Thursday, October 30, 2008

introducing zoe mcmahon

We'd like to introduce you to the lovely Zoe........

Zoe is going to be the photographer for our bricks + cartwheels gala dinner this Saturday night! We are so excited that Zoe is doing the photography for us, not only is she our great friend she is also an amazingly talented photographer. So a big THANK  YOU to Zoe for volunteering her services for the evening. This is a sneak peak at some of Zoe's work........

You can check out more of Zoe's work here, make sure you have a look she rocks!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

simply something fun

Fun photos from Vincent Bousserez found via happy cavalier. Pretty cool, and very clever....

work work work

just a little reminder of how to work better..... We have been trying to keeping our heads above our ever increasing pile of work the past couple of weeks. The bricks + cartwheels Gala Dinner is on this weekend, and we are all so excited and even a little bit nervous about it. 

It's been a hard slog, getting everything organised BUT it's definitely going to be worth it! I think this list of tips is the perfect way to stay calm and in control. Thanks to Erin from Design for Mankind for the post.

educate one woman, educate a nation...

...this is the philosophy of SSEG - South Sudan Educates Girls. We recently found out about this amazing organisation from a friend who is involved. It is so great to come across similar minded people who believe whole heartedly in the importance of educating women.

SSEG aims to provide increased educational access and opportunities for girls in Southern Sudan. To achieve this, SSEG is building a girls' highschool in the town of Aweil and aims to contribute to the rebuilding of Southern Sudan by increasing education levels in the country

This charity organisation was set up by Sudanese people living in Australia with the help of some Australian school teachers and community members. Members of the SSEG committee have been inspired by the story of Anna Dimo and her dream to enable women to be educated participants in the rebuilding of South Sudan.

Congratulations to the committee on all your hard work so far, we at bricks + cartwheels know what it takes to establish something at this scale. We look forward to following your progress.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Kenya here we come!

It's official! The b+c team are heading over to Kenya in December! We are very excited about spending 2 months in Katolo with the community and cant wait to get our hands dirty! We will keep you posted on all the details leading up to the trip...

Things are also hotting up for our bricks + cartwheels gala dinner on Nov 1. With all things running smoothly this event should complete our fundraising efforts for Stage 1 of the project. Our good friend, and b+c team member, Mike is jetting in to Sydney, straight from Katolo to be with us on the night. He will be sure to take back all the stories from this special night to the Katolo community!
Thank you in advance to all those who have donated their time to the event, and to our sponsors, in particular MBMpl Pty Ltd Quantity Surveyors and Technical Advisors. It is going to be a cracker of an evening!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

school masterplanning

A recent weekend away to the lovely Shoal Bay was just the inspiration the b+c team needed to nut out a masterplan for the secondary school for girls. After receiving feedback from the community about the initial brief we were able to decide on a draft document which we are now busily preparing to send back to Katolo for the community to look over and discuss.

There was plenty of pens/trace/bubble diagrams and lively discussions about different options... We are happy to say we now have a masterplan! A job well done! We are looking forward to hearing the feedback from Kenya.

Friday, October 17, 2008

music. consciousness. action

Michael Franti featured on triple j today and what a cool dude he is! As Andrew Denton describes him in an Enough Rope interview - “In a pop world dominated by pipe-cleaner bimbos and testosterone-addled rock idiots, every now and then an act of class and substance creeps underneath the wire.”
A rebel with a cause, one of Michael’s many ventures is the Power to the Peaceful Festival. The mission of this festival is to bring people together through music and art to highlight the similarities and celebrate the diversity of all of the world’s inhabitants. It is a not-for-profit, non-partisan organisation dedicated to the promotion of cultural co-existence, non-violence and environmental sustainability through the arts and music. It has already been on this year BUT good news is, he has announced he is heading to Tanzania to stage a festival in February next year in a bid to combat ethnic tensions in the country. Not only will he will document this journey, he has been travelling the world, asking people what it means to be human to compile his long-term documentary called Stay Human.

