Pompeii and Herculaneum – Exhibition at the Australian National Maritime Museum

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Hi Everyone,

Ever since I studied Pompeii and Herculaneum as part of my Year 12 Ancient History core topic, I have always dreamed about travelling to Italy to visit these heavily enriched archaeological sites. I have always been fascinated by the architecture, structure, art, history, but most importantly, the people and their daily lives of these well-documented areas.

Luckily and finally, this year I’ll be heading off to Europe again after four years, and Italy will be my first stop. There will be future posts documenting my travels at Rome, Pompeii and Herculaneum later in the year.

However, I was very lucky in May 2017 to attend the ‘Escape from Pompeii: The Untold Roman Rescue’ exhibition at the Australian National Maritime Museum! Yes, that’s right, artefacts from Pompeii and Herculaneum were here in Australia!!!

The exhibition brought to Australia rare artefacts from sites from around the Bay of Naples: Pompeii, Herculaneum and lesser-known ones such as Baiae, Puteoli and Misenum. They gave insights into the lives of sailors of the Roman fleet and to the people who lived on the Bay of Naples, considered by many Romans to be the most beautiful place on earth – until the volcanic eruption of 79 AD.

Some gorgeous artefacts that we saw:

  • a Roman rostrum, used to ram enemy ships
  • a helmet from the Battle of the Aegates in 241 BC, which marked Rome’s entry as a maritime superpower
  • sculptured reliefs celebrating Rome’s naval victories
  • a military diploma bestowing Roman citizenship on a serviceman
  • trade goods from Pompeii – both workaday items and luxuries – including sculptures, mosaics, frescoes, jewellery, glassware and tableware sourced from throughout the empire
  • everyday objects preserved in the eruption, such as a loaf of bread and figs from Herculaneum, and items taken by the fleeing victims

The Exhibition is open until the 3rd of September 2017.
For more information: http://www.anmm.gov.au/whats-on/exhibitions/on-now/pompeii

 

Ethical Issues

In spite of seeing the exhibition, the one thing that I did want to mention was that I didn’t want to post any photos of the body casts of Pompeiian victims. I believe it is an ongoing ethical problem for us in contemporary society, if and how, we display human remains, especially if we are photographing the victims and insensitively uploading these images onto social media platforms just so that we can get ‘likes’ and ‘retweets’ on these victims’ final moments in time before they died. It is cruel and crude. Especially if you are smiling in front of a camera or posing with a duck face, thumbs up, or peace sign, while human remains are behind you. It’s intentionally selfish, narcissistic and insensitive. These victims and the mood surrounding their death is eerie, harrowing and haunting.

The one thing that needs to be noted was that these human remains were displayed respectfully, which the museum and other exhibitions have done and will continue to do. However, the problem still remains that some scholars believe that it is unethical to display human remains that have already been excavated, but on the other hand, there is the other held belief that the public should have access to the stories to human remains and what they have to tell us about ancient biological and cultural aspects of human populations. This is also evident with Egyptian mummies and how they are displayed and viewed at museums.

At the Naples Museum in Italy, the displayed human remains are meant to evoke thought about the time of the event, and the changing methods of archaeology. In the past, human remains have been moved from where victims had originally died, or posed differently to capture the public’s eye and gain further attraction as a tourist destination. Again, this was insensitive and disrespectful. Nobody wants their ancestors or relatives inhumanely displayed and modelled for capitalist purposes.

With that note, the continuing excavation, treatment and display of human remains will continue in the future for scholars, archaeologists and the public as it is an evolving topic.

If you have any thoughts, please share your comments below.

 

Two Poetry Publications in the Greek-Australian Cultural League’s 2016 Antipodes Periodical – “Lesvos” & “Metaxy”

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Hi Everyone,

I’m super excited to announce that two of my poems “Lesvos” and “Metaxy” were published in the Greek-Australian Cultural League’s 2016 Periodical Antipodes.

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The first poem is titled “Lesvos” about the persona feeling linguistically alienated when they visit their motherland, and yearning to be reconnected and accepted by anthropomorphising the island, Lesvos. It questions the concept of home for emerging types of generations in Australia. It explores the issues of our identity, of being assimilated into the Australian culture and yet yearning to be part of (and accepted by) our cultural background even though we might be different – a common conflict amongst young Australians.

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The second poem is titled “Metaxy” which is a manifesto showing that it is permissible to be in two different cultures (as an In-Betweener, a Metaxy), even if you feel cultural displacement growing up in Australia and with the relationships that you have with others. It explores the issues of the quest for self and our identity. I decided the poem would show my own personal growth, on how I define myself as Australian-Greek, and to see the bigger picture that there is a generation in Australia like me, that I want to represent as a poet.

