build-environment surfaces must hurt, really hurt, do damage.

Sophie Cuningham

I’ve done Elephant Walk (Ranee’s Walk) twice. Once in the day time alone and once, with all of you, at night. Daylight gave me more of a sense of the historical nature of Port Melbourne and the bottom end of the city. All those old shop fronts and buildings look very different when they aren’t all lit up, and walking under street light gives things an artificial air As well, you could walk more comfortably through the parks. When I walked  alone I found myself feeling more emotional than I did when I was as part of a group. In these ways I connected with the past, and Ranee more. However walking at night allowed for the uncanniness of the moment when we turned off Royal Parade, towards Royal Park. The moon was bright but there wasn’t much other light. The sky was clear and the air cold. In that half light I got a glimpse of the otherness of the land on which we live, and walked last Wednesday. Ground that must have been even stranger for an intelligent creature from India, just off a boat after a long voyage, walking through the darkness: none of her own kind with her, no possibility of shared language, as she walked towards her servitude. I was so interested in the conversation we had as we walked towards the Zoo entrance.  Why did Ranee try and bolt in the final moments of her walk? Was it the smell of other animals? Their calls? It is hard not to anthropomorphise animals, especially ones as intelligent as elephants. I would so love to know what it was she was thinking and feeling over those few hours of something akin to freedom before she was locked up a final time.

Rees Quilford

After Ranee’ – Dead of night, March 1883, Ranee was led from the Port Melbourne police station to Royal Melbourne Zoo. A new trophy for the colony’s most marvellous of cities. A young elephant shipped from Calcutta, destined for servitude and loneliness. Elephant rides for the city’s children. A magnificent, once wild creature, now Eastern curios, live spectacle.

“subjected and worshipped, bred and sacrificed … something that has been rendered absolutely marginal” John Berger, “Why Look At Animals?”

We retrace that walk. Eight reminiscers, eight kilometres. Attention flits between present and past. Bay Street diners, fish and chips, tapas and wine. Introductions, discussion of work and life. Port Melbourne Town Hall, built just a year prior to Ranee’s journey. Bay Street Post Office, now Domino’s Pizza. Crossing the Yarra river. For Ranee, probably by punt. Now, a four-lane bridge, cars and trams. Flagstaff Gardens, a gathering point for those of the Kulin nation, signal station for shipping arrivals, and the new town’s first burial plot. On to Peel Street, past the Victoria Market, its aisles close and empty. To Haymarket, Royal Parade, then into Royal Park.

After Cemetery Road, the path darkens, the air dampens. The zoo is dark, quiet, a little foreboding. We track the high brick fence toward the gates. At the end of that long, lonely walk on a night in 1883 Ranee panicked and bolted.

I imagine the response was measured. She would have been quickly recaptured. There was nowhere to escape.

It is a serious matter to shoot a working elephant – it is comparable to destroying a huge and costly piece of machinery – and obviously one ought not to do it if it can possibly be avoided.” – George Orwell, “Shooting an Elephant”

Twenty years in servitude, amusement for the citizens of the colony. Melbourne’s lone elephant, half a world from home.

 

 

The first bi-monthly Snapshots event for 2017 was presented by Pat Aufderheide a 2017 Fulbright Senior Fellow at Queensland University of Technology, and University Professor of Communication Studies in the School of Communication at American University in Washington, D.C.

Pat began her talk in participatory fashion by teasing out the audiences’ interests for being there, this nicely set up the concluding discussion.

Of particular interest to the Docuverse group is Pat’s research on the question of, ‘How can journalism and documentary benefit from an area in which practices overlap and how can makers stay safer while telling truth to power?’

Part of Pat’s research has involved conducting an online survey. The online survey research aimed to gain a ‘better understanding of Australian copyright benefits to creatives’. Pat has been extensively interviewing people who do controversial documentary and journalism, to find out what limits their work. The study is based on the ways exceptions of fair use are treated in USA, where documentary filmmakers were more effectively allowed to utilise fair use provisions in the law and save on production costs.

