Art and Culture in Multicultural Melbourne

Our visual sociology for March to June 2015 includes the Japanese Summer Festival in Melbourne, extraordinary public art in Canberra and a quick trip to Sydney.

World’s Most Liveable City

Melbourne: the world’s most liveable city! In late 2014 Melbourne was named number 1 of 150 capital cities in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Index. This is the fourth time we topped the survey. We rated highly in healthcare, education and infrastructure. Part of Melbourne’s appeal is our multiculturalism. First and second generation migrants (people born overseas and their children) make up around half of all Victorians. Melbournians come from over 200 cultural backgrounds, speak over 260 languages, and belong to 135 different religions. 2 March

I took this photo off Hosier Lane. Artist: kilproductions. See the artist’s website. Continue reading Art and Culture in Multicultural Melbourne

Festival Land

In this next installment of visual sociology, we journey from January to February 2015 with many festivals in between. A celebration of Aboriginal resilience, public art of Summer Salt, the Lunar Festival, and Melbourne’s White Night Festival. We also revel in a little international art and the irreverent David Shrigley. Let’s begin with the sociology of play.

Jam Master Jay

Jam Master Jay, Run-DMC. Street art in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia. 3 January 2015

Continue reading Festival Land

Migrants in Australia

Migrants in Australia
Migrants in Australia

Australia is home to the oldest continuous culture in the world, that of Indigenous Australians, and our society also houses one of the highest migrant populations in the world. Australia encompasses over 300 migrant ancestries, with migrants and their children making up half of our population. I’ve just launched a new video series called Vibrant Lives, which explores some of these diverse cultures and the various meanings of multiculturalism in Australia. I’ll focus on different minority groups, as well as covering community events, religious festivals, art exhibitions and community organisations around Melbourne. This post provides some sociological context for my first video on migrant-Australians.

Continue reading Migrants in Australia

Vibrant Lives: Greek-Australians

Greek Australians make up Australia’s ninth biggest ancestry group, including over 378,000 people (1.9% of Australia’s population). They also have the biggest proportional second generation population of all migrants, with over 45% of Greeks being in the second gen. They are amongst the most upwardly mobile groups, with the second generation outperforming the first generation, and most other Australians in terms of education, professional attainment, home ownership and so on.

Watch a video I filmed at the Antipodes Festival in Melbourne. Watch below (from my Instagram).

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Share the Spirit: Survival Day 2015

The 26th of January is Australia Day and a national holiday. Various events happen all over Melbourne, but some of these recognise that this day raises important issues about Indigenous culture in Australia. Protests over colonialism have been ongoing since Europeans settled in Australia in 1788. On the 26th of January 1938, 150 years after the decimation of Indigenous people began, William Cooper (leader with the Australian Aboriginal League) together with Jack Patten and William Ferguson (the Aboriginal Progressive Association) declared the first “Day of Mourning,” a day recognising the history of colonial violence and dispossession. Survival Day events represent the resilience and contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who collectively make up the world’s oldest, continuous culture.

I attended the Share the Spirit festival, hosted by Songlines Music. This event has been running at the Treasury Garden since 2002. Together with similar events in Sydney, Perth, Adelaide and elsewhere, they are amongst the biggest Indigenous cultural events in Australia. Continue reading Share the Spirit: Survival Day 2015


People lining up outside Taiwan Cafe, Swanston Street, Melbourne.

Taiwanese-Australians are the second largest Chinese migrant group in Australia. Most of them arrived during the 1980s as highly educated professionals who were relatively well-off overseas. The vast majority arrived under business visas. Continue reading Taiwanese-Australians