Songwriters such as Nick Cave (pictured) and the late Yolngu star Gurrumul have often drawn on the scriptures in their work.
April 15, 2018
The Good Book
In less than two generations, the proportion of Australians who never pick up a Bible has leapt to seven out of ten. But a robust biblical literacy can help us decode creative works and understand the past.
Beethoven monument on the Beethovenplatz square in Vienna, Austria. The monument was unveiled in 1880.
April 11, 2018
Decoding the music masterpieces
The last movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony gave us 'Ode to Joy', one of the most famous tunes of all time. But the composer initially thought he'd made a grave mistake with it.
A depiction of Fook Shing in Melbourne Illustrated, November 13 1880.
State Library of Victoria
April 12, 2018
Fook Shing spent 20 years as a Melbourne gumshoe. He policed the thriving Chinese community – claiming opium as an expense – but was never promoted above his entry rank of detective third class.
Claude Monet, France, 1840-1926, La pie (The magpie), 1868-1869, oil on canvas, 121.4 x 164.1 cm.
Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France, ©photo Musée d'Orsay / rmn
April 10, 2018
Here's Looking at
Claude Monet painted The Magpie in winter 1868, turning his interest in colour on the blank canvass of snow.
Superstition holds that Friday 13th is the day to stay in bed and avoid taking risks. But it's all in our heads.
None of the books on the Stella shortlist offer a comforting vision of contemporary Australian life.
April 10, 2018
A Stella winner is a book that challenges its readers; it attempts to do a bit of work in the world. And this year’s shortlist doesn’t disappoint.
Visible mending places clothing at the centre of a protest movement.
Sewers with attitude are tackling fast fashion one stitch at a time.
Some of the artefacts found after disappearing from the National Museum of Iraq.
Looting of Iraq's national museum began on April 10, 2003. At least half of the artefacts taken remain missing and disturbingly, the illegal trade in stolen antiquities has grown in the years since.
Thylacine joey, from the collections of the Natural History Museum, London.
April 5, 2018
More than 160 thylacine specimens lie in museum collections in the UK. The sight of their bodies is a shocking reminder of loss.
Wes Mountain/The Conversation
A new report unpacks the complex role social media play in the lives of Indigenous Australians.
Penelope and the Suitors, by J.W. Waterhouse (1912).
It may seem incredible that some 2,500 years since the Homeric epics, women are still silenced in public. But the myths of Archaic Greece resonate today in disturbing ways.
‘The shape of things to come’, installation view at Buxton Contemporary, the University of Melbourne, March 2018.
Photograph by Christian Capurro.
Philanthropists are creating new galleries to share their private collections with the Australian public. But these gifts do not ameliorate the deficit left by declining government arts fundings.
Bablyon Berlin recreates the wild nightlife of 1929 in Germany.
Screenshot from Youtube
At a time when young people across the West are increasingly sceptical about liberal democracy, the Netflix series Babylon Berlin reminds us of the lessons to be learnt from the history of the Weimar Republic.
JCF Johnson’s, Euchre in the bush, circa 1867, depicts a card game in a hut on the Victorian goldfields in the 1860s.
Oil on canvas mounted on board, 42.0 x 60.2 cm.
Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Ballarat
The discovery of gold in California 170 years ago was a turning point in global history. The gold rushes are not mere historic footnotes – they continue to influence the world in which we live today.
Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) in The X-Files is fond of joining seemingly unrelated dots to create a conspiracy theory – but in reality, the picture is more nuanced.
March 28, 2018
Conspiracy theorists are commonly seen as fundamentally irrational, with an all-encompassing obsession. But new research suggests they may have quite different motivations, beliefs and attitudes.
The Loch Ness Monster and other folk tales might not be pure fiction, but actually based on memories of events our ancestors once observed.
Essays On Air: Monsters in my closet - how a geographer began mining myths.
So you think the Loch Ness Monster never existed? Think again. Traditional myths from our ancestors might actually reveal important clues about the geological history of the world.
Dora the Explorer is coming to Queensland but is our local industry too dependent on international movies?
This week actors including Cate Blanchett signed an open letter calling on the government to protect our screen industry. More needs to be done to create a sustainable local industry beyond Dora-style, Hollywood productions.
Adrian McLoughlin meets his end as Stalin in The Death of Stalin.
The Death of Stalin has been banned in Russia. While the film is hardly disrespectful to Russian people, it does make Putin uncomfortable with its satirical take of leadership.
The Death of Stalin is about the chaotic political drama that followed the Russian leader’s demise in 1953.
Speaking with: satirist Armando Ianucci on The Death of Stalin.
The Conversation, CC BY 44.1 MB (download)
Armando Iannucci, the satirist and director behind the film The Death of Stalin spoke with Associate Professor Stephen Harrington, an expert on political satire.
Clouds and sun glint over the Indian Ocean.
NASA on The Commons/flickr
Brian Eno's Music for Airports, released 40 years ago, marked the formal beginnings of ambient music. It is still provoking composers and audiences to contemplate new ways of listening.