Both of my poems were written in late 2013 as part of my unit “Poetry Seminar” during my Master’s degree.

I’m hugely grateful for the Greek-Australian Cultural League’s ongoing support and the fact that they provide a platform and environment to write about this important material on the Greek Diaspora, especially for emerging generations in Australia.

Best wishes,
Claire

If you would like to purchase the Periodical Antipodes, you can become a member online on the Greek-Australian Cultural League’s website here, where you will receive a free copy of the bi-lingual periodical.

For more information about the publications of my two poems and to read them, please go to their official pages on my website: “Lesvos” and “Metaxy“.

And for more information about the 2016 Antipodes Periodical Launch party click here.

Fathers from the Edge Book Launch

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Hi Everyone,

Sorry for not updating in a long time. I’ve been extremely busy with starting full-time work and writing a new book. I have lots of great news throughout the year which I will update when I can.

In the meantime, I am delightful to announce that on the 12th of May 2016 I attended the Sydney book launch at the University of Sydney for the Greek-Australian Fathers from the Edge anthology I contributed my memoir to. The anthology is a companion to the book Mothers from the Edge published in 2006. My memoir was about how my father’s migrant experience has influenced my relationship with him and significantly impacted on my career goals.

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The anthology was published late last year by Owl Publishing and edited by the wonderful publisher, Helen Nickas. I am forever grateful for the opportunity she gave me to contribute my piece to the book as a child of migrant children. It was also fantastic to meet other fellow Greek-Australian writers, writing about the Greek Diaspora.

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To purchase the book, here is the link.
You can check out other books published by Owl publishing via this link.
And more information about my experience writing my memoir is here.

Best wishes,
Claire

Dual Poetry Publications – “Name Day” in the Contrappasso Magazine & “Mnemosyne’s Amaranthos” Won 1st Prize for the GACL Literary Competition 2015

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Hi Everyone,

On Saturday the 14th of November 2015 I attended the launch party of the Contrappasso Magazine’s special issue Long Distance where my poem “Name Day” was published. I was the first writer to read out their poem as I had to leave early to my brother’s girlfriend’s 21st Birthday party. My mum and boyfriend came with me to celebrate this momentous occasion. This is my first poem that has been published outside of Macquarie University. It was rejected twice from two different publications but I still kept my fighting spirit going – as a writer you learn to deal with rejection and you must build a backbone in the industry and keep persevering. I’m so grateful and humble that it was selected for this special publication! A huge thank you to Theodore Ell for choosing my poem. I found out the news in January that my poem had been chosen for publication and I’ve been eager to share with everyone.

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Also, I was invited to attend the launch party of the Periodical Antipodes of the Greek-Australian Cultural League in Melbourne on Sunday the 15th of November as I had submitted another poem of mine for their Literary Competition. So off I went, the next day after the launch party of my other poem and arrived in Melbourne where my boyfriend and I were picked up by his wonderful aunty. And we attended the GACL launch party and I’m ecstatic to announce that I won first prize for my poem “Mnemosyne’s Amaranthos”!!! It’s wonderful to get recognition for the ideas about Greek-Australian identity that I represent!!! And this is only the beginning. I also love the Antipodes’ cover of the flower – it’s beautiful! The word ‘amaranthos’ in Greek means ‘everlasting flower’.

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Both of my poems were written in late 2013 as part of my unit “Poetry Seminar” during my Master’s degree. I didn’t know there was a poet in me until I started this unit – it’s refreshing for my writing, and poetry gives me the space to let me address issues and ideas about cultural displacement. The poems will offer readers an awareness about multicultural issues and the emerging types of Greek generations in Australia.

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Once again, I’m hugely grateful and humbled by the recognition I have received with my poems. I would also like to dedicate the publications of my poems in loving memory of my Yiayia Claire who died this year in August. I would have loved to have celebrated the publication of my poems with her, especially “Name Day” that expresses ideas and issues about our name.

Best wishes,
Claire

Yiayia Claire 2015

For more information about the publications of my two poems, please go to their official pages on my website: “Name Day” and “Mnemosyne’s Amaranthos”.

To purchase the Contrappasso: Long Distance book, you can go to Amazon. Check out their website here.

And if you would like to purchase the Periodical Antipodes, you can become a member online on their website here, where you will receive a free copy of the bi-lingual periodical.

