To the Beach in the media
Mayor Brad Pettitt has launched a topical new book by Thor Kerr in Fremantle. To the Beach: Community Conservation and its Role in Sustainable Development is a compelling account of events around a proposed coastal property development that shook the public, transforming Fremantle's political landscape.
Among the many media, cultural and literary studies scholars at the launch on 16 September, Suvendrini Perera said the book contributed to understandings of conflicts around development, environmentalism, heritage and local politics: 'Thor Kerr provides a heady analysis of the volatile swirl of sentiment, advertising, politics, activism and sheer opportunism that determined the outcome of a key development in Fremantle'.
Away from the event, Nirmal Kishnani of the National University of Singapore said To The Beach was a compelling read for the light it shed on process, for the questions it raised about how we define sustainability, and 'for its page-turning writing style'.
From the University of Otago, Vijay Devadas said the work stimulated a rethinking of our relationships to the environment and 'larger questions around neoliberalism, democracy, civic participation, politics and resistance'.
The launch was moderated by Christina Lee of Curtin University's Department of Communication and Cultural Studies with sponsorship from UWA Publishing.
Following the launch, Thor was a member of a panel banned from speaking at the Ubud International Writers and Readers Festival. Thor’s panel had been scheduled to discuss a local social movement responding to a controversial plan to reclaim 700 hectares of Benoa Bay, Bali, for an integrated tourist resort.
The festival committee announced the panel’s cancellation several days after it had given into police pressure and banned all events reflecting on the 50th anniversary of the 1965 massacres in Indonesia.