A Victorian AIDS Council volunteer training weekend in Kyneton Victoria, 1987. Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives.

Friday essay

Friday essay: recognising the unsung heroes of Australia’s AIDS crisis

The AIDS crisis arrived in Australia in 1982 and triggered an enormous (and successful) public health response, largely driven by volunteers. These people, often from marginalised communities in their own right, deserve recognition in Australia's proud volunteer tradition.
Jarvis Cocker in the film clip for Common People. Screenshot from Youtube

Music

My favourite album: Pulp’s Different Class

In Different Class, Pulp got fans singing and dancing to searing commentaries on class and privilege.
Yothu Yindi performing in 2000. Their songs offered hope and strength to generations of Yolŋu people. Dean Lewins/AAP

Music

My favourite album: Yothu Yindi’s Tribal Voice

The songs of Tribal Voice offered hope and strength to generations of Yolŋu people and gave audiences elsewhere a rare insight into the resolve and aspirations of Indigenous Australia.
The Beastie Boys in the music video for Sure Shot. Screenshot from Youtube

Music

My favourite album: The Beastie Boys’ Ill Communication

The Beastie Boys' Ill Communication closed out hip-hop's Golden Age with a kaleidoscope of jazz-infused beats, bratty punk interludes and a deeper appreciation for storytelling.
The 1976 memorial at the Babi Yar massacre site only recognised Soviet victims, despite the killing of more than 30,000 Jewish people. In 1991 a Jewish memorial was installed nearby. Jennifer Boyer/Flickr

Remembering

Decoding the music masterpieces: Shostakovich’s Babi Yar

On September 29 1941, Nazis murdered more than 30,000 Jews in a ravine outside Kiev. Dmitri Shostakovich's 13th Symphony, Babi Yar, is a damning critique of the Soviet Union's lack of recognition of the massacre, and a condemnation of Stalinism.
New technologies are taking books and libraries to places that are, as yet, unimaginable. Shutterstock

Friday essay

Friday essay: why libraries can and must change

The history of the library is replete with mechanical marvels. More than collections of books, libraries are social, cultural and technological institutions that house the very idea of a society.
A detail from William Blake’s God answers Job (c. 1804). The Gods of Moses in the Old Testament, Jesus in the New Testament and Muhammad in the Quran have a similarly complex and ambivalent character. Wikimedia images

Belief

In spite of their differences, Jews, Christians and Muslims worship the same God

The founder of Islam, Muhammad, saw himself as the last in a line of prophets that reached back through Jesus to Moses, Abraham and Noah. But while the three religions worship the same God, he divides as much as he unites.
Odysseus and his crew escape the cyclops, as painted by Arnold Böcklin in 1896. Wikimedia

Epics

Guide to the Classics: Homer’s Odyssey

The story of the Odyssey is a quintessential quest that relates to the passage through life and the importance of love, family and home. Odysseus's adventures have influenced everyone from Batman to Bob Dylan.
The Pool: Architecture, Culture and Identity, exhibition by Aileen Sage Architects (Isabelle Tolandand Amelia Holliday) with Michelle Tabet, commissioned for the Australian Pavilion by the Australian Institute of Architects for the Venice Biennale of Architecture 2016. Brett Boardman

Architecture

From segregation to celebration: the public pool in Australian culture

Swimming pools are much more than holes in the ground - they are often beautifully designed, as a new exhibition at the NGV shows. They also document Australia's history of racism and sexism, and gradual relaxation of social mores.
The Day After Tomorrow’s apocalyptic depiction of climate change is a little embellished. But such storylines can ignite conversations with people that mainstream science fails to reach. 20th Century Fox

Storytelling

Can ‘cli-fi’ actually make a difference? A climate scientist’s perspective

Climate scientists often bombard their audiences with facts and figures - a method of communication that often doesn't work. Perhaps this is where cli-fi can step in, with its compelling characters and just slightly embellished science.
Cooking with gold is in fashion, but the practice has been happening for centuries. shutterstock

Conspicuous consumption

All that glitters: why our obsession with putting gold on food is nothing new

Modern chefs are serving up ice cream, cakes, even sushi covered in gold. But gold in food came into its own in late medieval Europe, when eating gold wad thought to be virtuous, and one could find gilded whole roast peacocks.
Heritier Lumumba describes his experience of racism at Collingwood Football Club in Fair Game. SBS

Footy and race

Fair Game? The audacity of Héritier Lumumba

Héritier Lumumba played for Collingwood Football Club until 2014, where his teammates called him "Chimp". His experience mirrors that of many other black men in Australia, particularly in the workplace.
Hailed as “Mother of the Emperor”, Danelis goes to Constantinople to meet with Emperor Basil I. From wikimedia

Ancient love

A Byzantine ancestor to same-sex marriage?

The medieval Byzantine Empire might hold some lessons about tolerance and same-sex marriage.
Louis XVI giving final instructions to the Comte de La Perouse in 1785, before La Perouse embarked on his fateful expedition to the Southern Hemisphere. State Library of NSW

Shipwrecks

The mystery of the La Pérouse expedition survivors: wrecked in Torres Strait?

The French La Pérouse expedition left Botany Bay in 1788, and then vanished, rumoured to be wrecked in the Solomon Islands. But an Indian newspaper article might reveal the fate of its survivors.

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