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Poem “Name Day” Published in the Contrappasso Magazine – Launch Party Announcement

Hi Everyone,

I’m excited to announce the publication of my poem “Name Day” by the Contrappasso Magazine for their special issue ‘Long Distance’. I’ve been waiting all year to announce the news since my poem was selected. The launch party is on the 14th of November 2015. More information about the event is available from the flyer above, and on their Facebook Page. I’m hoping to do a reading of my poem in front of the audience on the night.

Best wishes,
Claire

Fathers from the Edge – First Publication to Greek-Australian Literature

IMG_1636Hi Everyone,

I’m excited to announce the publication of my memoir to the Fathers from the Edge anthology by Helen Nickas of Owl Publishing. The book is about Greek-Australian writers’ reflections on their fathers and their relationships within the migrant experience. It is a companion to the Mothers from the Edge book.

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It has been a fantastic journey to be a part of the experience to have my memoir published as a Greek-Australian writer. Like the book states in the Introduction, I have written this memoir to honour my father, Stavros Catacouzinos, to share my story about him, and by doing so, it has been a cathartic experience. I wouldn’t be the writer I am today if it wasn’t for him. My memoir in the book is called, “The Man Who Loves Greek Culture”.

And a huge thank you once again to Helen Nickas, Publisher of Owl Publishing for this amazing opportunity. It’s wonderful to finally be a part of Greek-Australian literature!

I’ll update with another post when the book is on sale. And the launch party will be next year in 2016. In the meantime, you can check out other books published by Owl Publishing via this link. And more information about my experience writing my memoir is here.

Best wishes,
Claire

Superwog – Talk Shit Get Hit Tour – Will There Ever Be A Female Perspective?

I attended the Superwog – Talk Shit Get Hit Comedy Tour at Enmore Theatre on the 2nd of October 2015. Theo and Nathan Saidden have done an amazing job presenting the generalised stereotypes of Wogs and Aussies. We’ve got the old traditional mentalities of grandparents and parents; weird and in-your-face uncles and aunties; egocentric, hedonistic and arrogant single guys who show their vulnerability through concern and love for their mothers; and crazy, loud mouth, over-the-top single girls.

However, even though Superwog continues to embark on characterising multiple roles between themselves and one other cast member, Sasha Sutton, my question to them is: have you thought about taking on a female cast member and exploring young adult relationships? Yes, we get the boy meets girl scenario and the married couple scenarios – but what about young relationships that reflect their own age group in their mid-twenties? Like their peers getting engaged, married and having kids – what about exploring those relationships beyond what they specialise in to produce new content?

And a female cast member – she will be able to contribute a dynamic skill-set and perspective to their ever-growing fame. I would like the female perspective to be represented by a girl, and also have her perspective acted upon while she is acting as a guy. It’s all about collaboration and collective learning from one another. The only problem is, is there a young aspiring Australian-European female keen to take on the challenge to alternate between acting as a girl and a guy all in one comedy skit while contorting her face to produce over-the-top facial expressions and speaking with a husky voice while swearing and producing her own comebacks? Yet, is the general public familiar with girls acting as over-the-top guys? Is it easier for guys to dress up as girls to make their audience laugh? Can girls get away with the same reaction and hype or will they be considered as ‘weird’, ‘crazy’ and ‘unattractive’ because of social paradigms and ideologies? There is a lack of the female perspective in the comedic medium when it comes to the representations of Wog stereotypes in Australia – besides Effie Stephanidis (portrayed by Mary Coustas). But the question once again arises – did she ever portray a male European character, and if she did, where the hell are other aspiring Australian-European female comedians?

So, will Superwog ever expand their male cast and invite a female voice to their group? Or is this a group that will stick to an all-male cast and continue creating Youtube clips and comedy skits like their famous comedic forefathers (Wog Boy and Fat Pizza)?

Your Creative Genius & Fuel – ADMA Conference 6 August 2015

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Hi Everyone,

I was invited to attend ADMA’s Festival of Marketing, Media, Analytics and Advertising, which I was very thankful for. So on Thursday 6 August I attended the Creative Fuel Conference at the Seymour Centre at Sydney University. It was held in a huge auditorium after an appetising breakfast and in four consecutive blocks with grouped speakers.

