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The Centre's news and events from 2012 can be found below:

  • Unique Forms of Continuity in SpaceAdelaide, 15 - 20 November 2012

    International Composition Competition & Workshop

    Executive directors:
    Carlo Forlivesi | Stefano Fossati | Stephen Whittington

    To celebrate the 2012 Week of Italian Language throughout the World, the Italian Institute of Culture, Melbourne, in collaboration with The Elder Conservatorium of Music University of Adelaide, The National Conservatory "Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina " of Cagliari, The INA-GRM of Paris, The J.M. Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice, Soundstream New Music Collective, The Taukay Edizioni Musicali, and The Jeunesses Musicales Italy Modena Section, will sponsor an international competition and workshop for composers.

    The title of the competition, FORME UNICHE DELLA CONTINUIT NELLO SPAZIO - or Unique Forms of Continuity in Space - is derived from the famous sculpture by Italian futurist artist Umberto Boccioni.

    This international composition competition and workshop is an opportunity for composers to express the originality of their musical ideas and aims to contribute to the creation of a large and eclectic body of art works, with rich implications in the relationship between music and poetry.

    Finalists of FORME UNICHE 2012:

    • Ewan Campbell (United Kingdom); Matteo Casula (Italy)
    • Kazue Kaku (Korea); Giulia Lorusso (Italy)
    • Samuel Messer (United Kingdom); Sandro Mungianu (Italy)
    • Mari Ohno (Japan); Sebastian Phlox (Australia)
    • Iran Sanazadeh (Iran / Australia); Tania Sikelianou (Greece)
  • 'Nights at the Musicircus': John Cage & Angela Carter in Bath - A SymposiumFriday 26 October, 3pm - 5pm
    Natalia Tena as Feathers in Nights at the Circus

    Natalia Tena as Feathers in Nights at the Circus
    (Image: Curtis Brown, UK)

    EMU Space
    Level 5, Schultz Building

    Musicircus is American composer John Cage's method for translating text into musical performance. At this year's Bath Festival, Angela Carter's brilliant novel Nights at the Circus was adapted for Musicircus by Steve May and James Saunders as part of the Cage centenary celebrations.

    John Cage (1912-1992 ) was a person of many parts-composer, writer, poet, visual artist, gourmet cook, mushroom expert-and is considered one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. Cage performed at the 1976 Adelaide Festival, polarising opinions at the time.

    Angela Carter (1940-92) was one of the most original fiction writers of recent decades. She was writer-in-residence at The University of Adelaide in 1984.

    At this special ‘Words and Music' event, a screening of part of the Bath Musicircus performance will be followed by a panel discussion with composer and performer Stephen Whittington, Rosemary Moore (who knew Carter in Adelaide and London), and Maggie Tonkin, author of Angela Carter and Decadence (2012), with James Saunders and Steve May online from Bath. Chaired by Nicholas Jose.

    ‘A wonderful celebration of gentle, burbling anarchy'
    (Daily Telegraph).

  • Not Quite Feature Length: The unacknowledged skill of writing and making short film: David O'BrienFriday, 19 October 2012
    David O'Brien

    David O'Brien

    Creative Writing Seminar
    Napier 618

    Just a few years ago you needed hundreds of thousands of dollars to make a movie. Today you need maybe ten thousand and, of course, plenty of determination. This seminar is about film that is not quite feature length.

    Technology has made short-form moviemaking accessible to almost everyone. It is a much-maligned art form swamping YouTube with dross on every subject. It is used by filmmakers for an entry into industry. It's almost impossible to make any money from short film. But the form is rising and deserves the change it's getting in attitude and approach by writers and filmmakers.

    In this seminar, David O'Brien will look at it's potted history and what it's future might be. He will touch on ways to achieve quality in short movies; how to write and make a short film that stands out from the relentless and soaring heap of ‘awful'. And he'll discuss: 'What's so great about ninety minutes?'

