Picasso Part 2



22 OCTOBER 2022

In this second lecture on the Melbourne NGV Winter Masterpieces exhibition, The Picasso Century, Dr Michael Adcock offered insights into Picasso’s middle and late works, encompassing the narrative of Picasso’s art and influence from the 1920s. He illustrated Picasso’s development through the Exhibition’s contents and explained how they came about.

The aftermath of the World War upheaval wrought major changes in social and artistic worlds. The surrealist and modernist movements influenced Picasso’s depiction of the human figure. This presentation also covered some lesser-known modernist painters represented in the NGV exhibition: André Masson, Suzanne Valadon (best known to many as the pretty young girl in Renoir‘s The Dancers), the American Dorothea Tanning, and the Russian Natalia Goncharova (who also created costume designs and stage sets for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes).

This second lecture continued its celebration of the important women in Picasso‘s life: Marie-Thérèse Walter, who introduced a new note of dreamy sensuality to Picasso’s nude studies; Dora Maar, a painter and modernist photographer who also documented the evolution of Picasso’s Guernica, a political painting that expressed his volcanic eruption of rage at the slaughter of the people of the town of Guernica in 1937 by General Franco; and Françoise Gilot, another modernist painter who, at age 100, is still alive and still painting.

Picasso continued to experiment and create extensively in all media until his death in 1973. A colourful life, and an epic career, indeed!

U3A Port Phillip has been a fortunate beneficiary of Dr Adcock’s generosity with regular contributions to our Saturday Seminars. His scholarly approach to the arts, both its history and critically, continues to be appreciated by our member audiences.

See a VIDEO of Dr Adcock’s presentation.

From Mark Denniston of Saturday Seminars.

Are we there yet, the end of climate wars?




We were fortunate to have Tony Wood AM, the Grattan Institute’s Director of Energy and Climate Change as our seminar speaker on 17 September. Tony Wood led us through the intricacies of the energy/climate debate, including the safeguard mechanism, in a clear and considered way.

What a tale Tony told. He began his presentation by outlining the fraught history of the climate change story in Australia, a country rich in natural resources. He focussed on the period from 2007 with election of the Rudd Government to the election of the new Federal Government in 2022. By and large it is a story of lost opportunity and conflict in which the strongest lesson was “Politics always trumps policy” and that any window of opportunity is only open for a short time.

The new Federal Government has learnt that lesson and has taken action quickly and with support from the Greens and David Pocock has recently passed legislation that has enshrined a target of 43 % and established a carbon budget . Tony stressed that the carbon budget for the period 2021 to 2030 is 4381 mmt, so that any increases in emissions over that time must be overcome by decreases to that amount of 4381mmt. For example, any increases by industry must be balanced by decreases in some or all other sectors of our economy. Overall, an important and timely seminar with clear messages for Government.

  • Take the simplest approach to the safeguard mechanism
  • Determine a clear link between targets and policies
  • Sort out priority gas issues
  • Coordinate leadership on policies
  • Establish emission standards for light vehicles

Linda Condon U3APP tutor ably facilitated the seminar and managed a wide-ranging list of questions from participants. A copy of Tony Wood’s slides in PDF format is HERE.

Here is a VIDEO of the Seminar.

Report by Pam Caven, Saturday Seminars

The Picasso Century Part 1



6 AUGUST 2022

Dr Michael Adcock, social and cultural historian in the 6 August U3APP seminar, The Picasso Century gave us some wonderful tools to inform our visit to the National Gallery of Victoria’s current blockbuster exhibition.

How to capture the artistic achievements of Pablo Picasso? Michael borrowed from Winston Churchill’s description of Russia “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”.

Michael attempted to deconstruct the riddle – the child prodigy born in Barcelona, tutored by his artist father who finds his artistic flowering in turn of the century Paris. Picasso was a student of the old masters at the Louvre, drew inspiration from fellow artists, literati, street life, travel, African masks and of course collaborators and lovers. In the period covered in the seminar (1889 until 1918) Picasso’s work went through significant stages – frenzied lover of modern life, blue period, rose period, “primitive” phase, cubism. What an insight we received into this versatile, complex, and capricious great man.

