Last night, Bslam and I attended a CityTalk presentation at Town Hall. These talks have been going on for years and are aimed at making Sydney a greener, more culturally vibrant city by 2030.
This talk was particularly special, as it featured actress Cate Blanchett and her partner Andrew Upton, who gave a dynamic co-presentation on how to make the Walsh Bay area on Hickson Road in the Rocks, home to both the Sydney Theatre and Dance companies, more inviting for arts-goers. The event wrapped up with a panel discussion and a surprise performance from a Sydney Dance Company member.
Going to this event was Brendan’s idea, and to be honest, it’s the type of thing I was forced to cover back in Philly when I was a newspaper reporter. A natural question I asked myself then and now: If I don’t plan on being in this city long-term, why care about what happens to it in the next 20 years?
Maybe it’s age, a more global awareness, a growing knowledge of the fact that I will have children who will be alive in that so distant-seeming future, but I found myself really giving a crap during this talk last night and thinking of ideas to help its vision come true.
Even though I’m only staying here till next year.
One of the things the panelists said at CityTalk involved how many Sydneysiders don’t take enough advantage of the arts scene; in fact, many say nothing goes on in Sydney. I turned to Brendan and whispered, “But there are always things going on here,” because I think there are. From the Inner West Fringe Festival to Sydney Festival to Sculpture by the Sea, you can find something arts-related year-round.
It crystallized for me last night that you can contribute to your adopted country or city even if your plans there are only short-term. Submitting ideas, treating the land respectfully, getting the word out about worthwhile initiatives — they’re all ways we can help a place grow and thrive even in our absence. In addition to chances to partake in civic engagement, local tourism opportunities that help the community also abound in many destinations.
How do you help make the country, city or place in which you’re temporarily staying better?