"Astra Howard is an Action Researcher/Performer working predominantly within public spaces in cities…After completing a PhD in 2005 titled: ‘Orchestrating the Public: To Reveal and Activate through Design the Experience of the City’, Astra has continued to test urban and social theories in the city spaces they critique."

Howard is an Australian designer and artist working with city councils, state government departments and community/arts organisations in Australia, Beijing, Paris, New York, Delhi, Hanoi and London. She has also worked with marginalised groups and the homeless in Sydney.  


Image and learn more about her work on the artists’ website. High-res

"Astra Howard is an Action Researcher/Performer working predominantly within public spaces in cities…After completing a PhD in 2005 titled: ‘Orchestrating the Public: To Reveal and Activate through Design the Experience of the City’, Astra has continued to test urban and social theories in the city spaces they critique."

Howard is an Australian designer and artist working with city councils, state government departments and community/arts organisations in Australia, Beijing, Paris, New York, Delhi, Hanoi and London. She has also worked with marginalised groups and the homeless in Sydney.  

Image and learn more about her work on the artists’ website.

Image: "National Sorry Day" Sorry in Sign Language by butupa on Flickr.
National Sorry Day commemorates regret for the historical mistreatment of Indigenous Australians. It also symbolises the need for our nation to address the ongoing socio-economic disadvantage of our Indigenous population as a result of colonialism, including these facts:
Indigenous people have a life expectancy that is up to 11.5 lower than the national average
Indigenous people are six times as likely to die through homicide, with 65% of these deaths involving alcohol. This connection between homicide and alcohol rate is three times the national average
Indigenous people are 12 times more likely to be hospitalised for assault, and four times more likely to be hospitalised for alcohol-related mental and behavioural disorders
Indigenous child mortality rates are up to three times higher relative to other kids, and Indigenous children are twice as likely to be admitted to hospital
Indigenous youth are 20 times more likely to be detained in custody
Indigenous students graduate high school at half the rate of other Australians.
Read references and more discussion on my blog. High-res

Image: "National Sorry Day" Sorry in Sign Language by butupa on Flickr.

National Sorry Day commemorates regret for the historical mistreatment of Indigenous Australians. It also symbolises the need for our nation to address the ongoing socio-economic disadvantage of our Indigenous population as a result of colonialism, including these facts:

  • Indigenous people have a life expectancy that is up to 11.5 lower than the national average
  • Indigenous people are six times as likely to die through homicide, with 65% of these deaths involving alcohol. This connection between homicide and alcohol rate is three times the national average
  • Indigenous people are 12 times more likely to be hospitalised for assault, and four times more likely to be hospitalised for alcohol-related mental and behavioural disorders
  • Indigenous child mortality rates are up to three times higher relative to other kids, and Indigenous children are twice as likely to be admitted to hospital
  • Indigenous youth are 20 times more likely to be detained in custody
  • Indigenous students graduate high school at half the rate of other Australians.

Read references and more discussion on my blog.

Allie Stone - Collections Assistant and Imaging Specialist in Insects, holding a cotton woven tunic from Guatemala, an item from the Economic Botany Collections. Jim Boone - Collections Manager, Insects, holding two paradise birdwing butterflies. Constance Van Beek - Preparator, Fossil Invertebrates, holding the bronze cast replica of Sue’s tooth, one of a dozen especially made for the preparators who worked on her. Laura Briscoe - Collections/Research Assistant, Botany, holding a piece of lace knit from Agave americana fibers from the Azores. Kevin H. - Collections Assistant, Botany, holding an original Schuster botanical illustration. Robert Lücking - Collections Manager and Adjunct Curator, Botany, holding a plastic sign covered with lichens collected in a rain forest in Costa Rica. Matthew Lavoie - Collections Assistant, Botany, holding the model of a cane toad from the imaging lab.

thebrainscoop:

My friend Daniel - photographer, biologist, artist, friendliest person ever - is working on a photo project that highlights staff and volunteers of The Field Museum along with their favorite collections items.

Posing with artifacts and specimens brings a certain ingenuity to the object; perhaps it would otherwise be something easily overlooked in a drawer, its history buried in comparative numbers. Singling out individual articles stresses their inherent uniqueness, and we’re drawn in with a curiosity trying to puzzle out why, out of 27 million items in this museum, these particular people chose the specimens in their hands.

