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Burg Arts Update | Semester 2 2021

There we were, hundreds of ressies filling the sidebar squares of a Zoom call as the main screen showed a group of 2H inhabitants dancing to a parody of Mamma Mia, singing, “Quarantine/Here we go again…” It was a strange and wonderful semester for the arts, with Burgmann’s endless capacity do adapt and find the fun in any situation shining through. This particular evening was the night of Burgovision: a new annual song contest where each floor represents a European country. The contestants shot their music videos during their permitted one hour of exercise, and after a tight vote, the prize of a bowling pin went to 1H – the reigning champions!

There were two weeks at the start of the semester before lockdown began, where we had our one in-person Interhall Arts Committee (IAC) event, Public Speaking. Our speakers talked about time travel, the arts, and the value of education. The next event was Creative Writing and the Art Show, which presented a wonderful display of Burgmann’s artistic ability. The artworks included a sculpture paying homage to rural life and Wiradjuri country, lead pencil portrait of a younger sibling, and a graphic design of faces defined by the words “groovy, snazzy, and funky”.

The next online IAC event was Poetry Slam, where poets from all colleges and halls were able to perform in front of a packed Zoom audience. Burgmann came second thanks to two beautifully performed poems – one delving into the dysmorphia of looking at one’s body in the mirror and the other expressing the confusing standards of beauty and race. Finally, the last IAC for the year was the Spelling Bee, and while our spellers were knocked out halfway through, they must be commended for their attempt at spelling “idiosyncrasy”.

When the lockdown was at its most grueling, the arts at Burg was in its best form. From painting over Zoom, to “debating” competitions where debators were asked “who would be better on a night out, Bob Hawke or Malcolm Fraser?”, to a weekly trivia night.

This year’s E M Cumming Essay prize was based on the Book of Ruth from the Bible. Essayists read their pieces out and there was an exemplary display of conceptual diversity. There was a story written from different perspectives on the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima, an essay comparing the harmful standards of masculine success in the Book of Ruth and Legally Blonde, as well as odes to the environment. And while it isn’t a true year in the arts without the Burg Play and BNO, both teams were painstakingly close to their final performances and are raring to go for 2022.

Arts gave me and many others in the community something to look forward to at a time where college life was a shadow of what we all knew it to be. It was truly special to witness a group of young adults get around and support each other and come together for whatever part of the arts tickled their fancy.

Poppy Thomson & Will Salkeld
Arts Reps

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Sculpture Kate Rice Unravelling Boundaries, (2020)
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Graphic design Stella Wadeson The Faces I’ve Swiped On, (2021)
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Portrait Ruby Kate Little Big Brother, (2020)
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