    David O'Brien is a screenwriter, director, journalist, script editor and playwright with thirty years experience in film and television. His screen credits include an episodes of POLICE RESCUE, the $4.2 million feature film SHOTGUN WEDDING, over twenty documentaries as well as numerous corporate, training and educational films. His short film SWAT was awarded Best Film and Screenplay at the 1999 Brekfest Awards. David was a television journalist for fifteen years before setting up his freelance screenwriting business in the early eighties.

  • Infinite Horizons of SoundSunday 26 September 2012

    In conjunction with the exhibition 'Infinite Horizons'- a major retrospective of the work of one of Australia's greatest painters, Fred Williams - the Australian String Quartet will present a fascinating concert of Australian music that reflects the landscape that inspired Williams' iconic paintings.

    This is a unique opportunity to hear the Australian String Quartet, one of Australia's finest ensembles, in a program that includes Richard Meale's elegaic 'Cantilena Pacifica', Peter Sculthorpe's evocative Quartet No.11 'Jabiru Dreaming', Stephen Whittington's minimalist classic 'Windmill', and the world premiere of 'Distant Front' for quartet and computer by Luke Harrald.

    Relax after the concert with a free glass of wine and meet the quartet and composers Stephen Whittington and Luke Harrald.

    Admission: $45; $35 Art Gallery & ASQ Members and concession. With concert admission you can also see the Fred Williams exhibition at a discount price of $10.
    Bookings: or Tel.:(08) 8207 7035

    Jointly presented by The Art Gallery of South Australia, the Australian String Quartet, and the J.M.Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice, University of Adelaide.

  • I CONFESS: Revelations in ExileFriday 21 September 2012
    Book cover: I CONFESS: Revelations in Exile by Dr Kooshyar Karimi

    J.M. Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice and Wild Dingo Press
    I CONFESS: Revelations in Exile
    Dr Kooshyar Karimi in conversation with Prof. Brian Castro & Prof. Riaz Esmailzadeh

    Friday, 21 September 2012, 6pm-7.30pm
    Ira Raymond Room
    Barr Smith Library

    In 1998, Kooshyar Karimi - a father, doctor, writer and translator - was kidnapped from the streets of his native Iran, blindfolded and tortured. His sin was his Jewishness and the fact that he helped desperate girls and women who had been raped by terminating their resulting pregnancies. When he is eventually released, it is only as a spy for the Islamic Secret Service. Certain torture and death stalked him on a daily basis, and Karimi realised that if he did not escape, he would soon be executed. In 2000, Karimi managed to flee with his wife and children to Istanbul, where they spent 13 long months of dread and secrecy hiding in a tiny basement deep below an apartment block, until he and his family were granted political refugee visas to Australia by the UNHCR.

    Doctor Karimi is now an Australian citizen and a Sydney-based physician. He is a fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, a member of the Australian Society of Cosmetic Medicine, and member of the Skin Cancer Society of Australia and New Zealand. He practises medicine full-time, and writes in his spare time.

    Professor Brian Castro is an Australian novelist, essayist, and teacher. He is the author of nine novels, as well as a body of essays on literary topics, and has won several state and national awards, including The National Book Council Prize for Fiction, and several state Premier's Awards. He is currently Chair of Creative Writing at the University of Adelaide, and co-director of the J.M. Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice.

    Professor Riaz Esmailzadeh began his studies at Shiraz University in Iran in 1979, just after the Islamic Revolution, but was expelled because of his Baha'i faith. He fled in 1983 to Pakistan and then to Australia, and arrived in Adelaide as a refugee. He is Associate Teaching Professor of Management and Technology at Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz College.

  • John Cage DaySeptember 5 2012
    John Cage

    John Cage

    Elder Hall
    University of Adelaide
    12 noon - 10pm

    Wednesday, September 5, 2012 is the centenary of the birth of John Cage (1912-1992), one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. Composer, performer, writer, visual artist, philosopher - the scope of Cage's activities was immense, and his impact on the arts immeasurable.

