Thursday, May 30, 2024

Keeping cities alive – making space for culture and the creative economy

As much as I am attracted to smaller and regional cities, the reality is that our large cities are where creativity (and more importantly applied creativity – innovation) occur, because critical mass and larger-scale proximity encourage experimentation and interaction and new ideas. Just up the road from where I live, the city of Sydney, the largest city in Australia (for the moment, anyway), is grappling with the loss of creative talent and the creative economy which has driven much of the excitement and liveability of the city for decades. Their attempts to address te issue offer useful pointers to other cities, large and small, facing the same issues.

On 12 June 2024, from 6:30pm–8:30pm at Centennial Hall, Sydney Town Hall, a serious line-up of Australian and global speakers – prominent artists, strategists and political decision-makers will discuss what to do about it, to help kick start strategies to turn the situation around.

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Based on a true story

The whole idea that something is ‘based on a true story’, raises questions about fiction and lies, reality and truth and the whole relationship between creative interpretation and everyday life. While things are usually exactly what they seem – which is why conspiracy theories, while satisfying, are usually wrong – sometimes things are definitely not what they seem. Having worked in Government for quite a few years I often think that what might look like a malignant conspiracy, is more likely to be incompetence. Government can make big things happen, but usually doesn’t. It might be nice to think that Government could plan grand strategies, but often maybe it’s just bumbling along. Despite this, the answer to the question of whether something is based on a true story, is that everything is based on a true story.

It makes me think of the story about former noted Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai, supposedly a response to a question by Henry Kissinger. Asked what he thought was the long term impact of the French Revolution, he reputedly replied ‘It’s too early to tell’. This is a story that is so good and so profound that if it is not true, it needs to be.