Cultural Collisions: Mavericks collide for festival first

Cultural collisions
Percy Grainger: The Accidental Futurist. Photo by Peter Casamento

Eight-time Edinburgh Festival Director Sir Jonathan Mills has devised and curated an entire precinct of the Melbourne Festival in collaboration with academics and students from the University of Melbourne.

Cultural Collisions, the campus-wide program reflecting Mr Mills’s passion for music and architecture, is built around the work and ideas of Melbourne pianist and composer Percy Grainger (a graduate of the University) and the visionary American architects Walter Burley Griffin and Marian Mahony Griffin.

A University of Melbourne Vice Chancellor’s Fellow, Mr Mills said the program featured 10 events at some of the University’s most important sites and using state-of-the-art visual technologies.

“The famous Newman College dome, a building the Griffins designed, will be the location for performances of Ethereal Eye, my musical homage to the Griffins’ architecture and ideas,” Mr Mills said.

“The University and its collections are as important to Australia and Melbourne as Oxford, Yale or Harvard are to their communities, it is an environment that allows exciting ideas such those of Grainger and the Griffins to flourish,” he said.

University of Melbourne Vice-Principal (Engagement) Adrian Collette said the program has great relevance to the University of Melbourne, with the work of all three artists well represented on the campus itself.

“When Jonathan came to me with this idea, saying it was something only the University of Melbourne could do, I thought it was perfect; that the maverick imaginations of people so strongly linked to the University and ahead of their time could bring the community together on campus for such a special event,” he said.

Cultural Collisions is a precinct of the Melbourne Festival at the University of Melbourne’s Parkville campus and runs from 6-23 October.