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How an Architecture Enthusiast Brought Me to Tears

By Vanessa Sporne

I want to show you how Canberra’s buildings have led me to realise something about the way I view the places I have called home, and the way I will perceive those places I find myself in the future. I want to show you how a someone with passion has allowed me to finally pinpoint the nagging little sensation I have had for the past year, festering in the far reaches of my mind. I want to explain how he has put a name to this unidentified frustration I have been unable to shake, and allowed me to see a little clearer. But how has the imprint Telstra Tower leaves in the Canberra skyline and the faded graffiti on the Dickson shops led to this epiphany you ask? Bear with me.

Darren Bradley, an ‘architecture enthusiast’ spoke at the TEDx Canberra event this year, and while I admit that his on-paper description didn’t catch my attention at first, his passion out on the stage sure did. He spoke about seeing beauty in different lights and recognising the incredible aesthetic value of many of the things we take for granted. His exquisite photographs of some of the buildings I naively ride past on my bike everyday made me stop and think about how observant I am of my world, and the importance of this observance so as to avoid absent mindedly losing some of these wondrous structures.  

I saw a genuinely sincere interest and care for the architecture Bradley photographed, and I think that’s why I felt so much empathy when his discussion turned to the threats these Canberra buildings face under development. After hearing him speak about his love affair with modernist and Bauhaus architecture I couldn’t bear to think that many of his passions were to be torn to the ground by the unobservant. I was feeling waves of disappointment as each image came up on the screen, until a picture of my home appeared.

50 Daley Rd, or Bruce Hall, was torn down last year as I looked on from my new residence 300m down the street. I watched the building pulled apart bit by bit. I watched places where I had made some of the best memories of my life trampled over by machines and turned to piles of broken concrete. 70 years of history were contained in that building, so you may be able to guess why I was so grateful when Bradley explained his genuine disappointment and sadness at the loss of such a place. He said that he didn’t want to see the soul taken out of Canberra in the way it had been taken from Bruce Hall, and this is how he made me realise something about the importance of home; that it’s the soul that makes it count. Soul can’t be replaced by a new shiny building, constructed only to increase the efficiency (and money-making capability) of a place.

In the hours after Bradley’s talk I found that my frustration over the demolition of my beloved home were completely justified. I’d spent a long time hearing people tell me, and the rest of my community, that it was “just a building” and that, “nothing will change”, and while this year I’ve been trying to tell myself that they’re right, every time I drive past I still feel my stomach drop when I see the excavators crawling over the brown dusty patch that used to hold my home.

Although Bradley’s talk focused on the appreciation of beauty, I feel as if there was also a message about appreciating history. The buildings we travel past every day and the buildings we call home become part of our lives because they are the backdrop for our memories. Everyone remembers the home they grew up in, or the school yard where they met lifelong friends and we when see these places later in life we find ourselves reminiscing about what once was. Places like this are important, and I’m tired of people telling me they’re not as an excuse to tear them down. It’s important to preserve our physical history so as not to lose that that only resides in our memory. I’m so glad Bradley stood up and spoke about his passions because he validated the anger and sadness I felt at the loss of a place that I loved.

I wish that every person could have heard Bradley speak, so as to appreciate the beauty and the history of every place.

Mor is the next inspiration for young women

By Michelle Monaghan

What turns a strong female character in a book into a role model for young women? Read this article and find out!

Sarah J. Maas is the author of the popular Throne Of Glass series and A Court Of Thorns and Roses series. Although both of her series are well known for having strong female characters and heroines, one stands out above all others, Morrigan. Better known as ‘Mor’, Morrigan is one of the central characters in the A Court Of Thorns (ACOTAR) series. Mor may not be the main character, but the way her personality and backstory are framed within the series stand out to me as a strong and independent woman, who myself and many other female readers can be inspired by.

Mor says about her childhood, “I was a dreamer born into the Court of Nightmares” but as she grew up, she became a strong and powerful High Fae. So powerful that she was stronger than her own family. However, Mor’s family sought to take advantage of this and sell her off in marriage because of her power could be used as a valuable bargaining chip. Mor has the power of truth and when it first awakened it shook the entire Court of Nightmares. Due to the strength and enormity of her power she was viewed like a prized mare to be used in any way her family see fit.

