How the spice trade changed the world

Spice. The very word conjures up images of exotic trails, bustling winds and turban clad men concocting salubrious brews. The history of spice is like many things in this world however, not as it seems. India would seem to many to be the birthplace of spice, being as it is the land of curry and chai. But in fact many of the finest spices as we know … Continue reading How the spice trade changed the world

A story of co-existence. The Jewish history of Islamic Morocco.

The current political narrative of Jews and Arab Muslims dates back only 100 years. There is an older story, a richly complex and more peaceful one begging to be told. Sitting in the shadows of today’s narrative of animosity and hatred is a story of a thriving co-existence between Jews and Arabs. This is Morocco’s Jewish history. Jewish life in Morocco is over 2000 years … Continue reading A story of co-existence. The Jewish history of Islamic Morocco.

Toronto. Cultural diversity leading the world.

Sitting in a café in downtown Toronto you could be anywhere in the world. In fact, it’s almost impossible to tell you are in Canada. The city is a melting pot of faces from all around the world, no more Caucasian than it is African, Asian, Indian, Arab or Latino. Just over half of the Toronto regions 5.6 million residents were born in another country … Continue reading Toronto. Cultural diversity leading the world.

Positive thinking, privilege and the alienation of Instagram

The Internet is the worlds go to for information, for better and for worse, for truth and for bullshit. Everyone can now have a voice and while this theoretically creates a platform for true citizen democracy, it also opens doors for a whole lot of half truths and pretence. Chloe King writes this polemic and powerful piece about radical self-love and why positive thinking will, in her words, … Continue reading Positive thinking, privilege and the alienation of Instagram

Six great reasons why English speakers should learn other languages

A person who speaks many languages is a polyglot. A person who speaks two languages is bilingual. And a person who speaks one language? You guessed it, a native English speaker. As native English speakers we have the confounding situation where everyone else speaks, wants to speak or has to speak our language so our need to learn other languages is anywhere from very low … Continue reading Six great reasons why English speakers should learn other languages

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Freedom for the Basque country: Independence graffiti along Spain’s ancient Camino

Walking the Camino del Norte in Northern Spain is as much an exercise in history as it of the body. Any notion of Spain as one unified nation was quietly put to rest for the autonomous regions of Spain are as distinct as the nations making up the United Kingdom. The Camino del Norte begins in the Basque country, Spain’s most notorious separatist state, starting … Continue reading Freedom for the Basque country: Independence graffiti along Spain’s ancient Camino

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Multilingualism. Benefits for culture, society and your mind

“Multiculturalism means more than a nice variety of food. Language is part and parcel of a multicultural society as culture is mediated through language and vice versa. It makes multiculturalism more interesting and valuable.” This is John Hajek, the Director of the Research Unit for Multilingualism and Cross Cultural Communication (RUMACC) at the University of Melbourne. Many children in English speaking countries are denied the … Continue reading Multilingualism. Benefits for culture, society and your mind

Eight questions for more interesting conversations

“Conversation is civilized speech. It is more purposeful than chatter; more humane than gossip; more intimate than debate. But it is an elusive ideal.” John Armstrong, The Conversation. All too often our verbal exchanges involve flippantly jumping from one topic to another, a smattering of small talk peppered with a rant here and there. And we’ve all been to that party or event where the … Continue reading Eight questions for more interesting conversations

Cracking creativity open. Brisbane’s coworking spaces

It’s not every day you hear an office described as ‘creativity on crack’. That’s just how Jethro Batts describes his Sydney coworking space, The Works Glebe. “It’s eclectic and definitely allows us to work within our own parameters, equipped with hammocks, dogs, standing desks, antique furniture and yes, even our own campervan,” Jethro says. The Works Glebe is a creative, cultural and retail hub for … Continue reading Cracking creativity open. Brisbane’s coworking spaces