This excerpt from Franti sums up his passion for justice perfectly: I feel like right now is an opportunity, because in a time of great turmoil comes opportunity for great change. And so all of us, no matter where we are as musicians, as people sitting around the water cooler at work or amongst our families or school teachers or whoever, we all have a position to play in the world right now in determining the direction that the world is going to go. And things are going to change regardless, but we need to make sure that, as Martin Luther King has said, that peace is not merely the absence of war, but it's the presence of justice.

His latest album All Rebel Rockers is out now and in the words of the man himself "It's easy to pick up a newspaper and get frustrated and be like, 'Man, this world is just going to hell.' But I wanted to make a record that made people feel inspired, so they could wake up every day and be like, 'Man, I can face this day and I want to look to positivity and light.'"

I feel like I can take on the world now!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

hospital by the river

This book is on the top shelf of the bricks + cartwheels ever growing library. Adding to our list of inspirational women is the story of Catherine Hamlin and the women of Ethiopia. If ever there was a story of suffering this one will make you stop and think just how lucky women in the developing world are... however this story gives you the hope that their are people out there closing this gap.
Gynaecologists Catherine and Reg Hamlin left Australia in 1959 on a short contract to establish a midwifery school in Ethiopia. Over 40 years later, Catherine is still there, running one of the most outstanding medical programs in the world. Through this work thousands of women have been able to resume a normal existence after living as outcasts, cured of the horrible obstetric fistula. The World Health Organisation estimates that approximately 2 million women have untreated fistula and that approximately 100,000 women develop fistula each year. Fistula is most prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

The Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital has treated over 30,000 women over 33 years. Their cure rate is over 90%. Fistula can be prevented if laboring women are provided with adequate emergency obstetric care when complications arise.

For more information about the awe inspiring work of Catherine Hamlin visit the Fistula Foundation site.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Global Studio

It is Blog Action Day 2008 today - and the focus issue is poverty.  I thought it would be the perfect opportunity  to introduce The Global Studio. 

Global Studio is an action research program where international interdisciplinary students, academics, and professionals in the city building professions come together to collaborate on community-based projects. Informed by the UN Millennium Development Goals, the program promotes forms of education and practice that will benefit under-served communities and facilitate bottom-up, collaborative partnerships. 

I was lucky enough to be a part of Global Studio Johannesburg in 2007 and together with other students from Brazil, New Zealand, Italy, Chile and America – we developed a project called Small Changes, Big Improvements.  Click here to see what we did.  

Another group of inspired and talented students returned to Johannesburg this year to work with the residents of Diepsloot in Johannesburg and did a fantastic job developing the work from last year.  Continuing to focus on projects ranging in scope from housing to the environment to communication technologies and the arts – all projects were driven by local people’s interests and developed with high levels of community participation.  Sustainability was number one priority and projects were developed with strong communcation with local authorities and NGOs. 

You can see the continuing work of the Community Chalkboards project on Candy Chang’s fabulous website.  These chalkboards in the township of Diepsloot improve information sharing between residents.

Candy explains that being public and paperless, the community chalkboard gives residents an accessible platform and allows them to share info on a daily basis, self-organize, and empower each other through local knowledge. And it's cheap to boot! 

Make sure you take some time to explore her site – she is pure talent.  Candy’s ‘I’ve Lived’ public art project will interest many in these times of number crunching. I know I have been dying to know how much rent my neighbours are paying.  What a great idea to start community dialogue.  

Back to The Global Studio, GS founder Anna Rubbo from The University of Sydney will present the work of Global Studio together with Diepsloot residents in Nanjing, China at the UN World Urban Forum

It is critical that design education and practice should focus on collaboration with the urban poor to improve the environment and living conditions of society's poorest 20% in cities worldwide. Let’s hope that Anna and the Global Studio programme can get some well-deserved recognition and funding!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

national ride to work day

is on tomorrow the 15th of October, all around Australia. So if you've ever thought about riding your bike to work, university or school tomorrow is the day to give it a go! Riding a bike is an excellent way to get around, it's fast, cheap, keeps you fit and is good for the environment.... how could you resist! So check out the website here and register here.

