Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘libraries’

Memory Squad!

What does it mean to have a creative relationship with the past?

How do 21st century institutions manage our cultural heritage?

I asked Jacinta Sutton, Gavin Bannerman, and Laura Daenke of the State Library of Queensland.

Call them the Memory Squad.

tumblr_n6iv53qq8z1sa11jco1_500

Read about their work over at Library as Incubator today.

Banned Books Week: Love Illustrated, Rona’s War, and Hansard 37

I’m working in a library at the moment, so here’s three quick stories for Banned Books Week, the US-led celebration of our freedom to read what we want.

Materials from Rona Joyner's STOP campaign - via State Library of Queensland

Materials from Rona Joyner’s STOP campaign – via State Library of Queensland

These all come from the research of the State Library of Queensland’s resident banned book specialist, Joan Bruce. Read more

Local History, Local Music

Got to love a conference which takes place in a pub: I’m speaking at next week’s Australian gathering of the International Association of Music Librarians, and the venue is Brisbane’s Ship Inn, a “rowdy sailors’ drinking den now transformed into a civilised gastropub”.

My paper’s called “Wondrous Strange, Marvellous Electrical” and it’s scheduled for the afternoon of Friday, 30 September. I’ll use a playlist to explore musicality, play, makers, archives, uncomfortable histories, and information science in the digital age.

It’s not too late to sign up for the conference via their Eventbrite page.

Attendees will get to hear a bit of Powerwolf during my presentation, but sadly Mina’s ‘Se Telefonando’ didn’t make the cut.

It’s lovely, though, so have a listen below:

 

Comic Makers at Brisbane Parking Day

Yesterday I took a team of staff from the State Library of Queensland to run a pop-up comic making stand in Brisbane’s West End.

Brisbane Parking Day - Comic Maker Stall

Drawing on previous experiences with comic book dice at Bermondsey Street Festival, we took over a car parking space to let Brisbane locals tell their own sidewalk stories using simple three-dimensional cartoons. Read more

Science and Belonging at Brisbane Writers Festival 2016

1: Anti-panels

On Sunday, I hosted the Science and Belonging panel at Brisbane Writers Festival.

Scientists Tamara Davis and Maggie Hardy joined writers Ellen van Neerven and Maree Kimberley for a conversation about their work and the crossovers between art, science, storytelling, and identity.

We wanted the people attending our event to be participants, not just an audience – so I helped the library devise an “anti-panel” session inspired by our Broadband and Heritage workshops earlier this year.

In the “anti-panel”, the audience split up into four groups. Each group got to spend ten minutes in conversation with each of our four guests. At the end of that forty-minute session, we held a plenary panel where our guests reflected on the discussions they’d had, and more questions could be fielded from the floor.

The aim was to change audiences’ experience at a festival panel from “sitting watching VIPs have a conversation, with maybe a few questions at the end” to full interaction and engagement.

Our tools weren’t digital devices or social media apps, but wheelie chairs and a stopwatch.

And we learned as we went – adapting, for example, to the acoustics of the space during group discussion.

The experiment in event design was part of a broader conversation I’ve been having with David Robertson around audience participation and public engagement. You can read more of his work at the Beyond Panels website, a great one-stop shop for alternative event formats.

2: We Need To Talk About Kelvin

The 2016 Brisbane Writers Festival will be notorious for Lionel Shriver’s controversial keynote, which challenged notions of cultural appropriation, and the powerful response to it from Yassmin Abdel-Magied.

Festival organisers quickly organised a right-to-reply for Yassmin and other writers, which you can watch on Yassmin’s Facebook page. (The live stream was filmed by Yen-Rong Wong, whose account of the dispute is also worth reading).

Our Science and Belonging event, presented by the State Library of Queensland for the Festival, was part of the library’s year-long theme of Belonging – an exploration of many different Queensland identities and experiences.