Michael is keen for people to visit the Exhibition. His advice- avoid the crowds, give yourself time, if necessary, borrow an NGV folding chair.

We are indebted to Mark Denniston, U3APP member and art lover for organising and facilitating another wonderful presentation by Dr Adcock.

 A video recording of seminar is available HERE

Report by Pam Caven

Prospects for the Albanese prime ministership in a changing political landscape



20 AUGUST 2022

Living through momentous times in Australian politics

The Saturday seminar, Prospects for the Albanese Prime Ministership in a changing political landscape, as Sheila Quairney pointed out would follow a different format. It was to be a flowing conversation between James Walter and Zareh Ghazarian, chaired by Graeme Davison, all academics from Monash University.

What a conversation! Clear, insightful and evidence based. James and Zareh drawing on their considerable research. Graeme shaping and provoking the conversation.

Topics ranged from how the lessons from the Federal Election of 2019 shaped Albanese ‘s pitch as a safe pair of hands, across his agenda for change to the civility of parliament. Once in power his government was confronted by a range of challenges including the pandemic, cost of living and China/USA tensions. The Prime Minister’s first promise signalled a new social justice approach, to honour the Uluru Statement, via a referendum. The speakers surmised that this was aspirational and brave.

Labor was assisted in its recent electoral success by an Opposition with a threadbare agenda. The Liberal party is now hollowed out, not helped by the events of the last week.

A lesson the speakers took from the 2022 election was that for MPs to  succeed they need the support of their community (think Teals and independents). Party membership is faltering; city suburban/ country fault lines are fraying. The bases for the political parties are now changing. The need for a strong and well-resourced public service is evident. Voters seem to want a pragmatic and civil approach to politics. There was a certain yearning by the panelists for the promise of a leader in a black leather jacket, that didn’t eventuate.

Overall, a triumphant webinar by an impressive triumvirate.

You can view a VIDEO of Seminar here.

Report by Pam Caven, Saturday Seminars

Metaverse: the next internet



16 JULY 2022

U3APP was fortunate to have as the presenter of the July Saturday seminar Cameron Brown, co-founder, and Chief Creative Officer of Rec Room, one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential companies of 2022.

Rec Room is a leader in the burgeoning “metaverse” space – where the internet breaks free of its “text and photos” roots and embraces the immersive 3D worlds of modern video games. Cameron told us that RecRoom has 75 million users.

A veteran of twenty-eight years in developing computer applications, Cameron was the perfect presenter to trace the history of developments in the shared virtual environment. He explained the meta (after or beyond) the universe, the technology that enabled it, demystified the cloud. He introduced us to a rich and diverse world of immersive technology. Why go there? – video games, socializing, collaborating, educating. The possibilities are endless.

Such was the enthusiasm of the audience, that questions kept coming which meant that the seminar was extended by 30 minutes

Some comments from participants:

  • “That was a wonderful webinar!! Cameron was a marvellous presenter”
  • “What a great session – I timed out at 4pm but learned so much.
  • Cameron is a brilliant educator…..and such an enthusiast. It was a superbly well-structured and delivered seminar. It was also a great advertisement for U3APP and an indicator of the appetite for learning about new things from our seniors’ community.
  • Thanks to you all for being brave enough to schedule it too – a very apt departure from our normal offerings.
  • Move, Look, Do Something – maybe that should be our new slogan……I love it”

Lois Best as the mother of Cameron Brown was justifiably proud of him – mother and son in the same seminar was a first I think for our seminars. Her well-honed teacher skills were evident in her enthusiastic facilitation of the seminar.

The recording of the seminar is available HERE.

From Pam Caven

China and Australia: Problems and Prospects



18 JUNE 2022

Those who tuned into the U3APP seminar on 18 June were given a thought-provoking perspective by Professor Richard Cullen on the emergence of China as a world power and what this might mean for Australia.

Professor Cullen, renowned international scholar acknowledged that some of the territory he would cover would be contentious.

What followed was a fascinating insight into the rise of China – its deep connection to its Confucian past, its engagement with the world – its open-door policy from 1976 and its spectacular success in lifting vast numbers of its people out of poverty.

