A scene from the 1961 film West Side Story. The casting of an Australian performer as Maria in a local production of the musical was recently criticised for ‘white washing’ a story about a Puerto Rican immigrant.
The Mirisch Corporation,Seven Arts Productions
Our identity unquestionably shapes (and can limit) how we interact with the world. But it should not become the only foundation upon which we build our understanding of it.
Children at Norseman Mission. The author’s mum, Violet Newman is in the middle row on the far left.
Image from the collection of Elsie Lambadgee (dec.)
Aileen Marwung Walsh's grandparents were sent to the Moore River Native Settlement, of Rabbit Proof Fence infamy, half a century ago. In 2018, 100 years after the settlement's founding, she returned.
Lleyton Hewitt in 2004. No one who has ever watched Lleyton play one of his epic matches comes out a hater.
Sport is a dominant thread in Australia’s cultural DNA. But it’s also divisive.
Protestors at an anti-Trump rally in 2017.
Writerly acts of confession are garish, they are vulgar and dazzling, but they are the only form of disobedience at many a woman writer’s disposal.
Wes Mountain/The Conversation
Shakespeare’s first reputation was as a poet, and particularly as a sex poet. He would later incorporate his bawdy inclinations into his most famous plays.
Donald and Melania Trump in Paris last week. According to the Washington Post, the president has made 6,420 false or misleading comments in 649 days.
US president Donald Trump's industrial scale deception has dangerous implications everywhere. What then, can we do to foster a more civilised society?
Will Dyson sketching close to the German lines on the Western Front, 29 May 1918.
Australian authorities sent artists to the WW1 battlefields to interpret and commemorate war. But unlike similar schemes in Britain and Canada, ours neglected the war experience at home and the perspective of women artists.
Biologists are gathering evidence of green algae (pictured here in Kuwait) becoming carbohydrate-rich but less nutritious, due to increased carbon dioxide levels. As science fiction becomes science fact, new forms of storytelling are emerging.
As we enter the age of the Anthropocene, there is a growing recognition of different kinds of 'un-real' storytelling.
Hydra 1960, including Leonard Cohen (bearded, left) and Redmond Wallis (centre right in cotton shirt).
Photographer unknown. Reproduced with the permission of Dorothy Wallis.
Leonard Cohen's final (posthumous) book was released in Australia this week. Another new book sheds light on Cohen's life on Hydra in the 1960s and the relationships he forged with Antipodeans seeking liberation there.
Roxy Jacenko and daughter Pixie (centre) at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia in 2016. Pixie’s Instagram account has more than 100,000 followers and she has a signature line of hair bows.
A growing number of parents are making money out of their children by turning them into social media celebrities. But the chimera of corporate branding is no antidote for lives lived in precarious times.
Amy Adams played an inter-species linguist in the 2016 film Arrival but she was a rarity. Most Hollywood films depict scholars as heroic males.
For decades, academics have been portrayed as brilliant, heroic men on our cinema screens. It's time to tell the story of more heroic female scholars. Here are some suggestions.
Nick Cave performing with The Bad Seeds in Budapest in June. His song lyrics, with those often melancholy, churchy organ chords, are dripping in references to what might be called sacredness.
The enquiry into sacredness is not over, it’s just beginning for the 21st century, and in wildly disparate modes and places. In music, Nick Cave, Hozier and Dr G. Yunupingu have led the way.
Portrait of Marquis de Sade (1740-1814), whose name and writings gave us the term ‘sadism’
In early 20th-century Australia, a series of highly publicised murders of women saw newspapers widely discuss sadism.
Government MPs raise their hands in response to a question from Scott Morrison: our PM emulates a Pentecostal preacher, engaging in the call and response that features in that tradition.
We need a new national narrative, for reasons of diplomacy, trade and social cohesion and to grapple with many global challenges. The humanities and social sciences will be vital in shaping it.
Vincent Copley senior and Vincent Copley junior at Redbanks Conservation Park, Burra, in June, 2018. They are holding Ngadjuri book, with their grandfather and great-grandfather, Barney Waria, on the cover.
Photo: C.J. Taylor, Flinders University.
In the 1940s, the last initiated Ngadjuri man, Barney Waria, gave a series of interviews to anthropologist Ronald Berndt. Almost 80 years later, Waria's grandson wants to share this material with his family.
The majestic White Ibis.
The ibis has become an Australian cultural phenomenon. The birds' tenacity and fearlessness as environmental refugees mean they attract love and hate alike.
S.T. Gill, Kangaroo Hunting, The Death, from his Australian Sketchbook (1865). Colonial hunting clubs were established across Australia in the 1830s and 1840s.
National Library of Australia
In the mid 19th century, kangaroo hunting was a sport. Colonial hunting clubs were established across Australia and everyone from Charles Darwin to Anthony Trollope tried their hand at shooting roos.
Food can serve many functions in crime fiction, from being used directly as a weapon to expressing cultural belonging, gender or class.
Food is an increasingly popular ingredient in crime fiction, serving up insights into the character of the detective hero and adding spice to the mystery.
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.
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?
The Meg: Jaws, but considerably larger.
The latest scary shark film, The Meg, opens this week. But fictionalised tales of monster fish blind us to the important role sharks play in maintaining the health of our oceans.