    To celebrate this important anniversary, Wednesday, September 5, 2012 will be John Cage Day at Elder Hall, University of Adelaide. From 12 noon until 8pm, composer and performer Stephen Whittington will perform ASLSP (As Slow aS Possible) on the Elder Hall organ. Audiences are free to come and go as they please during this performance.

    At 8pm a 'concert' ('Musicircus') will begin, featuring performances of seminal works of John Cage including Concert for Piano and Orchestra, Aria,Theatre Pieces, Cheap Imitation and more. Included are works that John Cage himself performed at the 1976 Adelaide Festival, in a performance that polar opinions at the time.

    An associated exhibition of scores and other works by John Cage will be on display in the Special Collections of the Barr Smith Library during the month of September.

    Admission is free to all events.

    John Cage Day 2012 is a project of the Elder Conservatorium of Music and the J.M.Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice.

  • Antjie Krog - Public Reading and SeminarFriday 27 July 2012
    Antjie Krog
    Book cover: Country of my Skull

    Creative non-fiction: a conversation

    All writing is in a way fiction. Why would a writer then choose to write non-fiction? What are the moral questions when writing suggests that it is 'closer to the truth'?

    Friday, 27 July 2012 - 3pm-5pm
    Room 618 Napier Building
    University of Adelaide
    All Welcome (Free admission)

    Internationally acclaimed South African writer, journalist and poet Antjie Krog (Extraordinary Professor, University of the Western Cape, South Africa) has written sixteen volumes of poetry (including three for children). With her team from the South African Broadcasting Corporation, Antjie Krog received the South African Pringle Award for excellence in journalism for their reporting on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), and she herself won the Foreign Correspondent's Award for outstanding journalism for her Mail & Guardian articles on the TRC.

    From her experiences as a TRC radio broadcaster and as a South African deeply affected by the Commission's hearings, Krog published Country Of My Skull in 1998, which was adapted for film in 2004, under the title In My Country. She has since published two other books of creative non-fiction, A Change of Tongue (2003) and Begging To Be Black (2009). She has also translated the autobiography of Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom into Afrikaans (2007).

    Krog's works have been translated into English, Dutch, Italian, French, Spanish, Swedish and Serbian. Her book Country Of My Skull is being widely prescribed at universities in America and Europe as part of the curricula dealing with writing about the past.

    Krog has been awarded most of the prestigious South African awards for non-fiction, translation and poetry available in Afrikaans and English, and also received an award from the Hiroshima Foundation for Peace and Culture for the year 2000, and the Open Society Prize from the Central European University (Budapest).

  • The Paradox of Melancholia: Paralysis and AgencyThursday 21 June 2012
    Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, Flinders Centre for Global Futures, the J.M. Coetzee Research Centre for Creative Practice and supported by the Ian Potter Foundation.

    Public Lecture
    Prof. Jeffrey Prager, Psychoanalyst & Cultural Sociologist, UCLA
    Thursday 21 June 2012 - 6:30 pm
    Flinders in the City
    182 Victoria Square (the old Reserve Bank Building)

    The Paradox of Melancholia
    Conveners: Professor Brian Castro, Professor Anthony Elliott, A/Prof Jennifer Rutherford
    Friday 22nd-Saturday 23rd June 2012

    A notoriously slippery concept, melancholy has been understood as a disease (melancholia), an affect, a mood, a style, a zeitgeist, a form of political dissent and a form of political reaction. Shifting in its meaning from one historical epoch to another, and understood in contradictory ways in the competing discourses of medicine, poetics, and politics, the various melancholies nevertheless share some defining traits.

    Over its long history, melancholy is a concept that links a series of twinned opposites: illness, disequilibrium, spleen, loss, grief, pain, paralysis, a-sociality and art, poetry, politics, protest and even that other outmoded concept - genius. In contemporary social and cultural theory, however, there is general distrust of this long association of melancholy with creativity. The convenors of this workshop contend, however, that the contradictions that have freighted melancholy since antiquity are core to understanding how the interior states of melancholy translate into social forms and forces, and are core to recognising melancholy as one of the principle ways that unspeakable forms of suffering and loss find expression in the cultural realm.