The key to China’s booming wealth according to Richard Cullen was investment in education and in infrastructure. China is expected to be the biggest economy in the world by 2030.

Inevitably this emergence of China as a dominant world power has led to changes in the world order.

Foremost is the changing and uneasy relationship with the USA.

Australia while continuing to benefit hugely from trade with China has been wary of the new assertiveness of China

Professor Cullen stressed that the Canberra- Beijing relationship should not be the same as the US- Beijing relationship. He highlighted that the USA spends nearly 3 times as much on defence as China. He reiterated that Australia had to find its own ways of working with Beijing that suited our interests and that a new Government in Australia has an opportunity for a renewed relationship. He thought that perhaps we could learn from New Zealand by keeping the batteries for the megaphone in the cupboard!

Professor Cullen’s presentation was fascinating – clear, coherent, research based and provocative. Marcel Colman proved himself again to be the consummate facilitator.

Click on this link to see a video recording of the seminar.

Pam Caven

The Story of a House: the Mary Kehoe Centre



28 MAY 2022

We all know the house at 224 Danks Street as the Mary Kehoe Community Centre. But the house, originally known as Somerset, has had quite an eventful history over its 120 years of life. Max Nankervis using much historical research gave the back story to the building we know as the Mary Kehoe Centre.

Max based his story around the lives of the Shaw family. James and his two sons in 1853 were among the many migrants from Scotland making the hazardous journey to Australia aboard sailing ships that brought huge families (few surviving to adult hood) in their quest for new lives, respectability, and a fortune.

John Shaw (son of James) and his wife Julia Osborn Payne were the first occupants of Somerset in 1902 (later the Mary Kehoe Centre). The Shaw’s story is the story of successful migrants contributing to business life in Emerald Hill including as ginger beer makers, drapers and property developers (John Shaw). They were middle class people who attended church (Baptist and Anglican) and were involved in social movements of the time such as the temperance movement (Julia)

Following the Shaw’s, the house had a rich history of owners and tenants, including the Good Shepherd sisters and finally the City of Port Phillip, the current owners.

University of the Third Age Port Phillip was given tenancy of the Mary Kehoe Centre in 2003 and has fought to keep it, but that is another story for Max Nankervis, historian, and town planner to tell on another day.

Judith Klepner, former COPP councillor and fierce advocate for the Centre, was an able facilitator.

A recording of the seminar is available HERE.

Pam Caven

French Impessionism Part 2



23 APRIL 2022

Those who tuned into U3A Port Phillip seminar on 23 April were rewarded by another brilliant presentation by Dr Michael Adcock. Michael’s erudition and his enthusiasm for the work of the French impressionists was captivating.

Building on his 2021 seminar on Impressionism and the Post Impressionists (the 2021 National Gallery of Victoria Exhibition) in this seminar, Michael brought fresh insights into the development of the movement and the role of the Parisian Salon in determining success. He explored the artists’ lives, their relationships with fellow artists and the influence on their work. All were illustrated by slides of the artists’ paintings.

Michael introduced this seminar by examining the works of a range of female artists. Their portraits were often of people they knew and were delicate and evocative. They succeeded often against the odds in a society where women were not expected to be professional artists

We were treated to an overview of some of their male contemporaries, all worthy although their art not necessarily displaying in Michael’s words “the symphonic grandeur and freedom of a Monet or Pissarro”.

Michael Adcock’s joy and love of this period of French art is infectious. Mark Denniston, an art enthusiast, facilitated the seminar with aplomb.

A recording of the seminar is available HERE.

Pam Caven

What does it take to be the Australian school of the year?



19 MARCH 2022

What a local story of national success!

Steve Cook, Principal of Albert Park College took us on the school’s  journey from 2011, a school with new students, new staff and new building and a roof that fell in with a freak storm on day one, to winner of the Australia’s best public school and Australian school of the year in 2021.

The school has grown from one campus with 150 students in 2011 to 1,600 students in 2022. Classes are now held across six campuses.

The campuses work on an open plan, open also to the Port Phillip community. All  are first class architecturally designed buildings and fit out, a source of delight for all.