Pat was principal investigator on The Center for Media and Social Impact‘s study entitled “Dangerous Documentaries: Reducing Risk when Telling Truth to Power”. Taking the premise that non-fiction filmmakers who tell truth to power often face aggressive attack from powerful individuals, governmental bodies, businesses and associations. The primary ‘blowback threat’ Pat refers to are the ways journalists and filmmakers are either facing or avoiding major litigation when utilising third party media. The study asked, how are independent makers, often working outside of media institutions for long periods of time, and sometimes untrained in journalistic practices, working with this reality?

The problem emerged, as USA law has fair use provisions, but Australian law does not, yet Australian filmmakers can claim under fair dealing provisions. Pat commented, one of the major issues was that Australian law has too few provisions in place, for courts to work into grey areas of law.

Pat believes there is a lack of exploration of the mutual areas of overlap between journalism and documentary skills and practices. The study recommends these areas would be great together, but asks what institutional support do they have and can some of that support become more mutualised.

On the topic of dilemmas faced by local journalists balancing safety with speaking truth to power, Pat was interested in drawing on Docuverse’s own Nicholas Hansen’s experience producing the documentary Breaking the News and in particular how local journalist Jose Belo balanced the pressure of his investigative reporting for local and foreign news crews. In response, Nicholas mentioned how he chose to highlight the legal dangers and potential arrest Jose was facing, for contacting rebel sources and giving them a voice in the aftermath of the 2008 shooting of Jose Ramos Horta.

The ensuing discussion attended to many participants’ questions and teased out the topics of activism and journalism and ways of being both truthful and subjective in journalism whilst facing the issue of telling people one thing over another.

Study: Dangerous Documentaries: Reducing Risk when Telling Truth to Power
Document: https://cmsimpact.org/resource/dangerous-documentaries-reducing-risk-when-telling-truth-to-power/
Resources: https://cmsimpact.org/resource/dangerous-documentaries-resources-for-filmmakers-2/
Blog post: https://cmsimpact.org/social-impact/documentaries-telling-truth-to-power/

Photos by Nicholas Hansen

 

non/fictionLab HDR student meetup in May

non/fictionLab HDRs will meet to chat about candidature, workshopping and all those other things us researchy students find fun and exciting.This will be a monthly or bi-monthly meet-up.

Please do come along and enjoy some nibbles and drinks with your delightful community of practice.

The first meet-up will take place on May 5, at 4:30pm at the Urban Writing House (rear of RMIT’s building 80) Stewart St. Please RSVP via the link below:

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/nonfictionlab-hdr-meetup-tickets-34059647322

Sophie Cunningham and Rebecca Harkins-Cross reading from works-in-progress

RMIT’s non/fictionLab invites you to join us on Tuesday 2 May for a reading of works in progress by celebrated authors Sophie Cunningham and Rebecca Harkins-Cross.

This is the first outcome of Women Writers in the City, a project run by non/fictionLab, a world-leading centre for new creative practices, and supported by the City of Melbourne Arts Grants Program. We invited Sophie Cunningham and Rebecca Harkins-Cross to create new work, collaborate on an experiment in mentorship, and explore what it means to be a female-identifying writer in the city of Melbourne.

This reading is a rare opportunity to hear them read from works in progress in an intimate space. There’ll be time for questions and there’ll be snacks and wine.

Sophie Cunningham has been on the publishing scene in Australia for thirty years and is the author of four books. She is currently writing her third novel, ‘This Devastating Fever’ which is a fictional reimagining of real historical figures, and she’ll be reading from that work. She is also working on a collection of essays currently called Diary from the End of Days. She is an Adjunct Professor of RMIT University (non/fiction Lab) in the School of Media and Communication in the College of Design and Social Context.

Rebecca Harkins-Cross is an award-winning writer and critic, whose work has been published widely in Australia and internationally. She is currently the film editor for The Big Issue, film columnist for The Lifted Brow and a PhD candidate in Creative Writing at Monash University. Her thesis examines the conceptual possibilities of hybrid critical forms, via an essay collection loosely about the history of fear in Australian cinema. She will be reading from an essay in progress, ‘First Blood’, which is about bushrangers, public danger and cinematic decay.

