4 Quick Questions with Ann Arbor District Library’s Josie Parker

Today, we’re joined by Josie Parker, Director at Ann Arbor District Library (AADL), an acclaimed US public library service in Michigan.

Josie1.jpgAs Josie approaches her seventeenth year with the organisation, she took a little time to answer four quick questions about her journey with Ann Arbor – and what’s next for the Michigan library.

How did you get started at AADL and how has the organization changed during your time there?

I have been Director at AADL 16 ½ years. I came to work at AADL in 1999 as the Youth Department Manager. The Library was a very traditionally organized public library institution that had suffered a financial scandal leading to imprisonment for one administrator, and the eventual resignation of the Director.

I had been promoted to interim Director during the end of the upheaval, and was later offered the job. I took it without intending to be in one library most of my career, and yet, here I am. It is an awesome library and the community is very supportive financially, as well as, politically. We are able to take library services in many directions sometimes stretching them beyond recognition. We consider that a positive outcome.

What’s your proudest career achievement so far?

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Interview with @coffeemiss: creative leadership @slqld

Library as Incubator features my interview with Vicki McDonald – aka @coffeemiss on social media – State Librarian and CEO of the State Library of Queensland, Australia.

Vicki spoke with me about libraries as creative spaces supporting business and community projects as well as the arts and education. She also shared her own journey from a small-town library to executive leadership and strategic development roles in universities and local government.

Vicki says:

“The power of libraries is in their responsiveness.  Our community can ask to see anything in the collection; and we strive to encourage serendipity. If you think of a local public library and the way a community feels comfortable to walk through the doors and ask for our help, our services, it’s very different to how the public treat a museum or a gallery. At the State Library level, that means responding to the curiosity in people – and even encouraging them to be more curious!”

Read her full interview at Library as Incubator.

Memory Squad!

What does it mean to have a creative relationship with the past?

How do 21st century institutions manage our cultural heritage?

I asked Jacinta Sutton, Gavin Bannerman, and Laura Daenke of the State Library of Queensland.

Call them the Memory Squad.

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Read about their work over at Library as Incubator today.

Marvellous, Electrical: Hesam Fetrati

This week’s Marvellous, Electrical interviewee is Hesam Fetrati, an Iranian satirist based in Brisbane.

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Marvellous, Electrical: Scratch and Hope, part 1

The first of a three-part series: VW Beetles, artistry, engineering, and stories of migration at Marvellous, Electrical this week.

 

 

No Longer at Ease / The Life of Lines – Interview with Beth Povinelli

Frontier Imaginaries Poster from QUT/IMA exhibition in Brisbane

Frontier Imaginaries is an exhibition currently being held across two sites in Brisbane: ‘No Longer at Ease‘ in the Institute of Modern Art and ‘The Life of Lines‘ at Queensland University of Technology.

Beth Povinelli is one of the artists featured in ‘The Life of Lines‘  – she is also Franz Boas Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University.

Beth’s research forms a critique of late liberalism – she dubs it an ‘anthropology of the otherwise’ – which I find vital to current debates about Australian identities and our visions of the future, both here and around the world.  At the launch of Frontier Imaginaries, she argued that Australia is on the front lines of a crisis in Western thought, brought about in part by the pressures of climate change and the rise of digital technology.

Originally a philosophy student, Beth’s love of Australian movies led her to visit the country on a grant application in 1984. She eventually found herself working as an anthropologist and advocate for Indigenous communities. As she says, her career has been less about “explaining” Indigenous culture and society to others, more about helping to analyze how late liberal power appears from an Indigenous perspective.

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Marvellous, Electrical: Everything’s Coming Up Kransky

What links country Queensland, Barbarella, Judge Judy, and Agnes Bernelle, the World War 2 broadcaster who convinced a U-Boat captain to surrender with nothing more than her seductive voice?

The Kransky Sisters.

On this week’s Marvellous, Electrical, I interview Australia’s greatest contemporary cabaret act.

 

Marvellous, Electrical: Mouth on Legs

There have been great Queenslanders and famous Queenslanders, real ones and imaginary, but only one has been to the end of the universe and back.

This week’s Marvellous, Electrical is about Tegan from Doctor Who.

Tegan Jovanka from DOCTOR WHO

TEGAN: What’s a Zero Room anyway?[…]

NYSSA: I suppose it’s some sort of neutral environment. An isolated space cut off from the rest of the universe.

TEGAN: He should’ve told me that’s what he wanted. I could’ve shown him Brisbane.

Read Marvellous, Electrical: Mouth on Legs here.

We The Humanities: Interview with Simon Groth, if:book

This week you can find me over at @wethehumanities, a rotating Twitter account where people working in the humanities get to share ideas, experiences, and stories. I’m using my week to talk about the grey areas between fact and fiction, dream and experience, stories and everyday life – as well as people who cross back and forth over the walls of universities and academic institutions.

Today we’re joined by Simon Groth, a Brisbane-based writer and editor who also leads if:book Australia, exploring the future of literature in the digital age.

Simon is currently completing a doctoral thesis at Queensland University of Technology, which “sits somewhere between creative writing and media studies.” 

He explains:

I’m looking at how digital tools can be (and are being) used to change the relationship between writers and readers. In particular, I’ve been fascinated by the technical innovation of experimental writers from around the 1960s. These writers took radical steps such as removing the binding of books in order to give the reader greater control over the narrative.

Part of what I’m investigating is how contemporary digital tools can bring greater nuance and subtlety to this kind of innovation. It also means I have to write a novel-length work without a predetermined order of chapters, which at some point I’ll be turning over to a small group of ‘play testers’. Basically, it’s been a three-year study into how I like to make things difficult for myself.

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