BSC Newsletter #2

3 January 2019

Dear Big Skies Collaborators, Supporters and Friends,

This newsletter has three main objectives.
1. to invite you to our first Inland Astro-Trail Symposium in Parkes, Wednesday 6 February 2019;
2. to inspire you to work with us to develop the Inland Astro-Trail as a catalyst for new opportunities in south-eastern Australia’s rural Inland; and
3. to remind you that submissions to our Skywriters Anthology are due by 31 January.

Inland Astro-Trail Symposium and AGM

First Inland Astro-Trail Symposium_ 2019_V5 Final 500widePlease join us in Parkes on Wednesday 6 February for our first Inland Astro-Trail Symposium to discuss the many opportunities the Inland Astro-Trail (IAT) offers inland communities, local government authorities, educators, astro-tourism operators, universities and other research institutions, arts practitioners, heritage conservators, cultural entrepreneurs and those of us who simply love gazing at our big inland sky.

This event will be co-hosted by Inland Astro-Trail Inc. and our project partners, including Destination NSW and Country, Central NSW Councils (CENTROC), Parkes Shire Council, Arts OutWest, Australian National University and the University of Canberra.

A whole day of lively discussion with guest speakers about connecting the Inland’s many astronomical observatories and sites of astronomical significance along a many-stranded trail – and what this could mean for inland communities.

The Symposium will be followed by IAT Inc.’s first AGM and our first stargazing dinner at The Dish Cafe, Parkes Radio Telescope.

Parkes Shire Council’s Coventry Room and The Dish Cafe.

Just $95 to cover our classy morning and afternoon teas, lunch and dinner. Or $45 for the Symposium only.

Bookings and payment through 123Tix here >>
Or by EFT to Inland Astro-Trail Inc, BSB 012-790, Account 2323-08258. (Please include your name with your payment.)

IAT Inc. Membership
Become a member of Inland Astro-Trail Inc. for a one-off joining fee of just $5, and nominate yourself or someone else for a position on the IAT Inc. committee. Download the membership forms here >>

Skywriters Anthology Deadline

Another Big Skies Collaboration event to look forward to this year is the launch of our first Skywriters Anthology in both print and digital formats. The deadline for submissions is 31 January 2019 – so Skywriters, please polish up your final drafts and send them to me soon!

Skywriters Anthology A3 poster_2019 Call Out_smallI’d love to be able to tell you about some the skystories I’ve already received – but you’ll have to wait until our curating editors, Susie Gibson, Val Clark and Gai Lander, and publisher, Big Skies Collaborator David Reiter of Interactive Publications Pty Ltd, have finalised their ‘blind’ selection process!

Maybe it’s ok, though, to tell you that a skystory set at Siding Spring Observatory is so funny (in the most positive sense!) that I Laughed Out Loud when I reached the end! Even now I’m chuckling as I tap-tap away at my laptop!

I’ve also received a skymemoir about experiencing the night sky in both the northern and southern hemispheres: the Great Bear, Orion and the Southern Cross are big in this one. Another skymemoir is about teaching in a small bush school near Parkes in the 1960s when the Radio Telescope was being built.

I’m excited about this anthology! It’ll be a cracker! I’m still hoping to receive some SF or speculative fiction though, and a few skystories by professional astronomers, astrophysicists or cosmologists about why they do what they do, for example. Plus some astro-reflections about SETI, AI in Deep Space, the challenges of Big Data, and about humanity’s dependence on those satellites buzzing around our planet (think GPS, mobile phones, Internet of Things/M2M, Earth monitoring etc.). And none of the skystories submitted so far has referred to any of the really BIG astro-questions that are yet to be answered either!

So, if writing creative fiction or non-fiction, poetry or prose, is your thing (and you haven’t already submitted) please get writing now to fill some of these gaps. We need your skystories by the end of January. Send your manuscript as an email attachment to a Word document, 12-point double-spaced, with your name, contact details and the story title on the cover page. But please check the criteria first.

And then the launch! Any ideas about how and where we should celebrate our anthology? (I’ve already received a couple of great suggestions from Coonabarabran! Thank you.)

First Condo SkyFest and Skyweavings

Another of our Big Skies Collaboration events was hosted last November by Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation at its Wiradjuri Study Centre in the small remote town of Condobolin: the extraordinarily successful Condo SkyFest.

Condo Sky Fest 2018_final_Lo Res_SML

Tennille Dunn, who organised this gig, will be speaking at our IAT Symposium to explain why SkyFest was so important to her community. Her story about the impacts of colonisation and the efforts locals are now making to reclaim their astro-heritage is both moving and inspiring.

Tennille will be accompanied by master weaver and Big Skies Collaborator Bev Coe and some of the fibre artists from the Condo SistaShed who were responsible for one of SkyFest’s highlights, the Seven Sistas Weavings exhibition. We’ll be showing some of their works at the Symposium, including their unforgettable Celestial Emu and Mulayndynang or The Pleiades (Seven Sisters) installation.

This ‘small group of thoughtful, committed citizens’ …

As I complete this long newsletter, I’m reflecting on what we’ve achieved (and not) over the past twelve months and recalling, once again, the aphorism attributed to anthropologist Margaret Mead: Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has

My hope now is that, in 2019, we’ll be able to work with yet more ‘thoughtful, committed citizens’ to grow our Inland Astro-Trail into a powerful force for good to ‘change the world’ in our small patch of Planet Earth. I look forward to sharing this challenge with you.

May 2019 be an excellent year for all of us.

Dr Merrill Findlay
Public Officer: Inland Astro-Trail Inc.
Co-founder, Big Skies Collaboration
T: 61 (0)404057162

With special thanks to the funding bodies, project partners and in-kind sponsors who have made our projects possible, including Arts OutWest, Regional Arts Fund, Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund, and, of course, our IAT Symposium partners mentioned above.

Page created by Merrill Findlay 4 January 2019.