There’s a visceral connection between Laura’s gaze and that agave lace: she’s looking at it so lovingly and holding it so carefully, as if she’s imagining herself sitting in awe at the foot of the person who painstakingly knit the fibers together and watching the entire process come together. Having seen her knit her own scarves on our way home one evening I can fathom the respect she has for not only the collections but also the people responsible for their creation and care.

Throughout Daniel’s portraits he’s been able to capture so well a humbling sense of gratification and pride, a mood that reflects our joy of being here because of the love we have for this world and its achievements. We’re all bursting with the same sense of wonder. 

Check out more portraits in his series, including questions answered by the featured scientists.

Childs_13 by azherhameed on Flickr."Children study in a yard with scrap collected for recycling, in Hyderabad, India, Friday, Nov. 20, 2009. Twenty years after the U.N. adopted a treaty guaranteeing children’s rights, 1 billion children are still deprived of food, shelter or clean water, and nearly 200 million are chronically malnourished, UNICEF said Thursday. Some of the worst abuses play out every day on the dusty streets of India, where government and aid groups’ efforts to help children are overwhelmed by the staggering poverty and the dislocation of millions of rural villagers who flood the cities in search of jobs. (AP Photo/ Mahesh Kumar A.)" High-res

Childs_13 by azherhameed on Flickr.

"Children study in a yard with scrap collected for recycling, in Hyderabad, India, Friday, Nov. 20, 2009. Twenty years after the U.N. adopted a treaty guaranteeing children’s rights, 1 billion children are still deprived of food, shelter or clean water, and nearly 200 million are chronically malnourished, UNICEF said Thursday. Some of the worst abuses play out every day on the dusty streets of India, where government and aid groups’ efforts to help children are overwhelmed by the staggering poverty and the dislocation of millions of rural villagers who flood the cities in search of jobs. (AP Photo/ Mahesh Kumar A.)"

Jean-Louis Barrault, María Casares and Albert Camus looking beyond cool, 1948.
Here’s your salacious historical gossip for the day: Casares was married to actor André Schlesser but she has admitted to having a 16 year affair with Camus who was also married at the time. He was also having affairs with three other women at the when he died in a car crash at age 46. The Guardian writes:

Camus had met Maria Casares, later star of Cocteau’s Orpheus but already an established actress, in 1944. Daughter of a rich Spanish Republican, a refugee from Franco, she was a passionate, wilful, intelligent woman. She was probably the only one of his lovers who had a relationship of equality with him. In addition, Todd says, ‘If he was a Don Juan, she was a Don Juana’….
Far from being a Parisian intellectual with little conscience about his affairs, Camus’ relationships were important to him. ‘He had a much more healthy relationship with women than Sartre,’ [biographer Olivier] Todd says. ‘His relationships were quite moving’….
But you cannot convincingly attach a lugubrious alibi to a personality of such rigorous honesty as Camus: the communist who, unlike Sartre, condemned Stalin’s labour camps when their existence was revealed; and the consumptive journalist who worked in occupied Paris for the clandestine paper, Combat, while the upper-class spokesman for communism, Sartre, led an unmolested life of intellectual and material ease.

Image source: Albert Camus.

Jean-Louis Barrault, María Casares and Albert Camus looking beyond cool, 1948.

Here’s your salacious historical gossip for the day: Casares was married to actor André Schlesser but she has admitted to having a 16 year affair with Camus who was also married at the time. He was also having affairs with three other women at the when he died in a car crash at age 46. The Guardian writes:

Camus had met Maria Casares, later star of Cocteau’s Orpheus but already an established actress, in 1944. Daughter of a rich Spanish Republican, a refugee from Franco, she was a passionate, wilful, intelligent woman. She was probably the only one of his lovers who had a relationship of equality with him. In addition, Todd says, ‘If he was a Don Juan, she was a Don Juana’….

Far from being a Parisian intellectual with little conscience about his affairs, Camus’ relationships were important to him. ‘He had a much more healthy relationship with women than Sartre,’ [biographer Olivier] Todd says. ‘His relationships were quite moving’….

But you cannot convincingly attach a lugubrious alibi to a personality of such rigorous honesty as Camus: the communist who, unlike Sartre, condemned Stalin’s labour camps when their existence was revealed; and the consumptive journalist who worked in occupied Paris for the clandestine paper, Combat, while the upper-class spokesman for communism, Sartre, led an unmolested life of intellectual and material ease.