Date: Tues 2 May
Time: 5pm for 5.30pm
Location: Urban Writing House, Stewart Street (behind Building 80, opposite the basketball courts – 80.1.8).
RSVP: ronald.scott@rmit.edu.au

Supported by the City of Melbourne Arts Grants Program.

Rebecca Harkins-Cross at McCraith House

 

 

Melbourne-based critic, editor and essayist Rebecca Harkins-Cross was a guest at McCraith House this summer, in the lead-up to her participation in Women Writers in the City, a new project from non/fictionLab supported by the City of Melbourne 2017 Arts Grants.

Rebecca says: “During my time at McCraith House I rewrote an extended essay I’d put in a drawer last year after coming to a structural impasse. ‘First Blood’ is a fragmentary and lyrical essay which wrestles with questions of cinema and nation, trying to find a form which can encompass the stories Australian cinema represses as much as those it chooses to tell; it is about bushrangers, film decay, sublimation, myth, ghosts, fire and danger (moral and physical). The residency gave me the time and mental clarity to sit with these jigsaw pieces, move them around each day, and gradually understand how they slotted together.”

Can You Imagine Me Being There? by Simona Castricum

Earlier in March, Simona Castricum presented Can You Imagine Me Being There? at the Urban Writing House, kicking off Brow Talks for the year – a partnership between RMIT’s non/fictionLab and literary organisation The Lifted Brow, publishers in residence at Bowen St Press.

Simona Castricum is a musician, architecture academic and writer from Melbourne. Simona’s musical, spatial and activist interventions articulate gender non-conforming experiences in architectural and emotional space – their relationships to power, sexuality, violence and the body. Her fluid and multidisciplinary practice across architecture, graphic design and music experiment with vocal, percussion, dance, image and typography as both creative tools and evocative publishing forms. Simona is represented by Melbourne queer feminist label LISTEN Records. Her culture and music writing has appeared in The Guardian, Vice, i-D and Archer magazines.

The lecture asked: “What is our expectation of architecture when our cities, buildings – their programs, connections and interfaces – reinforce essentialist and cisnormative notions of gender? For some, that is not an architecture of safety, nor of belonging or identity; rather of hostility, othering and privilege. Relationships between form, space, program and function have unique political and spatial meanings for gender nonconforming people. When program is the enemy of function, we adapt as they disconnect. We seek belonging, safety and find identity. What can be learnt about architectural emotion, space and practice through the lens of gender nonconforming experiences?”

Brow Talks returns to the Urban Writing House Wednesday 26 April.

IMG_5499

(photos & video courtesy Sam Cooney)

Sophie Cunningham at McCraith House

non/fictionLab Adjunct Professor Sophie Cunningham was in residence at McCraith House over summer, in preparation for her Women Writers in the City Fellowship, a new project for non/fictionLab that will be supported by a City of Melbourne Arts Grant in 2017.

Sophie says:

“I was based at the McCraith House in Dromana from Monday January 30 to Saturday February 11.  It was invaluable. I used the time to reconnect with a novel that I started ten years ago called ‘This Devastating Fever’.  It was based on the life of Leonard Woolf, with particular focus on his time as a public servant in Ceylon (1904-1911), the early years of his relationship with and marriage to Virginia, her breakdown, and the outbreak of WW1.  One of the things I needed to figure out is why the novel had stalled, particularly given that the writing I had done on the project (some 20,000 words) was, arguably, stronger than I’d managed to produce for my first two novels. The retreat allowed me to realize I was struggling with just how contested this area of history is, and the wealth of detail that exists in the public realm about these two writers. I took a couple of significant steps. I cut the chord between the novel and ‘real life’. My research on this period of history, and indeed Leonard and Virginia, remains vital, but I’ve changed their names, which has had the effect of releasing me from what did, or didn’t ‘really happen’. The second step was to connect book, emotionally anyway, to the current political climate.  Leonard Woolf was an astute and early critic of Hitler and the rise and Fascism. He was also, being Jewish, subjected to much anti-Semitism throughout his life. One of my early impulses in writing the book was to connect September 11 to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand (i.e. two pivotal moments in history). The rise of the Right, and specifically Donald Trump has reminded me that history is repeating itself yet again. I had not originally planned to write about the build up to WW2 in this novel, but now am doing so. That is, I’m writing about Ceylon and both world wars. I’d also note that Virginia’s worst breakdowns (and, indeed, her suicide in 1941) coincided with these two wars.  I’ve renamed the book The Precipice. The retreat was very successful in reanimating this novel and I am very pleased with how much work I managed to get done. As an aside I’d mention that I also took the time to research a series of historical walks I’m planning and, as a part of that, walked from Sullivan’s Bay to Dromana, in the footsteps of William Buckley in 1803.”

