Throughout my life, I have made a career change each decade.
In the 1990s I was an architect.
I became an architectural historian after obtaining a PhD in 2000.
For most of the 2010s I was a travelling conference presenter, with two international books.
Then 2019 saw me build a career around my love of photography, fashion, and water.
The cumulative effect of these roles, is a unique set of concerns, embedded in every piece offered.
Before I started Pride, I had written two books for architects and city planners, about bicycle transport. The first, Cycle Space, sold so well I left academia to co-found an NGO, called Cyclespace (now BYCS), in Amsterdam. By 2018 I had advised cities and given keynotes all over the world.
They were wonderful times, and would have been perfect, except that I was Australian, and people preferred having someone who was Dutch telling them about bicycle transport. To win more commissions, I was hiding the truth that I lived in Australia, not Amsterdam.
I know exactly where I was, the moment shame turned to national pride. I was swimming in the Australian pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale. How could I have been swimming? That year the pavilion housed a free public pool, the kind we all take for granted when we live here.
This was it! If the world looked to the Netherlands for cycling (the way it looks to America for movies, Norway for skiing... etc.) it looked to Australia for swimming!
It wasn’t long before I was reading about Annette Kellerman who inspired women all over the world to ditch pantaloons for what they wear now. When I looked to see how we fair in competitive swimming, I found Australia wins seven times more Olympic medals, on a per capita basis, than the stars of the show, the US.
While I still contribute the occasional chapter to new books on bike transport, that chapter of my life has now closed. I founded Pride in 2019, with the aim of celebrating something Australians can really be proud of. Swim culture was our contribution to the Modernist project, and Australian-made swimwear has always been the best in the world.
(By applying architectural principles to its design, I can make it even better, I've found.)
You might think after that, that the name Pride is a reference to national pride. It's not. Neither does it refer to gay pride. Both are just fortunate accidents.
The name refers to the pride we take in ourselves, every time we brave up and dive in. Within the word Pride, is the word ride; I might have stopped preaching about it, but I do still believe in bike transport.