Mor’s standout quality is her refusal to accept the cards she has been dealt. In many fictional series we see women traded for power, status or money. Used as a bargaining chip by authors and characters alike, however the depth and strength of Mor’s character is shown when she takes her destiny into her own hands, by ruining herself and her value so it cannot been seen as desirable in the marriage game. Despite being afraid of the consequences, she stands up for what she believes to be right, in the process becoming independent and free from the constraints of her family. These qualities are further exemplified in comments from her cousin Rhysand the High Lord of the Night Court, another crucial character, who said about Mor, “If I had not met my cousin, I would never have learned that light can be found in even the darkest of hells. That kindness can thrive even amongst cruelty.”

 It’s clear she has a profound effect on other characters, as Rhysand appoints her his Third, which allows her to run and oversee the Court of Nightmares and the Court of Dreams. Later on in series she would join the fight alongside her cousin and closest friends- showing her as a capable warrior alongside any man and willing to fight for her family and for the protection of her home Velaris the city of starlight.

Mor’s message to the female readers of this series is that no matter what anybody does to you, for whatever reason you can survive it. It may be scary to stand up for yourself, but it’s better than having people bully you and try to control you. I personally feel this from Mor every time I read about her in the books, as she inspires me to have the courage to become a stronger person.
No matter what she says or does in the series, Mor will always follow her own path and step up to protect those important to her, her past only making her more determined to do so. This is why Mor and so many other female characters in Maas’s book will continue to be inspirational to female readers, reinforcing  they are their own person and each unique in different ways, as we all are in the world.

For information on where to buy Sarah J Maas’s Court Of Thorns And Roses Series and her Thrones Of Glass Series check out her website. Plus there is a whole new novella from the ACOTAR series coming out in May next year- can you tell I’m excited?

Where do you draw momentum from?

By Hannah Worsley

“Where do you draw momentum from?”

This was the question every TEDxCanberra speaker tried to answer in their presentation this year. Over the course of the day, I felt awe, joy, sadness, and amazement, and danced, sung, clapped, and laughed. Each speaker had a unique journey, but all had a common thread of drawing strength from somewhere, without looking back.

But this day has left me with a burning question, especially as I sit here, a week later than I had wanted to, trying to write a blog post. Where the bloody hell do I draw my momentum from?

After last year’s TEDxCanberra, I wrote about my slightly wonky study trajectory, and strangely enough I’m drawn to write about it again. There’s something about a TEDx experience that encourages you to investigate your own life, and to think about what drives you, why it does, and what you’re going to do with that drive.

My question of late has been “where has my drive gone”? I’m currently gap yearing/working hard and enjoying a brain break. And after almost 14 years of school/study, I’ve come to associate that with momentum. An essay a day is demonstrative of drive. A colour-coded mind-map shows motivation. Heading into medicine is off the back off my study momentum.

But TEDx taught me that momentum comes in many, many different ways. I was particularly interested in what photographer Grace Costa spoke about in her address. When she began to talk about horses, I guess I was instantly hooked. I’m still a Saddle Club kid at heart. And what Grace discussed about home gave me a deeper understanding of how I can be changing my trajectory, while still maintaining momentum.

She told us about how her mentor had advised against her idea to photograph horses at the old Mt Stromlo Observatory. But for Grace, horses had been there her whole life, they meant something to her, and they were representative of her home, hard work, and her family’s passion. Momentum comes from passion, and often, from the best parts of your past.

I think this is why I’ve come full circle and come upon primary school teaching. It comes from a passion for teaching, a love for kids, and a desire to go back to rural areas. I’ve really had to elucidate these meanings from the mess inside my head in order to find where I get that momentum from. And like Grace, my momentum comes from home. In my mind, if that’s where I get my passion and drive from, then that’s what I should be focussing on.

TEDx this year taught me that momentum is really good at hiding. Maybe confusion is part of the game. But eventually, a part of your past pops up so often that you can’t ignore it, and it makes sense to include it in your future too.