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Presentation: Regenerating Politics with Glenda Cloughley

  • Sydney mechanics School of Arts 280 Pitt Street Sydney, NSW, 2000 Australia (map)

YOUNG GREAT-GRANDMOTHER (singing to her baby, c. 1914):
            Threads of memory and dream
            I’ll spin for you
            In night’s black and silver mantle
            We’ll sound the round from death to birth …

                –– from The Canticle of Night, A Passion for Peace

Join us for an evening of lively stories and observations about the renewal of cultural health that still happens when the mystery of regeneration bursts into political life.  
Like many politically potent citizen-based actions for the good, Glenda Cloughley’s Canberra tales are powered by lullaby, lament, longing, and other forms of love.  Most are stories she has told with the group A Chorus of Women, who began 13 years ago when 150 individual Canberra women gathered in Parliament House and sang a lament for the people of Iraq as the Australian Government declared war.  All Glenda’s stories are varieties of that ‘unending myth of death and rebirth’, which C G Jung described as ‘the story of mankind’ in his first publication about archetypal collective dynamics, written during the horrific final months of the First World War.

In the first year of that war, a worldwide web of more than 2000 mostly unenfranchised women from warring and neutral nations enacted one of the 20th century’s most vivid versions of the regeneration myth. The main focus of the evening belongs to them, for they organised the only international peace conference of the war on the principle that ‘Peace is not merely an absence of war.  Peace is the nurture of life.’  The psychodynamic story of their values, relationships and practical wisdom makes an inspiring case study in creative methods that are relevant to people-powered movements at work in current crises.  Against all odds and ignored by military historians, their 1915 International Congress of Women in The Hague set a 100-year agenda for European unity and international peace, law and human rights in the same week as the Anzac forces’ Gallipoli landings.  Their envoys discussed the Congress resolutions with more world leaders than anyone else saw in the four years of the war. The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – the world’s oldest international women’s organization – was founded at the Congress. And Congress leaders Jane Addams and Emily Greene Balch were awarded Nobel Peace Prizes.

Glenda will introduce us to these and other inspiring women she discovered in researching “The Forgotten Congress” for her 2015 community oratorio A Passion for Peace. With a few poetic passages from the Passion libretto and performance video clips, she will trace the regenerative cyclical movements of ‘Mothertime’ in psyches and social groups that are governed by regenerative dynamics. And she will distinguish those from the sterile linear motions of the ‘Traumatime’ stories that tens of thousands of Anzacs brought home from war.

A Chorus of Women staged the premiere season of A Passion for Peace as a life-bringing, balancing narrative to the Gallipoli commemorations in Canberra’s Albert Hall on the centenary of the Women’s Congress last year. The production, with a cast of 110 adults and children, was directed by Johanna McBride and supported by the ACT Arts Fund, the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, and the embassies of six European nations and New Zealand.

Dr Glenda Cloughley is a Canberra-based Jungian analyst and musician who believes that the arts are potent vehicles for necessary social change. She sings with A Chorus of Women and has composed a large body of poetic lyrics and music to retell some of the great teaching stories of the Western tradition and resound the participative democratic voice of the citizens chorus.  Glenda has an academic background in Social Ecology and Cultural Psychology, and has given conference papers and public lectures in Australia and overseas about the enculturation of trauma and pathways to cultural wellbeing –– often combined with the performance of original music. Glenda was an Adjunct Lecturer in the Master of Analytical Psychology program at the University of Western Sydney, teaching the subject Madness and Culture.  This background combined with her previous work as a journalist and public affairs and management consultant helped her to imagine and initiate the ‘Lament’, a song that wanted to be sung by many Australians in 2003 as our government was committing to war in Iraq.

Date: 9th September 2016
Time: 7:00pm to 8:30pm
Venue: Mitchell Theatre Level 1 Sydney Mechanics' School
of Arts, 280 Pitt St, Sydney
Cost: Members $15 Non-Members $25 Non-Member
Concession $20

Preferred payment by Cash or Cheque. No need to book.
Just pay at the door. Everybody welcome.

*Psychotherapists and other practitioners can obtain credit for Professional Development hours recognised by CAPA, PACFA and ACA for this presentation.