Busy week, lucky country

It’s been another busy week out here in Central West New South Wales.

On Monday, I interviewed the Australian comics creator Pat Grant for the New South Wales Writers’ Centre. You can read Pat’s comics Blue and Toormina Video online. Pat and I will both be teaching courses at the Centre later this year – Pat’s on Graphic Storytelling and mine on Storytelling for a 21st Century Audience.

Time Travel Detectives poster

Talking to Pat was timely, because I’d just arranged for Sydney’s superlative comic store Kings Comics to send our local library a vast selection of comics on sale-or-return, which we then allowed the public to choose from in a series of all-ages workshops which I ran to determine our new collection. (Kings mistook me for Doctor Who, too, which only endeared them to me more).

Tuesday saw the kick-off of Time Travel Detectives, an immersive role-play programme for 5-12 year olds which invited local children to enter the Parkes Library Time Travel Lab and venture back to 1873 to prevent a time-lost Justin Bieber and his strange minion creatures from changing history and taking over the town.

The event included two new artworks by the Melbournian artist Peter Miller, Spirit Box and the Life Projector, which became Victorian scientists’ devices for detecting the time-travelling intruders – with Peter and his wife Wendy taking on the roles of rival 19th-century inventors battling to outdo one another.

Peter went on to present the new artworks and speak on his extensive career, encompassing work with directors like Gore Verbinski and Jane Campion as well as art direction for videos by quintessential Australian pop band Crowded House.

Peter Miller adjusts the Spirit Box ready for its encounter with the Time Travel Detectives
Peter Miller adjusts the Spirit Box ready for its encounter with the Time Travel Detectives

Somewhere in all the dashing around and Victorian time-travel antics, we found the time to visit the Parkes Radio Telescope and clamber through the workings of the famous Dish, discussing phase synchronicity and sidereal geometry (and yeah, I still can’t pronounce ‘sidereal’…)

Matt and Peter Miller discuss radio astronomy with Brett, Warden at the Parkes Radio Telescope

You can hear Peter’s radio interview for the event online – and he was also profiled in Melbourne’s online indie Who’s Who, Tenant Magazine, last year.

Peter and Wendy weren’t the only special guests in Parkes Shire this week, either; the doyenne of New Zealand social media, Tosca Waerea, stopped by to offer a workshop on using Twitter for companies, organisations, and individuals across rural New South Wales. You can read the live tweets from the workshop over at Storify.

Tosca Waerea Twitter workshop
Tosca Waerea tells Central West Twitter users to “Stop! Collaborate and listen!”

If you’re still looking for some Sunday reading after all that Melbournian art and time travel and Kiwi social media mavenry…may I suggest another Australasian jewel in the library-related corners of the Internet?

Manatunga exhibition at Auckland Libraries

Over at Corin Haines’ podcast Library Chat, there’s an interview with Robert Eruera, who curated the incredible Manatunga exhibition of Maori portraiture and treasures at Auckland Libraries. (You can also see moving coverage of the exhibition over at the online home of Maori TV’s Native Affairs programme). Rob worked tirelessly to collate and present photographs of Maori people taken by early settlers – never-before-seen images which, it is hoped, will be identified by descendants of the photographic subjects visiting the exhibition.

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