During the event, we were asked if we had deliberately chosen an all-women panel of experts. We hadn’t – we simply wanted outstanding practitioners of science and science-fiction – but we also acknowledged the importance of bringing together women, migrants, and Indigenous people as experts on a panel which was not “the token diversity panel”.

I’m proud that the Library and the Festival were able to deliver this special celebration of science and speculative fiction with a distinctive Queensland flavour. See more from Brisbane Writers Festival via the #bwf16 hashtag on Twitter.

New Adventures at the Brisbane Writers Festival

This weekend, join me for two events at the Brisbane Writers Festival.

On Saturday 10th September at 4pm, I’ll be on the Rules of Engagement panel with Kate Pullinger and Caroline Heim, talking about the shifting relationships between institutions, artmakers, scientists, audiences, and participants.

Then, on Sunday 11th September at 11.30am, join Ellen Van Neerven, Maggie Hardy, Tamara Davis, and Maree Kimberley for Science and Belonging, a special presentation by the State Library of Queensland.

Instead of the usual panel discussion, we’ll be running a Beyond Panels session which maximises your chance to talk to our guests.

Our panel of scientists and speculative fiction writers will talk about their work with Festival  visitors before leading a discussion exploring the collisions, contrasts, and common ground between speculative fiction and scientific practice.

Find out more about Rules of Engagement and Science and Belonging at the Brisbane Writers Festival website.

Townsville Adventures

Last month, I went up to Townsville in North Queensland with a team of staff from the State Library.

I worked with Townsville staff on strategy and innovation for a couple of days, then we invited around sixty people from across the region – and across the culture sector – for a day of workshops focussed on service innovation and professional development.

We discussed everything from robotics to scrub turkeys, David Bowie’s creative process to President Obama’s response to Muhammad Ali’s death, all the while thinking about how our organisations could better serve the communities we’re part of.

You’ll hear more about all of these projects in coming weeks, but for now here’s a report from attendee Sabine Carter.

Townsville was famously the setting for turn-of-the-millennium cartoon series The Powerpuff Girls – our team’s iPads are named after the lead characters Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup.

I’ll leave you today with Frank Black of the Pixies signing a Powerpuff-inspired song…

Write Here: The Worst Song I Ever Loved

In Library Journal this month, Henrietta Verma discusses writers’ groups and gives a shout-out to The Worst Song I Ever Loved, a writing project I ran for the Parkes Shire Library in New South Wales.

Library Journal calls me an “Australian librarian”; I’m neither of those things, but will let them off as the project was devised for a creative residency in public libraries Down Under.

90085-barbraguiltysleeve-streisand-and-barry-gibb-guilty-cbs-2

The Worst Song I Ever Loved was based on a university task created by Daniel Nester.

You can find out more about the project here at The Signal In Transition.

Interview with ABC Capricornia: Adventure, experience, participation

Rockhampton riverside, Central Queensland
On my last trip to Rockhampton in Central Queensland, I was interviewed by Chrissy Arthur of ABC Capricornia. We talked about some of my projects in Australia and New Zealand, the role of public libraries in 2016, and this year’s upcoming Fun Palaces across Queensland and worldwide.

The best part was talking about how creativity isn’t determined by your pay grade – anyone can have a bright idea, and a role like mine is as much about listening to organisations and their communities as it is ‘thinking up cool stuff to do’.

You can hear ‘Zombies, Burlesque, Cardboard, and Coffee’ on ABC Capricornia’s Soundcloud account here.

Prepare For Trouble / Make It Double: Pokémon Go @ State Library of Queensland

The Pokémon Go game is bringing crowds of players to all kinds of public spaces, so of course museums, galleries, and libraries are working to attract these people, get them through the doors, and engage them.

It feels like every cultural institution worth its salt has used social media and friendly signage to let Pokémon players know they’re welcome. The smart team at Queensland Art Gallery / Museum of Modern Art, just next door to where I work, put out Pokémon lures at the weekend to attract extra players to the South Bank. Read more