Speaking of bikes, one of our friends is riding his bike from Alaska to Patagonia..... pretty amazing huh? We've recently seen some photos, and they are amazing. 

Makes riding to work seem pretty do able. 

Friday, October 10, 2008

just so you all know

sometimes you just need to hear it, and today is Friday...... so now you'll all be ready for a wonderful weekend! We're having a master planning weekend, so hopefully we can report back next week with an update on the Secondary School for Girls, in Katolo

This photo is from the beautiful blog nectar & light. 

We hope it makes you feel special, because we love all of you who stop by to read our thoughts, ideas and general ramblings! 

Thursday, October 9, 2008

blog action day - we're in. are you?

Next Wednesday the 15th of October is this year's Blog Action Day. The topic this year is poverty. If like us you haven't come across this great concept before your in for a lovely surprise. As Pia from the blog enhance the everyday said it's a "great idea to bang our blogs together to stimulate awareness, conversation and creativity about something that is in desperate need of our attention." 

Last year the issue was the environment and this year it's poverty. This project is supported by the UN, and lots of other organisations both big and small. So if you'd like to join us on the 15th click here to register and here for more information. 

We'll be posting something from bricks + cartwheels and will be clicking around the blogosphere to check out what everyone else is writing/thinking/creating.

Friday, October 3, 2008

through a foreign lens

Through a Foreign Lens is a photography exhibition we heard about through Frankie Magazine. The photo journalist Jay Gunning has been travelling around the world taking some beautiful photos. The photos all highlight the issues of poverty and justice.

The photos were on exhibition yesterday, the 2nd of October at 22 Petrie Terrace, Brisbane. Did anyone see it? Any reports would be great to hear. Oh and the best thing about this exhibition is that all profits from the night were being donated by the artist to the wonderful Oak Tree Foundation, we've mentioned them here before.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

woo hoo washington!

HUGE congratulations to our friend and colleague in Kenya, Washington Wycliffe. He's just been elected Student Chairman for Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture in Kisumu, Kenya. We've always known Washington to be a smooth talker and thought he'd be a great politician, so this great achievement comes as no surprise to us!

'I believe that everyone has a chance to contribute to change. We all have a special purpose, don't sit back, move forward and contribute to the change we need in this world. It starts with you. Be a vision maker.'

Washington grew up in Katolo, Kenya - where we're currently working to design and build the new Secondary School for Girls. What a great example for all the youth of Kenya to aspire to. We're inspired.


It is hot in Sydney today...... really, really hot. Who would rather be here?
The beautiful Polaroid from here.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

hip hip hooray - it's world architecture day

So today is the day - Happy world architecture day! Architects are encouraged to wear their black uniform and spend a little moment remembering all those buildings that have come and gone, celebrate the beauty of the built environment yet remember the impact the construction industry has on our beautiful planet... Treehugger has some suggestions for architects on this day of days.

Perhaps next year we could try and pass the idea that today is an architects holiday - but alas for now it's back to the drawing board! Happy drafting.

sydney architecture festival 08

Who else can't wait for the loooong weekend? If you are in Sydney why not pop along on Monday to the Architecture Festival, a celebration of the city's unique built environment. It aims to engage with the public about architecture and to explore critical aspects of sustainability in the built environment.

The 2008 Sydney Architecture Festival will be held on Monday 6 October World Architecture Day. The Festival features architectural tours of the city; talks and activities at the World Heritage listed Sydney Opera House; lectures, exhibitions and kids activities at Customs House; tours of Cockatoo Island and much more.

Of particular interest is the headline talk - A forum discussing the past, present and future of Circular Quay, its architecture and urban design. Former Prime Minister Paul Keating will be joined by architect Richard Leplastrier, Sydney City Councillor John McInerney (himself an architect and town planner) and Sydney Morning Herald architecture critic Elizabeth Farrelly together in conversation with Alan Saunders, presenter of ABC Radio National's By Design program.

There will be an exhibition of the NSW Chapter Award Winners and our friends at AWF (featured here) will have an informative display at Customs House which is also a must see!
Visit here for the full program.