Weekends With a Sociologist

The Canberra Times Fountain by Bob Woodward. Public art in Canberra City

Canberra is Australia’s capital city, but you may not necessarily know this if you were parachuted in blindfolded, out of the blue. While Sydney is bustling with tourists and attractions, and Melbourne is brimming with multicultural events, Canberra is seemingly pedestrian. On a Sunday, the majority of the shops close at 4 PM, even in the city’s central business district, and on holidays, there are few people in the centre of the city. That’s because Canberra is, in many ways, a satellite city: our politicians fly in on weeks when Parliament sits, which ramps up the pulse of taxi drivers and plumps up some of our cafes and bars at peak times, every other week. Many people who live here are not locals. Young people tend to move away, while public servants and academics move their families here for their careers.

I had previously lived in Canberra for six months as part of a secondment for another job, many years ago. I was much younger then and, looking back, I did not really enjoy the city. I mostly spent my free time with groups who knew each other from graduate placements and often talked about work, even at 1 AM outside clubs – which is, by the way, the time that most clubs clubs closed back then (and likely do still). “Did you know he’s still an APS5?” (Australian Public Service Level 5) “He’s never going to be promoted!” I was surrounded by Anglo-Australian people who had little interest in multicultural experiences – having come from a highly multicultural part of Melbourne, this was a big change.

Back then I worked very long hours (and do still but not quite so intense) and, to be honest, I was often tired and I own the fact that I did not make a big effort to get to know the city. This time around, knowing that I’d be here a bit longer, I have gotten to know different types of people and have gone out of my way to get the most out of Canberra, by exploring more of its heart and culture. I aim to bring you a few visual stories of how I reacquainted myself with this city, with a visual sociology series I’m calling, Weekends With a Sociologist.
Weekends with a sociologist

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Art Meets Science and Loneliness

A special visual sociology from the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Sydney.  We start with the Energies exhibition and then explore the nature of loneliness in modern life. We end with our return to Canberra’s art precinct.

Energies: Haines & Hinterding

Below is ‘Encounter with the Halo Field,’ by David Haines and Joyce Hinterding.  These Australian artists live and work in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales. They blend experimental and traditional media to investigate energetic forces as well as the intersection of hallucination and the environment. 23 August 2015

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Visual Sociology of Parkes, Australian Capital Territory

Visual sociology for early August is a sojourn through beautiful Canberra! These are the sights around the national art galleries and the surrounds in Parkes, filmed on my Vine.
Outside the National Portrait Gallery.  9 August 2015

 

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London Calling: A Visual Sociology

Late in June 2015, I visited London for work. I’d visited London almost one decade earlier, having just submitted my PhD thesis, and wanting to stay busy while I waited for the results. Back then, I did what people do in their mid-20s, lots of partying and lots of touristy things. In this most recent trip, I invested in longer visits to art galleries and museums.

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