Monday, September 29, 2008

A place of light liberty and learning

The other day I went to look at a venue for a Christmas event at my old college QUT. I felt as if I had entered a parallel universe. I used to live in this area and knew these streets intimately. They were quiet and full of old wooden Queenslander houses, leaning drunkenly on their stilts. I used to trudge up and down these hills to lectures, various jobs, my own old wooden houses that I shared with friends. I'd get home in the evenings and we'd eat student curries consisting mostly of potatoes and look out onto our unkempt backyards full of weeds and long, long grass. Well.... this is what it looks like now.....

It's like stepping onto the set of Bladerunner, futuristic architecture, cafes, street plantings! I didn't know how I felt about it. I have pretty much no nostalgia for my old college- I spent my whole college years desperately trying to think of a way I could leave QUT and go somewhere else- somewhere better. I majored in painting just at a time when the department was abandoning the technical and classical elements of art and spent 4 years making ridiculous "installations". I did a post graduate degree through QUT and spent a lot of time researching in the University of Queensland libraries. I loved going over there, to the beautiful sandstone cloisters with their sense of history. To get to the library I had to go through a sandstone arch with the motto "A Place of Light, Liberty and Learning"

How I longed to go to a place of Light Liberty and Learning rather than the "University for the Real World"!


gracia said...

Wishing I had had a little longer to explore Brisbane... we flew up on the Friday and returned late on the Saturday. Such a whirlwind. Next time, if you are free, we ought to catch up.

A place of light, liberty and learning sounds close to ideal to me.

see you, g

Amanda said...

I find what you're saying really interesting Shannon. I know it's important to get a job (eventually...) but learning is so important, and universities used to be the places where radical and creative thought could emerge. These days the poor students are so stressed and rushed, all they have time to think about is where they are heading and the cold hard practicalities of the workplace. It concerns me that if we don't give young people the time to develop, the human race, society and what little community there is, will all suffer. Some things can't be rushed.