non/fictionLab presents Brow Talks

After a successful launch last year of this public talks series, we welcome back to BROW TALKS for 2017, presented in partnership with The Lifted Brow. Informal in tone and omnivorous in range, these talks are fun, forward-thinking samplers of the best new thinking about nonfiction today. Please join us at the Urban Writing House, non/fictionLab’s home for all things research, writing, and the city. Bring questions and a good attitude!

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Lecture Three – Wednesday 22 March, 6pm for 6.30
CAN YOU IMAGINE ME BEING THERE?
Simona Castricum

What is our expectation of architecture when our cities, buildings – their programs, connections and interfaces – reinforce essentialist and cisnormative notions of gender? For some, that is not an architecture of safety, nor of belonging or identity; rather of hostility, othering and privilege. Relationships between form, space, program and function have unique political and spatial meanings for gender nonconforming people. When program is the enemy of function, we adapt as they disconnect. We seek belonging, safety and find identity. What can be learnt about architectural emotion, space and practice through the lens of gender nonconforming experiences?

Simona Castricum is a musician, architecture academic and writer from Melbourne. Simona’s musical, spatial and activist interventions articulate gender non-conforming experiences in architectural and emotional space – their relationships to power, sexuality, violence and the body. Her fluid and multidisciplinary practice across architecture, graphic design and music experiment with vocal, percussion, dance, image and typography as both creative tools and evocative publishing forms. Simona is represented by Melbourne queer feminist label LISTEN Records. Her culture and music writing has appeared in The Guardian, Vice, i-D and Archer magazines.

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Lecture Four – Wednesday 26 April, 6pm for 6.30
THE LANGUAGE OF PROGRESS
Chad Parkhill

Last year saw democracies around the world elect regressive and reactionary leaders (Donald Trump, Rodrigo Duterte, the return of Pauline Hanson) or enact reactionary political programs (Brexit). These events, and the possibility of similar events in the near future, have created a crisis for progressives. How can we build progressive alliances and solidarity across identity groups and between different worldviews? How has the neoliberal project impacted the language and concepts we use to articulate a progressive and just vision for the world?

This lecture will examine discourses of contemporary progressive politics to argue that the language we use to articulate these politics is inadequate to the task of combating global reactionary and regressive political movements. Drawing upon the analysis of performative speech acts and performativity developed by queer theorists such as Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick and Judith Butler, it argues for concrete changes in the ways progressives talk about, and therefore think about, their politics – away from a neoliberally-inflected politics of the oppressed self, towards a politics of contingent solidarity.

Chad Parkhill is a Melbourne-based cultural critic who writes about sex, booze, music, history, and books—but not necessarily in that order. His work has appeared in The Australian, Junkee, Kill Your Darlings, The Lifted Brow, Meanjin, Overland, and The Quietus.

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WHERE
non/fictionLab Urban Writing House (80.01.08)
(Access the Urban Writing House through the rear of Building 80. It’s on Stewart St, ground floor, across from the basketball courts, between A’Beckett and Franklin.)

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RSVP to rsvp@theliftedbrow.com

non/fictionLab HDR Student Meet-up

non/fictionLab HDRs will meet to chat about candidature, workshopping and all those other things us researchy students find fun and exciting.This will be a monthly or bi-monthly meet-up.

Please do come along and enjoy some nibbles and drinks with your delightful community of practice.

The first meet-up will take place on March 9, at 4:30pm at the Urban Writing House (rear of RMIT’s building 80) Stewart St. Please RSVP via the link below: