I’m applying here an overarching principle –  that every individual life is a story of itself and every story is the same story – the human  story. This may seem a far stretch as a response to your tale Bridgid? But it got me thinking.

About how when someone is handed a group snapshot, the eye, then the mind of a ‘viewer’ seeks the familiar face – most likely their own ‘visage’ and accesses its attached story. Thank you for your snapshot of me; it seems a fair capture of this writer at 60. Ten years ago. At Swinburne. At Prahran.

Your brief time in my story was pretty close to when my son Alexander Ward entered the higher ed stream. The last years of preselection/and interview for one of 39 places in a program that was (happily for my part) dependent on up to 60% international(fee paying) places. The last years of Swinburne (Old) School of Design.

 Alex is the senior designer at a Melbourne consultancy. We are continuing to work together – possibly towards a shared practice . The day after Alex’s birthday is today – so the period 2004 – 2008 is front of mind. I’m sure we’ll talk about it tonight at the birthday dinner. His birthday(29) is one of the few things I’ve known for some time was going to happen this week.

Monday this week classmate from 1963 at Swinburne (Hawthorn)  – Barry Owen – died. He was my friend and ‘boss’ in Bangkok for 7 years (and two children). I am sad for me, but glad for him. He had a fantastic Practice.

Juanita my mucho exotic daughter works for a large local web developer, has a pr background and an emerging practice in art curatorship (post digital).

A surprise visit by a friend of nearly 50 years from somewhere pleasant in England – who writes art catalogues for a multinational gallery and still likes reading my story/blog after all that time was a short but sweet event.

It’s been and continues to be quite a week for old school networking across the new media.

Significantly for this author,  20 years with Swinburne and a higher ed engagement since 1969; ‘teaching’ is only a skin to this Practice at the centre and whole of my life . I found (fell into) My Practice in the shared often untidy effort of a 70’s co-operative ‘illustration’ group. Apart from later nearly destroying it in Thailand where it froze in the headlights of big money big toys babies,  My Practice has grown exponentially in productivity and personal relevance since.

Another of the things I knew were going to happen this week is – as of Friday (October 3 2014) last I declared the incompatibility of My Practice with the The New Swinburne and resigned my tenure there as of January 4 2015. Hip Hooray!


I’m seventy one, and marginally diminished physically, not intellectually, in My Practice. So I’m allowing My Practice – My Purpose – My Passion – full rein (reign?) as of October 4 2014 and Until Death Us Do Part.

What you have achieved in Taiwan Bridgid ; including getting there, is what you are. Not bad at all. Work with it not against it is my advice. Your age suggests that if you’re coming back to .AUD you should/could go on doing what you’re doing. If you want to. A regeneration of TAFE in Victoria means there’s a lot of opportunity for free-enterprise education at that level. From teaching to starting a new business/school. Another pathway if university/management is your goal would not be into design but social arts/science via a pHD – Scholarship? If you look carefully . If design at Swinburne is your thing then contact Caroline Barnes.Why not RMIT? To my eye people like me in this emerging system, would let me teach the same things I do now, for less or more money. Casually. That’s fine – I don’t need much money.

Practice – Craft doesn’t belong in a university except as a myth that business draws on to confirm an art+design dialectic is happening for the many who may be at a point of weighing options.

My social induction into the shared concept – Loyalty – was at the first sparks of managed/focussed  creativity that I had as a student – old school. Early 60’s. If Practice is the centre then Loyalty is the very fibre of its being. And Creativity is the mother of them all. Australian Design Standards need only apply – if you let them.

In archetypal terms I am a Maker therefore a Seeker and am entirely capable of being a Mercenary. Therefore I am still alive!

The title of this exit essay refers to a soon to be written line of poetry.


In an unbroken meadow garden Cairns of Change stand mute memorials to the human effort expended creating them in an otherwise seamlessly disinterested landscape.


My landscape. The landscape of my story. Eyots in the river of time.

My image is taken from a web image of – a funded research recreation of traditional chinese methods of composting – which reminded me of a black and white early halftone of photograph – early 20th century I had seen in a ‘british’ book on Tropical Agriculture in a Wiltshire homestead when I lived as a WOOFA. In winter. Building compost heaps.

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