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Taskafa: Stories of the Street. Post-event reflection

by Nicole Mechkaroff

Last Thursday's public discussion and film screening began to unpack John Berger's 'Ways of Seeing' where looking was understood to be inherently political.

'To look is an act of choice' - Berger

Claire Collie opened the discussion with a critical historiography of Melbourne, it's urban Renaissance narrative, and the counter-narratives that have been unseen to give rise to social injustice, erasures and structural violence. Claire drew upon Andrea Luka Zimmerman's attempt to resist a single way of seeing in the film Taskafa, and set the scene for alternative urban planning imaginaries for humans and non-humans to coexist.

A demonstration of verbal and non-verbal communication techniques between Elani Schmidt and therapy dog Leila dove into some qualitative aspects of human and animal interactions, and provided insights into the value of Animal-Assisted Therapy for people in need.

We also heard from Anna Rowe about her time spent in Mannar Sri Lanka. She discussed the work of Bridging Lanka with street donkeys. Once an important part of community life, these beautiful animals have become neglected. They represent a past that many would rather forget.

Many thanks to all guest speakers and filmmaker Andrea Luka Zimmerman for helping us come together to discuss these critical urban issues.


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