A Walk to Beautiful

The ABC in Australia shows some remarkable documentaries. I have written about the Merry Makers some time ago. Last weekend the ABC program Four Corners screened A Walk to Beautiful. Shortly after writing my post on dolphins, sharks and dead people I sat down to watch the documentary.

Source: ABC Four Corners’ website

The Four Corner’s website notes that:

It’s been 50 years since an idealistic young Sydney couple, Catherine and Reginald Hamlin, spotted an ad for doctors to go to Africa, then took a punt. Little did they know they were about to make the world a far, far better place.

The program discusses how Catherine Hamlin works with women who have obstetric fistula as a result of obstructed labour. The documentary introduces a number of women amongst the thousands treated at the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital each year. All these women “have been ostracised by their husbands and communities. Left untreated, they face a lifetime of shame and rejection.”

The program will be available for a short time on the ABC’s iView. I thought the didactic content of the program was enormously powerful. It put my thinking about networked communities into sharp focus.

What if we exist to help and support each other? Imagine how powerful such a community could be.


On 9 May 2009 the ABC reported the 50th anniversary of Catherine Hamill’s work in Ethiopia. The ABC reported the realisation of Dr Hamill’s dream to have a Midwifery School in Ethiopia.

r248736_1019519 Photo source: ABC

IASI in Canberra 2009

The International Association for Sports Information (IASI) is holding its 13th World Congress in Canberra in March 2009. The National Sport Information Centre (NSIC), a program of the Australian Sports Commission (ASC), is the host for the Congress.

I have been invited to be a keynote speaker in Strand 2 (‘Electronic Sport Information Resource Sharing’) of the Congress. The title of my talk is ‘A Fourth Age’ and my aim is to discuss approaches to information sharing that are characterised by ‘connectivism‘ and energised by the approaches Stephen Downes and George Siemens promote and develop.

I was asked to provide some personal background information for the Conference website. Given the nature of my talk I have used WordPress to host this information. Although I posted this first on 12 August 2008 my introduction to you here will continue to change. (For example, in December I added a page entitled ‘Nourishment’ to provide links to a range of authors and at the same time changed my ‘Introduction’.)

Examples of my interest in Resource Sharing are ‘Connecting, Sharing and Growing‘, ‘Personal Learning Environments‘ and, Semantic Technologies‘.

This is my video introduction to you. I have posted it on a GoYoDeo channel. I have some biographical information here and a list of some of my publications too.

This is an example of a wiki community in which I am involved. The wiki is providing opportunities for a community of practice to explore the Fourth Age. (You might find Gene Schembri’s wiki of interest too.)

I look forward to seeing you in Canberra in 2009.

Additions to the post:

31 August: I discovered Posterous earlier this week and used it to post my video introduction to you. This is my page on Posterous.

31 August: I used Google Video to host my video introduction to you. I have been using the Beta version to share videos about Officiating in canoe slalom. You will find these in the ‘More from User’ tab.

1 September: I used Iterasi to record this post on 31 August. This is the link to the saved page.

6 September: My first post in this blog for the CCK08 course

15 November: My facebook link

17 November: I opened a Netvibes account to explore some of the functionality I had seen elsewhere in Pageflakes.

1 December: I am participating in a PBwiki project ‘Top Web 2.0 Tools’ with Jenni Parker.

9 December: I have developed a Ning site for another conference to be held at the AIS later in 2009. My aim is to explore some of the powerful social network tools available.

9 December: This is the Technorati link to this blog.

23 January: This is the abstract I have submitted to IASI

23 January: I have stored audio files of the abstract in Box.Net (Wav file here and aiff file here)

23 January: This is an MP3 version of the abstract (I used a third party add on for Audacity to create the MP3 audio)

7 March: This is my draft presentation shared through SlideShare with a SlideCast

The Merry Makers

Hot on the heals of the ABC Sunday Arts’ program (8 June) was a wonderful story about the Merry Makers (9 June). For anyone interested in teaching, learning and the flourishing of the human spirit this was a must see program.

ABC Photograph

In the program you meet Lucinda Bryant the Artistic Director and Choreographer of The Merry Makers. She is a remarkable teacher. She observes that:

“I suppose one of the biggest things is knowing about each individual in the class and how they actually work, and that’s not really knowing a lot about their disability, but more about their personality. I kind of just go by the feel of the day, and quite often when you’ve got 70 people in one room, each day is very, very different. So I sort of just take each day as it comes with the Merry Makers and yeah, just sort of go with my instinct.”

One of the stories within the program was about Sam. Lucinda’s work with him seemed to me to be the essence of all good teaching:

“When he first started, didn’t want to be in with the rest of the group, wanted to be outside. If he was in with the rest of the group, he’d be lying on the ground. But then as soon as everyone stopped dancing, then Sam would get up and want to be a bit of a star. So you knew he had it in him to want to dance. And I just let him do that. I kind of just ignored him, just to … one for him to get settled and to feel comfortable and confident, but also just so he didn’t have the attention on him.”

The Merry Makers performed at the Sydney Entertainment Centre for a one night show. This is one of the mums’ view of the evening:

“At the end of the night, the people and the love and the joy that’s in that audience, everybody just wants to hug one another and the the Merrys come off stage and the audience treat them like they’re absolute stars. Everybody’s equal because of this wonderful performance which is, words can’t describe it. It’s inexplicable. I just can’t tell you the effect they have on people. It just generates love and joy and happiness, and there’s so much laughter, and no one wants to go home.”

You can find two video clips of the program here.