I have been immersed in conversations with coaches for the last two weeks and have the opportunity for two more weeks of meeting coaches 1:1.
This is my fifth year of conversations with this group of (twenty-five) coaches. Each time we meet a theme emerges that appears to resonate with them and me. On this visit it is ‘everywhen’.
We have been discussing learning journeys and career options. For some reason these discussions brought up thoughts about the anthropologist Bill Stanner.
In 1953, he wrote about Aboriginal Dreaming. Bill’s understanding was:
A central meaning of The Dreaming is that of a sacred, heroic time long ago when man and nature came to be as they are; but neither ‘time’ nor ‘history’ as we understand them is involved in this meaning.
One cannot ‘fix’ The Dreaming in time: it was, and is, everywhen.
Why I think this has been an important conversation with coaches is that is has enabled us to talk about current practices … how we are.
It has been particularly helpful for me in discussions with coaches who are having difficulty finding a new job opportunity. The temptation in their job applications is to talk about past events. I have shared this quote about Aboriginal Dreaming from Bill with them to explore their everywhen:
they do not, in aversion from present or future, look back on it with yearning and nostalgia.
… it has for them an unchallengeably sacred authority.
Everywhen has been important too in conversations with coaches who are employed and have some security of contract. It has been fascinating to explore their practice including contemplation of the coach they will become.
The Dalai Lama came to my help too:
I have left this quote from Bill’s book to another conversation about journeys with coaches:
White man got no dreaming,
Him go ’nother way.
White man, him go different.
Him got road belong himself.
In May 1975, Gurindji people were successful in having an area of their own land excised from the Vestey pastoral lease at Wattie Creek in the Northern Territory. Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and Gurindji leader Vincent Lingiari celebrated the handover of the land at Daguragu. The event was recorded by Mervyn Bishop and stored here.
Radio National’s Bush Telegraph had a great item yesterday (23 June) on Huts in the Wild.
Greg Muller interviewed Dianne Johnson about her new book on Huts.
Dianne has been interviewed by Radio National’s By Design program too.
In her Bush Telegraph interview, Dianne made some fascinating observations that helped me think further about my changing sense of space and place. She found a great ally in Greg in the interview. He too was passionate about huts.
Amongst the points Dianne made in her interview were:
- Being “struck dumb” by the beauty of the Waldheim Chalet on Cradle Mountain
- Huts as liminal spaces that mediate between the built landscape and nature
- Huts are spare and sparse: they are not designed as stores (unlike sheds)
- Huts offer enchantment and are imagined, mindful and slow spaces
- Huts are creative spaces within which to think and reflect and on some occasions take on demons
- You must not stay for a long time in huts and avoid Martin Heidegger’s experience of overstaying
- You are the honoured guest in a hut. It is a place of respect and hospitality.
- Huts are egalitarian, they are inclusive. Each has its own distinctive portal.
- Each of us has a sense of our wild spaces and our hard country. These are places of wonderment that energise the spirit.
- Huts tend to be built in magnificent places.
- Huts are temporary and raise issues about preservation. Part of the experience of a hut is its ephemerality … ‘hutness’ is about coming from from the earth and returning to earth.
At the end of the interview Greg asked Dianne if she had a favourite hut. She mentioned Dixons Kingdom Hut.
Place and Space
I have been thinking a lot about space and place. My recent journey started whilst contemplating Everywhen. Developments around Commons spaces at the University of Canberra have accelerated my reflections.
Dianne and Greg have helped me travel further in my thinking. Given the essential characteristics of ‘hutness’ I wonder if I ought to stop thinking about research centres and units and work to develop huts for ideas and practice. It would be wonderful to develop a way of being that stimulated the imagination, enhanced sociability and celebrated liminality.
Such huts would not be places of permanent residence. They would be way stations that had varying configurations of people and ideas that were nourished by the place.
Davies Run (Tasmanian Huts Preservation Society)
Dixons Kingdom Hut (Tasmanian Huts Preservation Society)
Driving home from the National Library of Australia’s Innovative Ideas Forum 2009 I had the great good fortune to listen to a repeat of Radio National’s Late Night Live‘s discussion of W E H Stanner‘s work. One part of the discussion struck me forcefully.
Phillip Adams asked one of his guests, Melinda Hinkson, about Stanner’s concept of ‘everywhen‘. My understanding of the discussion that ensued is that ‘everywhen’ describes something that is somewhat timeless, not fixed in the past but part of the present and the future, all at the same time. This seemed particularly apposite to events earlier in the day at the National Library.
- Jan Fullerton opened the Forum and talked about the National Library of Australia (NLA) as an ‘early adopter’ organisation. She underscored the importance of the Innovative Ideas’ Forum to stimulate creativity and jolt thinking. She noted that the Forums have been an important NLA staff development resource but that they have become an important open forum too. Jan confirmed that the NLA encourages exploration and has established some boundaries for ‘non-catastrophic experience’. She summarised the content of the 2009 Forum and emphasised the dynamic and increasingly mainstream use of social networks. She concluded her introduction with a reminder that many of the NLA users want a ‘traditional library experience’.
- Anne Summers explored the implications of web-based social networking for cultural heritage institutions and discussed the generational change that is occurring in the recording of events. She noted the richness of archived collections of papers and illustrated her discussion with her work on Sir John Monash and Sir Keith Murdoch.
- Rose Holley raised some important questions about the enhancement and enrichment of digital content in her discussion of the Australian Newspapers Digitisation Program. The program had benefitted from remarkable voluntary effort to collaborate in text correction. She emphasised the importance of transparency and trust that provided the foundation for an unmoderated correction (enhancement) service.
Whilst these presentations were occurring in the NLA’s Theatre, delegates were given access to a wireless network to encourage blogging and social networking (including the NLA’s own live blog at Library Labs). There was a lot of Twitter activity using the recommended #iif2009 tag. By the morning break the NLA was offering more IP addresses for all those wanting to log on to the network and NLA staff were putting out more power boards for delegates who had been blogging or working on-line during the first session. Some of the first Flickr photographs were appearing too with the iif2009 tag.
As I was reaching Braidwood on my journey home, Philip and Melinda were discussing Stanner’s advice to Gough Whitlam. As soon as I arrived in Mongarlowe I was able to find a record of an iconic moment held at the NLA just one hour’s drive away in everywhen time.
(Photo credit: In May 1975, Gurindji people were successful in having an area of their own land excised from the Vestey pastoral lease at Wattie Creek in the Northern Territory. Here Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and Gurindji leader Vincent Lingiari celebrate the handover of the land at Daguragu. The event was recorded visually and stored here.)