Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mother, Wife and Complicated Life


Mother, Wife and the Complicated Life is a wonderful production playing at the Star Theatre as part of the Adelaide Fringe. My review:

Two highlights of many in this wonderful show stand out – writer/composer Amity Dry shows a wisdom way beyond her years, and how natural it felt as a musical. No awkward moments in this production. The way the four women cast sing, relate and interact with each other in word and song just seems totally appropriate. The songs are great, there are lots of laughs, and the balance between poignant moments of love and despair, joy and frustration strikes just the right tone that mirrors ‘complicated life’. The connection between the cast and live musicians is palpable. There is so much to like about this show. Sentimental yes, but it doesn’t hide the fact that reality often bites. It is a female perspective on love, birth, kids and relationships but men – listen and learn! Highly recommended.

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A song of mine on YouTube that attempts to cover the same territory about the duality of life.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Audreys at the Adelaide Fringe (13/2/11)

The Audreys – Sometimes the Stars @ Garden of Unearthly Delights - Spiegeltent

Sometimes the Stars is the title of their most recent CD, and features the two original Audreys, Taasha Coates and Tristan Goodall. Tristan spent most of the set on guitars playing delicious catchy licks while Taasha embellished the songs with a golden, pure voice. She also occasionally added a continental feel with the melodica (related to the accordion). They’ve won ARIA awards in the blues and roots categories, but for me (and I know what these labels mean can change over time) their lovely songs range freely over folk, pop, country, rock and jazz, with a strong emphasis on melody. About 45 minutes in I started to let the powerful emotional content of these songs wash over me and it felt good. Taasha sings from the soul, the songs are mostly gems, and there is a delightful chemistry between the two. Just wonderful.

Friday, February 04, 2011

The Impact of Context


I write here with gay abandon. I do correct spelling and try and make sure it reads clearly but as to the tone and the opinions being expressed I really don’t care. I shoot from the hip.

I just tried to compose a blog post for a new blog we’re starting at work and within seconds found myself struggling with questions like what the correct tone should be, what kind of impression will this create, will I be harming the reputation of my work team or the wider organisation? Is it OK if I express my own opinions, do these opinions represent those of the work team.....and a whole host of other concerns.

I had been quite keen on this idea of starting an elearning blog for our organisation but I’m now not so sure. Having to worry about these kinds of questions is a real downer. It gets in the way of almost every phrase – it this too informal? Is it creating an impression that is too casual? Etc etc. One could get quite neurotic about it. I guess it’s a separate skill – being able to understand the wider context and write in accordance with that brief. But right at this minute it feels quite limiting and I’d rather just write this instead!

(Creative Commons image courtesy of dibytes)

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Recent Changes Camp, Canberra

Hosted by the University of Canberra January 28th – 30th

Facilitator: Mark Dilley

Who else was there?

Why I wanted to be there? (video)

Wikis can be seen as a manifestation of the unconference or open space approach – people gather, craft an agenda together, and engage in the process of collective dialogue. Experts may be present, but they do not deliver sessions. Their contributions become part of the collective input in an organic process of knowledge creation.

WIKICULTURE - elements


  • 90% of edits done by 10% of the people
  • wikis are the province of volunteers – people come and go; no reward or recognition
  • assumes good faith: people will add content of value and respect individual edits/editors
  • people need permission to act – this creates a participative culture
  • wikipedia started in 2001; the first known wiki was created in 1985
  • the content people v culture people: the content people don't care about the development of community; if there is meaningful community there'll be better content surely?

Should wikis be neutral? Ie descriptive only?

Wikis are more about process, not product; yet product is what we mostly concentrate on.


I hadn’t realised just how many large scale wikis there are. To name a few:
WIKIA (topic specific), WIKIPEDIA, WIKIBOOK, WIKIEDUCATOR, WIKIVERSITY, WIKIHOW, WIKISOURCE, WIKITRAVEL, APPROPEDIA (sustainability and international development) just to name a few.


KEY FACILITATION STRATEGIES IN WIKIS
Though this session was about facilitating wikis, these strategies are applicable to most online facilitation contexts.

  • awareness of emotional content
  • read between the lines of online text
  • don't just trust your own judgement - check or test your assumptions
  • assume good faith
  • identify when people get labelled and are therefore excluded from the system (this just escalates conflict)
  • acknowledge people who want to belong to the system
  • respect everyone
  • be comfortable with conflict
  • listen to all sides of the question
  • own your own reactions
  • develop trust
A really enjoyable and enlightening few days. As essentially an end user of large scale wikis, principally Wikipedia, I had not stopped to consider the huge and complex issues that need to be addressed by mostly volunteers working for nothing behind the scenes on wikis because they simply care about them. In this light it is extraordinary that large scale wikis like Wikipedia ever happened, let alone continue to work and grow. I tip my hat to them.