    This project will bring together writers, artists, psychoanalysts and social cultural theorists to focus a new lens on this paradox, so as to reframe melancholy as a productive affect, and to explore the way melancholy moves from an individual state into works that, in turn, impact upon collectivities.

    'The Paradox of Melancholia' - Full abstract

    An Academy of Social Science Workshop held in collaboration with Flinders Centre for Global Futures, the J.M. Coetzee Research Centre for Creative Practice and supported by the Ian Potter Foundation.

  • Passages - an exhibition by Brian Castro, Khai Liew & John Young25 February - 27 May 2012

    Passages is a collaborative project which presents an enticing combination of thought-provoking literature, elegant design and fine art, bringing together the writings of Brian Castro, furniture of Khai Liew, and paintings of John Young.

    The three artists in Passages inhabit a similar cultural space shaped by the Asian Diaspora, which emerges in varying degrees through their individual disciplines of literature, design and visual art. Their common Asian reference informs each artist's engagement with modernism to develop an aesthetic particular to Australia. This wonderful confluence of ideas and experiences enables fresh dialogues and dynamic correspondences to emerge and be exchanged between their different art forms.

  • The path to a new Australian opera - an open lecture by Brett DeanMonday 7 May 2012
    Brett Dean

    Internationally acclaimed composer Brett Dean's first full-length opera Bliss, based on the novel by Peter Carey, was premiered recently in a highly-acclaimed production by Opera Australia which was described by The Australian newspaper as 'a success in every way'.

    In this open lecture, Brett will discuss the process of transforming Peter Cary's novel Bliss into a libretto, and finally into an opera. Extracts from the original Peter Carey novel will be read as part of the talk and Brett will respond to questions from the audience.

    Presented by Soundstream Collective, University of Adelaide JM Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice and the Elder Conservatorium of Music

  • Making HistoryThursday 17 May 2012
    Percy Grainger

    Stephen Whittington and Mark Carroll are giving a public presentation as part of the City of Norwood, Payneham and St Peters Arts and Heritage programme.

    Percy Grainger, his music and life
    Norwood Concert Hall

  • Between Quill and Quaver - An exploration of the remarkable relationship between words and musicTuesday 13 March 2012

    An Elder Conservatorium Research Tuesday event
    Tuesday, March 13, 2012. 5:30pm-7:00pm

    The relationship between words and music has captivated and intrigued for centuries. In the right hands their combination creates art of great power, beauty, and subtlety. Yet interpreting the dynamics of their interplay has proved elusive. Some maintain that instrumental music is the highest expressive art form, whilst others argue that music is powerless without words.

    So to what extent do music and words influence each other in the collaborative process?

    In this stimulating presentation, Professors Graeme Koehne, Peter Goldsworthy, Michael Morley and Mark Carroll cast new light on the relationship between words and music.

  • J.M. Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice LaunchMarch 8 2012
    Collage of images from the launch of the J.M. Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice

    The Centre was launched by Nobel Laureate J.M. Coetzee, and the evening featured the world premier of Graeme Koehne's and Peter Goldsworthy's complete Ringtone Cycle, performed by the Seraphim Trio and Lisa Harper-Brown [soprano], and a recital of Holderlin songs, performed by Robert MacFarlane [tenor] and Stephen Whittington [piano]. Stephen also gave a world premiere of his Nocturne for Piano, one of a set of three works inspired by Holderlin's Night Songs.

    The following day, a repeat performance was opened to the public at Elder Hall, as part of the Elder Lunchtime Series

    Brian Castro's and J. M. Coetzee's speech

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The J.M. Coetzee Centre
for Creative Practice

School of Humanities
Schulz Building, Level 6


T: +61 8 8313 9164
JM Coetzee Centre