Castlemaine Free University (CFU) is a forum for discussing contemporary issues of special interest for those living in Mount Alexander Shire and Central Victoria more generally. Feel free to jump to the EVENTS detailed below or read more about CFU.
We are generously supported by Northern Arts Hotel, our regular venue located at 359 Barker Street, Castlemaine.
We meet on the first Monday every month from February through to December at 7pm. Our speakers don’t get any payment so sometimes we vary the time to suit their other commitments.
We open the doors at at 6.45pm. No bookings: first in, first serviced. We try and fit in as many people as possible but follow Covid-19 and the venue’s seating limits.
We listen to a diversity of views but general values are oriented around environmental sustainability and social justice, principles of utmost importance for addressing key issues of our times.
We run money-free events except for paying for Northern Arts Hotel drinks and matter (books, CDs) our speakers offer.
We are a freely associated network that values individual and collective autonomy. There is no membership but you can get onto our emailing list or offer suggestions for speakers and topics by emailing Anitra at this site (see to the right).
Watch this space and our FB page for news on recent and up-and-coming events.
2 August 2021 — Salsa and Society: Part 2 – Cuba CANCELLED DUE TO RESTRICTIONS
Come along once again to hear and engage with Dr Ralph Newmark on the history of music and food in Latin America, specifically Cuba as a way to understand political, economic, cultural, and social change in the region. Enjoy ‘history through music and food’ and participate in the Q&A.
WHO? — Honorary Fellow, University of Melbourne (Spanish and Latin American Studies, School of Languages and Linguistics, Dr Ralph Newmark is an historian and past Director of the Institute of Latin American Studies at La Trobe University in Melbourne (ILAS, 2008–2020). A media regular, discussing Latin American affairs, he presents a 3CR radio program on the history and music of Latin America and the Caribbean. Download flyer — CFU2August2021.
Where and how do images and social change intersect? Michelle Dunn talks about her photography (and film making) practice and the ways we interpret and take photos in our everyday life.
WHO? Michelle Dunn is a professional photographer and filmmaker and social change advocate, find out more here
7 June 2021 — Central Highlands Mutual Aid Mapping project
Hear about the Central Highlands Mutual Aid Mapping project, a work-in-progress showing all kinds of local production and support services you can access. Think local markets, enterprises, associations and cooperatives showing us the possibilities of collectively sustaining ourselves. Engage with the panel on how you might participate in developing the map and use it in everyday life.
WHO? Brasilian academic and consultant Mirella Gavidia, who grows food and regenerates Dja Dja Wurrung country; Ellen Madigan, who grows, caters, researches and advises on food; Karl Fitzgerald, instigator of the Central Victoria Mutual Aid Mapping project and Director of Advocacy, Prosper Australia; Ian Lillington, permaculture practitioner, teacher and writer
3 May 2021 — Tango, Samba, Salsa & Society: A History of Latin America through Music and Food
WHAT? — Hear and engage with Dr Ralph Newmark on the history of music and food in Latin America as a way to understand political, cultural, economic and social change in the region. Come and enjoy ‘history through music and food’ and participate in the Q&A.
In this talk Ralph explores the political, economic, social and cultural themes in Latin American history. Tango is employed to analyse Argentina, Samba to understand Brazil, and Son/Salsa to examine Cuba. The history of Latin Americans in the United States and its foreign policy in Latin America are investigated along with the most important challenges of the 21st century: globalisation, neo-liberalism, persistent poverty, conflict, racism, sexism and environmental degradation.
WHO? — Dr Ralph Newmark is an historian, past Director of the Institute of Latin American Studies at La Trobe University in Melbourne (ILAS, 2008–2020) and a media regular, discussing Latin American affairs, he presents a 3CR radio program on the history and music of Latin America and the Caribbean.
1 March 2021 — CFU LAUNCH EVENT — Community Voice
WHAT? — Nikki Marshall, Patrick Jones and Councillor Jen Bray on Community Voice, which started in 2020 to promote participatory democracy in Hepburn Springs Shire talked about their experiences, visions and achievements. An idea for Mount Alexander Shire? Come along and participate in Q&A.
WHO? — Among a plethora of other activities, Nikki Marshall edits the monthly Localising Leanganook newsletter, Patrick Jones and his family are pioneering ‘neo-peasant’ lifestyles locally, and Jen Bray has just become one of the two new councillors for Birch ward in Hepburn Springs.
Download flyer, with more details, here