What to watch and read this summer

As we race towards the end of 2023, many of us are looking forward to a break from our regular working days. Whether you’re planning on spending some relaxation time at the beach, under a shady tree or at home on the couch, consider checking out a book, movie or talk that one of your fellow alumni have created.

What to watch


Directed by Scott Hicks (BA(Hons)’75, DLitt ’07) and produced by Kerry Heysen (BA(Hons)’75, DLitt ’22), The Musical Mind explores the remarkable ability of four extraordinary musicians to channel their unique instincts and individual neurodiversity into sublime musical creations, unlocking profound emotion through the borderless language of music. In cinemas now.

Lucid Dreaming is the result of Tom Young’s (BA’05, BCreatArts(Hons)’07,  MCreatArts ’08, PhD(EHLT) ’13) 100 Day Film project, in which he set himself the challenge of making a feature film in 100 days (on a $20K budget!). This film involved many Flinders students and alumni. If you’re curious to watch the movie and learn more, check out Tom’s 100 Day Film website, which has an excellent series of short videos about the process.

Simon Williams (BCreatArts ’10) and Brendon Skinner (BCreatArts ’10) of Gravity Films recently released The Last Daughter. Brenda’s first memories were of growing up in a loving white foster family, before she was suddenly taken away and returned to her Aboriginal family. Decades later, she feels disconnected from both halves of her life. But the traumas of her past do not lie quietly buried. In this moving documentary we follow Brenda’s journey to unearth the truth about her past, and to reconcile the two sides of her family. Along the way she uncovers long-buried secrets, government lies, and the possibility for deeper connections to family and culture. Available on Netflix.



Dr Robyn Archer AO (DUniversity’91) is one of Australia’s greatest cultural treasures, she is a singer, writer, stage director, artistic director, and public advocate of the arts, nationally and globally. Robyn Archer’s Oration will bring not just a perspective from a career spanning more than sixty years, but also some considered gazing at the role the arts might play in influencing futures beyond just the arts.

Flinders Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Sarah Brown AM (GradDipHlthAdmin ’15) delivers the College of Nursing and Health Sciences inaugural Joan Durdin AM Oration. Titled “The challenges and joy of being a disrupter: how nurses can help change the world (or at least their little bit of it).” Sarah Brown is CEO of the Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation, commonly referred to as the Purple House. In the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours, she was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to community health, remote area nursing, and to the Indigenous community.

Flinders Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Leanne Liddle (LLB/LP (GradEntry) ’04) delivered this year’s College of Medicine and Public Health John Chalmers Oration, “Why a dose of accountability is needed to close the gap.” It’s time for greater accountability to ensure that the policies, programs and initiatives targeting Aboriginal Australia achieve and deliver what they are intended to do — improve and transform lives.

Dive into the thought-provoking discussion between South Australian artists James Tylor and Laura Wills and Flinders University Museum of Art (FUMA) Collections Curator, Nic Brown. Together, they explore the artists collaborative mixed-media series The Forgotten Wars (2019), illuminating their approaches to collaboration and individual perspectives. This event was programmed for FUMA’s exhibition New Acquisitions / New Perspectives (2023) which featured the recently acquired series The Forgotten Wars (2019).



Be/ginning – Flinders University Drama Centre Graduating Actors 2023 Showcase is a special presentation of new works-in-progress by the next generation of South Australian performers, as they begin their stories, creating original narratives that redefine identity for a new age.


What to read


Alfie the Brave and Dr Richard Harris OAM

Alfie the Brave is a charming picture book about how bravery doesn’t always come naturally, from Dr Richard ‘Harry’ Harris OAM (BM, BS ’89, DUniversity ’19), a key member of the international cave-diving group who rescued the Wild Boar soccer team in Thailand. Illustrated by the talented Simon Howe, who perfectly captures the emotional ups and downs of the adorable and expressive Alfie.

Graduate Bronwyn Saunders (BJusSoc, LLB/LP ’03) has released a non-fiction picture book following the giant footsteps of a Diprotodon through the Ice Age. Brought to life through fabulous illustrations and advised scientifically by Flinders Professor Rod Wells AM, Diptrotodon: A Megafauna Journey is available through CSIRO Publishing.




Flinders’ never-ending pursuit of knowledge shines through in the 2023 Encounter magazine, featuring stories on current areas of University growth, research that is out of this world, milestones for invaluable student centres, and the creation of student opportunities through industry partnerships.

In One Life, Three Countries we read about Otto Gaczol who’s life was profoundly shaped by World War 2. As an ethnic German boy who grew-up in pre-war Poland, he lived through the Nazi occupation just 30 kilometres away from Auschwitz and then, in January 1945, fled west as a 14-year-old refugee when the Red Army turned the tide against the Wehrmacht and made its way to Berlin. Written by his son, Andrew Gazcol (BA(Hons)’96, PhD(SS) ’00), Otto’s remarkable story serves to remind us of that period of great suffering and upheaval that occurred just one human lifetime ago.

Two Tongue World is a richly evocative collection of poems by the Greek/Australian poet and graduate Maria Koukouvas (BEd(Sec)(GradEntry)’09, GradDipCreatArts ’20). Sub titled, The Diaspora Dialogues, the poems are a dialogue between past and present, between the cultures of origin and upbringing, between the generations of a family.



As the Twig is Bent, so Grows the Tree by David Wattchow ( BM, BS ’80, PhD(Med)’89, CUniversity ’16) is a history of the Flinders University Medical School and Flinders Medical Centre, told from Davod’s perspective as one of the inaugural medical students and a consultant surgeon. Available at Booktopia, Amazon and Angus & Robertson.

In Viking Women, Lisa Hannett (BA(Hons)’03, PhD(EHLT) ’11) lifts the veil on the untold stories of wives and mothers, girls and slaves, widows and witches who sailed, settled, suffered, survived – and thrived – in a society that largely catered to and memorialised men. Hannett presents the everyday experiences of a compelling cast of women, all of whom are resourceful and petty, hopeful and jealous, and as fabulous and flawed as we are today.

Sill looking for something that grabs you? Check out the history and historical fiction books on the Flinders Book Club page.



Adventures in Gut Neuroscience, a biography by Marcello Costa, retired Neuroscientist and Matthew Flinders Distinguished Emeritus Professor. Available as an e-book on Booktopia and Amazon, paperback available from Wakefield Press.

Professor Cassandra Szoeke’s (BM, BS(GradEntry) ’99) book Secrets of Women’s Healthy Ageing draws on the findings of the longest running study of women’s health in Australia. Covering brain, heart and gut health, diet, sleep, exercise, and the benefits of socialising Cassandra shares the wisdom revealed by this comprehensive study, showing how to promote overall wellness and providing the key ingredients for living a long and healthy life.

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