The first block consisted of Billy Sorrentino, the Creative Director of WIRED – and what was drilled into us was that WIRED is not a magazine, it’s a design, with good evidence to back it up, of course. He talked about the design being influenced by Dieter Rams, a design guru that inspired content design. He mentioned 10 basic principles we should have about good design:

  1. Good design is innovative
  2. Makes a product useful
  3. It’s aesthetic
  4. Makes it understandable
  5. Is unobtrusive and not invisible
  6. Is honest
  7. Is long-lasting
  8. Is thorough down to the last detail
  9. Is environmentally friendly
  10. Has little design as possible

And this fantastic catch phrase: design is an experience and not an image! I’ll never look at a magazine ever the same again! Sorrentino also talked about giving a new experience to the audience, and adding value – and that’s where from print publication we have the fantastic and multiple dimensions of the digital online world. Design becomes a philosophy instead of an execution where images, iconography and typography would not create a sense of hierarchy, insead, the scalability of things can be changed around constantly, every minute of the day, and each time, create a new experience for the audience. He also talked about creative thinkers coming together and comparing processes and learning from each other. This idea reminds me of my Big History unit I did in my third year of my BA degree where David Christian talked about humankind being innovative thinkers and that by collaborating together, we exchange networks of knowledge to one another and it’s called collective learning. This world system was shown profoundly well with WIRED’s March 2015 Issue about Sex in the Digital Age, where they had to rethink the design of the cover to make it engaging, not too raunchy, not medically sage, and yet educational. And they came up with this.

Brilliant isn’t it? So design, after all this, is about making an experience, and if we are right and pure about it, then it’s for everyone, thus making it relatable and marketable and worthy.

And then there was Graeme Simsion, the author of The Rosie Project (which I’m aiming to read!) and his partner, Dr Anne Buist, the author of Medea’s Curse who talked next. They were a lovely couple reclining on comfortable sofas and talking about the creative genius, conception, development, progression, and publication of their novels. They gave terrific advice about making writing a routine, always writing a first draft by never stopping (you can go back to fix mistakes later, just get it out of your head and onto the page), and to always think about the reader and the emotions you want to play with – using intensity, suspense, prolonging, foreboding and so on. All of their advice was useful, however, I already knew about these tips from studying creative writing, and it was just beautiful music to my ears. Although, I loved it when they spoke about that there’s a lot of discipline in writing, and that with writers, our creative process is to plan the book, and think, write, and let it incubate. Love that word, incubate, like mother hens sitting on their eggs, waiting for their darlings to hatch. And last of all, that of course no idea is original anymore, however, if you put Idea A and Idea B together, you have something unique! So keep that in mind.

There were some other great speakers as well, like Vin Farrell, the Global Chief Content Officer of Havas Worldwide, who spoke about capturing an experience on your Instagram using your iPhone and how it can build a business. Our iPhones are tools. Then there was Tania De Jong, Founder and CEO of Creative Universe of Creativity Australia, who talked about that every human being is creative, even if they don’t believe it. If you can problem solve, that means you’re creative, you’re using your creative tool box – what an eye opener and simple way to think about things! And then she talked about how creativity leads to improved wellbeing, social inclusion, innovation, leadership, productivity and transformation – so I think I’m doing a pretty damn good job with my writing then. And the last thing she said was that we all need to use our creative voice.

IMG_0818Then there was Andrew Evans, Product Designer and Magician of IDEO, and his spectacular magic tricks and using a metaphor to tell us how magicians create impossible moments on a stage, which is what designers do too, they create impossible experiences in the world. And I can’t forget to mention David Shing, Digital Prophet of AOL, who spoke so brilliantly and fast that I was typing like a maniac to keep up with him and his amazing mind. He just kept going and going – nonstop, faster and faster about technology, content distribution, consumer ownership – how technology helps gives us control, digital alliance with the physical product, how marketing always follows audiences, how culture and code together gives us creativity, and that whenever you are going to fail in life, which we will all come across, fail forward – and that if you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun!

Wow – what a miraculous day about the creative genius and harnessing your creative fuel. A huge inspiration and insight into the world of business, marketing, technology and advertising. A clear and clever day to get me motivated and writing.

Till next time,
Claire

Writerly Update, August

Hi Everyone,

Wow, I didn’t realise that I haven’t written a writerly update since January! I have been reading and researching contemporary YA novels for my creative thesis from last year. I have currently finished the 2nd draft of my YA contemporary novel that I had started for my Manuscript Project. I’m at the moment undergoing a structural edit of the 100,000 word manuscript and then I’ll need to copy-edit and proof read it in the following weeks. I’m really pleased with the development and exploration of my characters and the contemporary themes in the novel. I just need to get it finished before the 14th of September so that I can submit it to the Ampersand Project by Hardie Grant Egmont. It’s going to be a challenge but I’ve been working on it for the past 2 months and I know I can get it done. It’s going to be such a nice feeling to know that the novel is finally finished after 6 years since its conception.

Also, I wanted to share with you that I was featured on the MQ Faces of the Arts activity on Facebook back in June. It’s an honour to be featured as one of MQ’s Arts’ students showcasing my interests and achievements.

Best wishes,
Claire