Essay- When is a Basket Not a Basket? — Shawn L. Bird

WHEN IS A BASKET NOT A BASKET? © Shawn Bird November 13, 2019 Often, when we work side by side with someone, our learning comes not from the task occupying our hands, but with the stories that come along side. On Indigenous Learning Professional Development Day, the creation of a lovely small pine needle basket […]

via Essay- When is a Basket Not a Basket? — Shawn L. Bird


Should we change Australia Day?

At one time, I used to support the idea of changing Australia Day because I felt this would be a healing gesture towards First Australians, but meanwhile I don’t think this would achieve what it sets out to do. In fact I think it would be detrimental for these reasons:

 1) Changing the day runs the risk of effacing the voices that remind us all of the realities that European settlement meant for the historical and cultural trajectory of the indigenous peoples of Australia. Australia Day is a perfect platform for this historical truth.

2) Redesignation of Australia Day would be divisive, creating a sense of Australia Day for non-Aboriginals and something else for the indigenous peoples. We aren’t two Australias, but one, warts and all.

3) The day modern Australia was founded, as marked by the landing of the First Fleet, should be seen as a day of mourning for all by dint of the events, and should remain so. It was a moment of great tragedy and despair for most of the people involved. As we know, it marked the beginning of the shocking treatment of the traditional owners of this country. But it was also a terrible event for the convicts on the First Fleet, who certainly did not choose or want to be here. I doubt that the soldiers and administrators who came with them wanted to be either. They all suffered great privation, and the convicts  encountered horrendous treatment, which continued into the next century,  Australia  has grown out of the muck of an appalling social experiment with consequences still echoing today. For some that past is now distant and we blossom. For others, however, that past is only yesterday.

 Australia Day marks the moment in our modern history when people of many cultures and backgrounds unwillingly came together in conflict and hardship on these shores. It has  never been easy, and although the First Australians have undeniably borne the brunt of these events  in painful and debilitating ways even to this day, what Australia Day should be about for us all is the willingness to recognise what this modern nation was born of, both good and bad, and the desire to move forward together towards our common benefit.

In my view, Australia Day should begin all over the country with a Sorry Ceremony, move through the day with events reminding us of the good and the bad of our past, and in the evening culminate in festivities that show we accept who we are and that celebrate the promise of our shared future.

 © “Cate Kimberley” and Word and Affect, 2018


the amazing story of the three Banksy claimants

Another philosophical extrapolation in narrative art form from Cameron Hayes. Sameness, fame, ambition and deceit


Detail 1

Evolution is an adaption to enviroment, what happens when all enviroments have air conditioning, when food, medicine and clothes are flown in from other enviroments and when the same TV and music and film are experienced everywhere? What happens when people can drive, train, fly to other enviroments? Where does all that evolutionary energy go when there are no longer predators and prey, no longer dangerous climates to adapt to?

In May in Hosier Lane, Melbourne there was the case of the three Banksy claimants (three street/graffiti artists) who claimed to be the faceless street artist Banksy.

Detail 2

Evolution is now an arms race between deception and lie detection, a struggle between finding biographical solutions (LIES) to counter systemic reality (TRUTH). People through imposturing (lying) are working their way up the evolutionary ladder. Truth is heavy and can be a burden for climbing. Lies are light and…

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“Slippery slopes” – metaphors in ethical debate

“Slippery Slope” und “Dammbruch” – Über den Gebrauch von Metaphern in ethischen Debatten

On the use of metaphors as an ontological framework to cope with the everyday. The metaphor “slippery slope”, e.g. in the “three-parent baby” debate, is merely a tool used in an attempt to cut off discourse and imply that the opponent’s arguments have no validity. This may be because the person hasn’t enough detailed knowledge or because they lack arguments themselves. Another example of the power of metaphors.


“Slippery Slope” und “Dammbruch” – Über den Gebrauch von Metaphern in ethischen Debatten.



Goodbyes (2003)

taste like the sea
on a grey day
while waves swell
and roar in your ears
and the wind whips
stranded words
away skyward
to drown them in the

Abschied (2005)

schmeckt wie das Meer
an einem trüben Tag
während die Wellen
rollen und rauschen
in deinen Ohren
und der Wind
gestrandete Worte
deinen Lippen entreißt,
sie himmelwärts treibt,
um sie in der
zu ertränken.

© Cate Kimberley and Word and Affect, 2014

Tripping time

Late winter.
Darkness falls on a northern city,
rain closes round.
The car engine hums
through the night
through the splatter of rain
on the windscreen.
Along the backroads
I drive,
through the villages
in the shadowlands
skirting out of the city’s reach,
muffled deep
in my thick black coat,
deep in its warmth
in the damping dark,
peering through the windscreen,
the rain
and the night,
while the heater chuffs along
as a backdrop
to the stream of songs
drizzling from the old car radio.
And where are you?
At the other end of the night,
sprawled on your mattress
under the starry warmth
of an upside-down sky,
Then, when finally
I crawl under the bedcovers,
against the damp, dark European night,
you’ll be tossing back yours
to step into an Antipodean day.
Without me.

 (18 March 2014)

© Cate Kimberley and Word and Affect, 2014

Touch the moon

Beneath the moon
in a secret corner of my soul
we lie entwined
in intoxicating
cradled in the cusp
of yearning
on the swoon
of longing yet to be met
rising on the swell
of our touch
to surge across the night sky
mounted on the moon.

 (15 March 2014)

© Cate Kimberley and Word and Affect, 2014