Songwriters such as Nick Cave (pictured) and the late Yolngu star Gurrumul have often drawn on the scriptures in their work. Paul Bergen/EPA

The Good Book

Why our declining biblical literacy matters

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. Shutterstock

Decoding the music masterpieces

How Beethoven’s ‘mistake’ became one of our most famous tunes

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.
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

Here's Looking at

In The Magpie, Monet found all the colour in a snowy day

Claude Monet painted The Magpie in winter 1868, turning his interest in colour on the blank canvass of snow.
‘The shape of things to come’, installation view at Buxton Contemporary, the University of Melbourne, March 2018. Photograph by Christian Capurro.

Art

Private collectors are saving Australian art, but they can’t do it on their own

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.
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

History

How gold rushes helped make the modern world

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.

Unravelling conspiracies

Online conspiracy theorists are more diverse (and ordinary) than most assume

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. Shutterstock

Podcast

Essays On Air: Monsters in my closet – how a geographer began mining myths

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? Keith Bedford

Film

Queensland has saved a Hollywood blockbuster, but the local film industry is still missing out

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.
The Death of Stalin is about the chaotic political drama that followed the Russian leader’s demise in 1953. Madman Films

Podcast

Speaking with: satirist Armando Iannucci on The Death of Stalin

Speaking with: satirist Armando Ianucci on The Death of Stalin. The Conversation, CC BY44.1 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.

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