And there is more to come – a new Arts precinct with the Victorian College of the Arts on the industrial site in Gasworks Park.

From its inception Steve has worked hard to integrate the school with the community

The glue however that binds the school community under Steve’s leadership is a shared sense of core values: positivity, a culture of excellence, creativity, and commonality of purpose. Steve’s expectation is that these values are shared by students, staff, and parents.

Steve is most optimistic about young people, he feels despite what could be perceived as trying times, that our future is in good hands.

Much of the webinar was conducted as a conversation. Lyn Place a U3APP tutor as the facilitator was brilliant – knowledgeable, relaxed, and entertaining.

Pam Caven

The recording of the seminar is available, click HERE

French Impressionism, featuring paintings from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston



20 NOVEMBER 2021

Dr Adcock returned to U3APP for the fourth time to present a lecture on the development of this popular art style in France that has eventually been enjoyed around the world for over 150 years.

With the intention of linking this talk to the French Impressionists Exhibition at the NGV, the Covid lockdowns ensured that for many of us it instead became our only chance to get an up-close involvement.

The talk began with the art scene current in the mid-1800s, live models, portraits or scenes representing biblical events, allegories and literary scenes.  Artworks were entered in an annual “Salon” for sale, acceptance being granted to those artists whose work complied with the general practice.

Three major technical changes however allowed artists to shun the restrictions of this process.

  1. The development of a railway system allowed painters to get out to the countryside quickly and at little expense. So subjects such as forests, beaches, boats, villages, farms, windmills and haystacks, etc., were easily accessed, and replaced the restrictions of the studio.
  2. The development of paints in screw-top tubes removed reliance on mixing powders and could be applied directly onto a canvas.
  3. The invention of photography that could capture an image for painting at a later date.

In Victoria the parallel is that same freedom allowing our own impressionists to take a train to the north-east countryside and create the works that are now revered as works of the Heidelberg School.

The influence of the art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel was highlighted for his influence in that he bought up many works of these Impressionists, selecting only the very best of those available and took them to America to be sold to institutions and private collections. A consequence of that was  partly the artists’ financial well-being, the spread of understanding of what “impressionism” was, and as a consequence, the quantity of these paintings in American galleries and private collections.

Michael then moved on to some other groups or schools of painters such as the Barbizon School with Monet, Renoir, Sisley and Bazille; and the Batignolles Group of Manet and Degas. With each he displayed appropriate works to enhance understanding.

A series of questions concluded what was an absorbing and erudite introduction to arguably the most significant period of art.

Michael has just agreed to deliver Part 2 of his presentation in February, moving into the works of later artists and the Post Impressionists, with works by Manet and Monet, the two ladies – Cassatt and Morisot – plus Cezanne, Gaugin, van Gogh and Caillebotte.
Not to be missed!
To view a recording of the seminar, click HERE.

Mark Denniston – Facilitator

How to Enrol

On-line: after bookings have opened

On-line enrolments are preferred as this significantly reduces the amount of back-office work for our volunteers.

  • Login to the U3APP.org.au website.
  • Go to the Courses & Enrolling page.
  • Scroll down to find the course that you are interested in.
  • Does the course have spaces available?
    • Click on the course name to go to the booking page.
    • Click on “Book for this course or event”.
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  • OR is the course shown as FULL?
    • Click on WAITLIST.

Paper Enrolment Form: before bookings open for First Semester

  • Obtain a paper Enrolment Form either from the Office or by printing an online copy available here.
  • Complete the paper Enrolment Form and submit it to the Office.

The start date for acceptance of paper Enrolment Forms for first semester is published on the U3APP website and in the e-Bulletin. Enrolment Forms received before this date are treated as though they had been received on the start date (ie there is no advantage to be gained by submitting early). On the start date and thereafter, paper Enrolment Forms are numbered in order of receipt.  Paper Enrolment forms are processed by U3APP volunteers on the same day as on-line bookings.

If your enrolment is successful, you will receive a confirmation email.  Please check your Junk/Spam folders as these automatically-generated emails often finish up there.

If your enrolment is unsuccessful,  you will receive an email telling you that you have been waitlisted.

Via the Office: after bookings have opened

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