Image source: Albert Camus.

Praying by ronniedankelman on Flickr.
Praying at the Saga Dawa Festival.

Saga Dawa means ‘fourth month’, and it is on the 15th day of this month on the Tibetan calendar that Tibetan and Nepalese Buddhists celebrate both his birth and the day when he died and attained Nirvana. Religious observance is influenced and shaped by the culture in which it is practised. During Saga Dawa, people flock to villages and monasteries turning their prayer wheels and singing and dancing. It is also a festival of light, where butter lamps abound. Although picnics are common, as a day of strict Buddhist observance no meat is allowed.”

Source of information: Mythic Maps. High-res

Praying by ronniedankelman on Flickr.

Praying at the Saga Dawa Festival.

Saga Dawa means ‘fourth month’, and it is on the 15th day of this month on the Tibetan calendar that Tibetan and Nepalese Buddhists celebrate both his birth and the day when he died and attained Nirvana.

Religious observance is influenced and shaped by the culture in which it is practised. During Saga Dawa, people flock to villages and monasteries turning their prayer wheels and singing and dancing. It is also a festival of light, where butter lamps abound. Although picnics are common, as a day of strict Buddhist observance no meat is allowed.”

Source of information: Mythic Maps.

Portrait of Peruvian man playing a siku (panpipe), Pisac market by discovercorps on Flickr.

Pisac is a Peruvian village in the Sacred Valley on the Urubamba River. The village is well-known for its market every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, an event which attracts heavy tourist traffic from nearby Cusco. One of its more notable features is a large pisonay tree which dominates the central plaza. The sanctuary of Huanca, home to a sacred shrine, is also near the village. Pilgrims travel to the shrine every September. The area is perhaps best known for its Incan ruins, known as Inca Písac, which lie atop a hill at the entrance to the valley. The ruins are separated along the ridge into four groups: Pisaqa, Intihuatana, Q’allaqasa, and Kinchiracay. Intihuatana includes a number of bathes and temples. The Temple of the Sun, a volcanic outcrop carved into a “hitching post” for the Sun (or Inti), is the focus, and the angles of its base suggest that it served some astronomical function. Q’allaqasa, which is built onto a natural spur and overlooks the valley, is known as the citadel.

Information via the photographer on Flickr. High-res

Portrait of Peruvian man playing a siku (panpipe), Pisac market by discovercorps on Flickr.

Pisac is a Peruvian village in the Sacred Valley on the Urubamba River. The village is well-known for its market every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, an event which attracts heavy tourist traffic from nearby Cusco. One of its more notable features is a large pisonay tree which dominates the central plaza. The sanctuary of Huanca, home to a sacred shrine, is also near the village. Pilgrims travel to the shrine every September. The area is perhaps best known for its Incan ruins, known as Inca Písac, which lie atop a hill at the entrance to the valley. The ruins are separated along the ridge into four groups: Pisaqa, Intihuatana, Q’allaqasa, and Kinchiracay. Intihuatana includes a number of bathes and temples. The Temple of the Sun, a volcanic outcrop carved into a “hitching post” for the Sun (or Inti), is the focus, and the angles of its base suggest that it served some astronomical function. Q’allaqasa, which is built onto a natural spur and overlooks the valley, is known as the citadel.

Information via the photographer on Flickr.

Fudan University’s student members of the Chinese Communist Party stand in formation to create the party’s emblem, a hammer and sickle, to mark the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, in Shanghai November 6, 2012. REUTER/Aly Song

Workers watch a screen showing Chinese President Hu Jintao delivering a speech during the opening ceremony of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, in Huangshan, Anhui province, November 8, 2012. 

REUTERS/Stringer

Delegates sit at the stage before the opening ceremony of 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, November 8, 2012. 

REUTERS/Jason Lee

Members of the Xinjiang provincial delegation listen to representatives from the National People’s Congress (NPC) during their meeting in the Xinjiang Room inside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing November 9, 2012. 

REUTERS/David Gray

People watch a TV showing of a huge screen shows a news broadcast of China’s Vice President Xi Jinping at the 18th Communist Party Congress at a crossroads in Shanghai November 8, 2012. REUTER/Aly Song

Via: Reuters. Further information: The Guardian.