Changing Australia’s national conversation

I started my third semester with a few doubts, not about what I like or the things which I found interesting. That type of things never fade away and in Australia I discovered that people’s misconceptions and prejudices about what is different sucked in all the possible ways. You could imagine the conditions when you opened a printing edition of Sunday Age on the last weekend and I found something the article “The not-so clever country”, written by John Elder, with a different name in its digital version “Is anti-intellectualism killing the national conversation”. The author’s description about the negative aspects from Australian culture, which typified their citizens like racists, anti-intellectuals and against any type of change for the status quo, absolutely draining all hope from its creative system.

However, I have seen a few days ago an advertising e-mail from the University of Melbourne to attend the event Inspiring a Creative Australia organized by The Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS), which was a surprise. I had not planned to go but the questions after reading the article in the newspaper only increase my curiosity about the challenges for this society to overcome the limits in its collective perception, especially when  they used to need most of the time to work with the things in the “same way”. Perhaps, it would be the relevant task in the discussion about changing the conditions to improve this country with creativity.

If we think about the people who discover new things, they are probably searching for something new or different. Curiosity and the lack of rejection about being in a different environment, changing routines, knowing different people while discovering things from a different perspective, these had been the actions that human had done for centuries. If people are not interested in variety, the possibility to transform ideas would be harder or at least, impossible at some point.

I am humble to say it is not something I have seen only in Australia but also in Latin America, where Populism is something you could search for in the political arena from different countries. I do because it is possible that someone would like to say something like “If you do not like it, leave Australia”, but I am student and I am trying to learn as much as possible so the discussion about the changes in political and social interactions are things that interest me, especially when I am learning about communication and society. When I listen or read about this type of commitments from different organizations or citizens involved through their work to motivate people to build a different way of thinking for increasing the number of people who think and analyze the different issues around them, I feel motivated and I think that creativity is an excellent tool to conquer what every society needs. The question is will it be enough?

The truth about creativity is being open to new things, new ideas, new vision or a different perception about the things but how Australians would feel ready to this type of commitment when they are deeply attached to some social and cultural paradigms. Without doubts, the situation is not only about becoming critical but transforming the ways of Australian society or other societies with similar political systems to do not feel everything out of their structures like a threat or a menace, because the best way to change something is stopping with the fear for the unknown. In my case, I would be able to tell that it is not easy, especially when you could find some people so attached to what the past said or old books, or their parents, but the truth is if you want creativity influence your environment, you need to focus in thinking out of your regular limits.  This issue is happening in different countries, where people would not like to do an effort to think out of the structure created by policies and governments, organizations or even education system, which do not let them think or work in different ways. A complete loss for social capital.

Design for change

Oxfam created an alternative for attracting the attention of creative artists to their project Design for change. Especially when “women perform 60% of the world’s work but they earn only 10% of the world’s income”. Without doubts, inequality is not only an issue related to political or knowledge field but mainly economical, which has provoked disadvantages for women.

The main goal of Flash talks was increased awareness in Australian society about this issue around the world, which affected women everywhere, even inequality in access to equal payment as male counterpart. Also, this situation only increased other social issues as intra-familial violence because women are not able to stop this situation, if they have not access to money or well-paid jobs. Besides the regular issue about acknowledge about women’s issues, this moment was interesting to discover more from people invited to this event.

Through fast talk, the presentations worked to promote the use of creativity for introducing different subject to social discussion or increasing the discussion of different social topics through inventive, creation and communication. Most of them were committing to change many aspects of their crafts.

Marc Martin, Veronica Grow, Nick Hallam, Michael Agzarian and owners from Sibling, Amelia Borg and Qianyi Lim expressed their vision about how politics, economics, public relations, ethics, creativity and other aspects from social interaction influenced the way of producing their work. Even so, the most crucial aspect was determined by their passion and interest in a determined field.

In the case of Veronica Grow, the main aspect was her interest for teaching under different conditions of her previous professional experiences. She said that her interest was focusing in teaching students to learn while they were doing what they like. Especially, when education use to structure people for thinking in the same way. Her approach to education is founded in tacit knowledge.

Meanwhile Marc Martin exposed his experience in ethics, when he reminded -without incurring in names or further info- about attractive professional offers, however, it use to be a situation in which these choices would make him go against his personal and professional values. Under these circumstances, he was clear about the importance of doing a good job because it is the best way to be sure that there will be more opportunities, avoiding say “yes” to every opportunity but approaching to work under your personal vision and values.

Amelia Borg and Quiany Lim were sharing their passion about architecture, urban design and their experiences as part of Sibling, a company which promoted architecture, urbanism, cultural analysis and visual communication and their expressions about what influences are always part of their creations.

This interesting approach to invite designers to participate through their brands to promote changes was conceived as a way to modify what women use to experience as part of their lives.

By Rossana Naveda