Articles on Friday essay

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Peter Coleman-Wright and Merlyn Quaife during a dress rehearsal of Bliss in 2010: it is one of few important local operas over the past three decades to have been staged a second time. Tracey Nearmy/AAP

Friday essay: where is the Great Australian Opera?

Australian operas have been written about many pressing topics - from the Stolen Generations to the Lindy Chamberlain case - but few have been staged a second time. What is going wrong?
Detail from Little Big Woman: Condescension, Debra Keenahan, 2017. Designed and made by Debra Keenahan, Photograph by Robert Brindley., Author provided (No reuse)

Essays On Air: The female dwarf, disability, and beauty

The female dwarf, disability, and beauty. The Conversation, CC BY23.2 MB (download)
For centuries, women with dwarfism were depicted in art as comic or grotesque fairytale beings. But artists are challenging these portrayals and notions of beauty and physical difference.
Detail from Julie Shiels’ 1954 poster White on black: The annihilation of Aboriginal people and their culture cannot be separated from the destruction of nature. State Library of Victoria

Friday essay: the ‘great Australian silence’ 50 years on

It is 50 years since anthropologist WEH Stanner gave the Boyer Lectures in which he coined the phrase 'the great Australian silence'. How far have we come since?
Guy Pearce as the Chandleresque private investigator Jack Irish: in the early years of Australian crime fiction, convicts and bushrangers featured prominently. Lachlan Moore

Friday essay: from convicts to contemporary convictions – 200 years of Australian crime fiction

Australia's rich tradition of crime fiction is little known – early tales told of bushrangers and convicts, one hero was a mining engineer turned amateur detective – but it reveals a range of national myths and fantasies.
A curry-themed shoulder bag: ‘Curry’ is a word that no self-respecting subcontinental would own without a thousand caveats attached. shutterstock

Friday essay: the politics of curry

Whether being called 'curry munchers' or pigeonholed as authorities on a dish largely invented by the British, diasporic South Asians are emulsified in a deep pool of curry.
Australia’s romantic attitude to farming has done untold damage to the land. Shutterstock.com

Friday essay: Dark Emu and the blindness of Australian agriculture

The powerful ideological connection between Australia and agriculture is being increasingly scrutinised. A spate of recent books have recast basic assumptions about our relationship to the land.
Surrounded by Angels, by Carl Schweninger der Jungere, 1912. Wikimedia Commons

Friday essay: what might heaven be like?

Notions of heaven have changed through the ages, from an eternity centred on God to a more secular place where loved ones will reunite.
The courts are, or can be, theatres of remorse. Shutterstock

Friday essay: how do you measure remorse?

In many legal jurisdictions of the world, including Australia, an offender’s remorse is a mitigating factor at sentencing. And yet how judges evaluate such expressions is unclear.
A sculpture of William Ricketts looms over those of Arrernte and Pitjantjatjara men at the sanctuary in Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges. Chris Haych/flickr

Friday essay: William Ricketts Sanctuary is a racist anachronism but can it foster empathy?

A mossy sanctuary in Victoria's Dandenong Ranges houses 92 sculptures, mostly of Arrernte and Pitjantjatjara men, women and children. They are steeped in primitivism, yet the park is a popular tourist attraction.
Australian pulp fiction: these works can be read as a symptom, laying bare the unspoken fears, desires, dreams and nightmares of the time. Author provided

Friday essay: the complex, contradictory pleasures of pulp fiction

Mid-20th century pulp fiction was trashy, tasteless, exploitative and lurid. There’s a lot there to love. You might read pulp as a cultural Freudian slip, loony bulletins from the collective Id.
The battle for the Franklin River runs far deeper than simply providing the backdrop for a political tug-of-war. PETER DOMBROVSKIS/ LIZ DOMBROVSKIS/AAP

Essays On Air: how archaeology helped save the Franklin River

Essays on Air: how archaeology helped save the Franklin River. The Conversation23.2 MB (download)
The battle to save the Franklin River - an exhilarating story of politics, cultural heritage and passionate environmentalism - captivated the nation in 1983.
Four of the six shortlisted books for the 2018 Stella Prize were from smaller presses, as was the winner, Alexis Wright’s Tracker. Stella Prize

Friday essay: the remarkable, prize-winning rise of our small publishers

As major publishers chase bestselling books, small ones are leading the way in publishing Australian literary fiction. And of late, they have been sweeping our major literary awards.
Ben Quilty, Life vest, Lesbos. 2016, oil on polyester, 60 x 50cm. Australian War Memorial

Essays On Air: can art really make a difference?

Essays on Air: can art really make a difference? The Conversation26.8 MB (download)
Art has always depicted the crimes of our times throughout centuries of wars and humanitarian crises. Can we really expect it to truly make a difference in the real world?

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