No one gets excited about jellyfish quite like Dr Lisa-Ann Gershwin. Get to know these magical creatures and what they reveal about the future of our oceans, in this live recording from ANTIDOTE 2018. She was in conversation with ABC Radio National's Natasha Mitchell. Listen to more Talks & Ideas from Sydney Opera House at sydneyoperahouse.com/ideas
Disabled people are skilled at harnessing the intuitive creativity cultivated by navigating a world not built for them. Join Liz Jackson as she reveals how this insight offers opportunities for design and innovation. Liz Jackson was with Fenella Kernebone at ANTIDOTE 2018. More talks at sydneyoperahouse.com/ideas
The relentless pursuit of profit has had serious consequences for our world. This live recording from ANTIDOTE 2018 features award-winning writer, activist and academic Raj Patel, in an event called Smashing Capitalism for Beginners. Through his many books and experience working within many of the organisations responsible for upholding capitalist values, Patel explores how we can disrupt the systems from within. Join him for an exhilarating tour through the history of capitalism in a visionary ...more
At ANTIDOTE 2018, American writer David Niewart, Australian journalist Jeff Sparrow and British writer Ed Husain came together for an event called Fringe Dwellers and Fanatics. They had a robust discussion about the ways that extremist ideologies are influencing western governments, including Australia. They're joined by the Saturday Paper editor Maddison Connaughton to consider where this might be dragging the centre of global political debate. Watch more from the festival at youtube.com/ideasa...more
Sisonke Msimang is a bold voice speaking to race, politics, feminism and activism. Msimang's memoir, Always Another Country, tackles the slippery definition of home. Throughout her life she has been haunted by an imaginary homeland. With great poetry, Msimang uses her personal experiences to examine philosophical and existential questions about how race and gender can impact identity and belonging. She was in conversation with Edwina Throsby at ANTIDOTE 2018. More talks at sydneyoperahouse.com/i...more
Australian Legal scholar Megan Davis, American writer Ta-Nehisi Coates and South African writer Sisonke Msimang consider the bitter legacies of colonialism, which have played out across the histories of all of their countries. Host of the popular podcast It's Not A Race Beverley Wang chairs this discussion about the long-term implications of dispossession, institutionalised racism and white privilege. Listen to more from ANTIDOTE 2018 at sydneyoperahouse.com/ideas
Islam is often reduced to fear-ridden cliches by western media: sensational headlines and inflammatory comments spark hostility, while the actual lives of many contemporary Muslims are ignored or misunderstood. After rejecting religious extremism as a young man, Ed Husain now defines himself as a moderate Muslim, and works advising governments and leaders on how to deal with radicalisation in their communities. He was in conversation with journalist Fauziah Ibrahim at ANTIDOTE 2018. More from AN...more
What role does architecture play in creating a national identity? Marwa Al Sabouni reflects on the importance of architecture at both a physical and a psychological level. At ANTIDOTE 2018 she spoke about her book The Battle for Home, which features her personal experience living through the Syrian war, and the devastation of her home city - Homs. Listen to her fascinating conversation with journalist Fauziah Ibrahim on the challenges, opportunities and possibilities that have come out of rebui...more
Recorded live at ANTIDOTE 2018, this episode features a session that embodied all the festival stands for. Three great thinkers in their fields were challenged to share Three Ways to Save the World. In this panel, environmentalist Jonathan Drori, designer Liz Jackson and economist Raj Patel discuss what’s going on in the world right now, what we could be doing better, and how to get started. They’re joined by researcher Rebecca Huntley for a challenging yet productive look at how we how we can c...more
Maureen Dowd is notorious for her searing commentary on American politics. A columnist for The New York Times since 1983, she’s covered nine presidential elections, including those involving Reagan, both Bushes, Clintons Bill and Hillary, Obama, and of course Donald Trump. She was in conversation with her friend and fellow journalist Julia Baird. This episode is hosted by Edwina Throsby. Please note that this episode contains mention of sexual assault. - Show notes: Watch the video of this talk ...more
"Dehumanisation is the essential program of the radical right." David Neiwert believes that the so-called “alt-right” of right-wing populists in America has been born of a toxic mix of factors: mainstream conservatives unifying with the racist far-right; a young, media-savvy generation of online white supremacists, and forces in the right-wing media feeding hostility. Throw in the historical strains of xenophobia, racism, misogyny and resentment, and you've got yourself a cultural phenomenon. D...more
August 2018 was an astonishing time in Australian politics. Yet another leadership spill consumed the national media, confusing and infuriating voters and leaving us with another new prime minister. With eerie foresight the ANTIDOTE 2018 lineup featured an event with three of Australia’s leading reporters: Stop Blaming Political Media. Talking #libspill, Dutton, Turnbull and whether Australian democracy has a fighting chance are Phil Coorey, Niki Savva and Peter Hartcher. They're joined by host...more
Assessing what has really happened in a conflict was once close to impossible, but Human Rights Watch’s Joshua Lyons is using technology in new ways, to reveal the truth in war. Gathering and analysing video imagery from satellites, drones and even social media, he is able to sort truth from propaganda and his work helps expose human rights abuses, and bring perpetrators to justice. At ANTIDOTE 2018 he gave an insight into the methodology of Human Rights Watch (HRW) investigations. He was in con...more
Chelsea Manning is known internationally for leaking hundreds of thousands of top secret US military documents to Wikileaks in 2010. Her voice was an important addition to 2018 ANTIDOTE lineup of international changemakers and action-takers. But her path to the Sydney Opera House was not straightforward and she ended up appearing via satellite from Los Angeles. Listen back to the event now exactly as it unfolded at the festival, which starts with an introduction by Edwina Throsby, Head of Talks ...more
American writer and author Ta-Nehisi Coates is best known for the New York Times bestseller Between the World and Me which created a unique blend of reportage, historical analysis and personal narrative. As national correspondent for The Atlantic he has established himself as a major force in American intellectual life, and is one of the most influential essayist on race, culture and politics writing today. He also writes on the Marvel Comics Black Panther series, and scored a credit on the bloc...more
Kicking off the first podcast from ANTIDOTE 2018 is the recording of our opening night event, Finding the Truth with Ronan Farrow. One of the most famous journalists in the world today, his work over the last 12 months for the New Yorker has been integral to the #metoo movement. As a result in part of his reporting multiple powerful men have been held to account, and millions of women have found a voice to call for a stop to sexual harassment and violence. He has also written extensively about p...more
All About Women is a space to come together to talk about the issues and concerns facing people everywhere. And in 2018, the festival couldn’t ignore the fact that one of the most powerful men in the world has a very troubling public attitude towards women. To that end, the festival included a panel called Grabbing Back: Women Age of Trump, which was a chance to assess the impact of the administration on women and the feminist movement worldwide. It featured legendary writer Fran Lebowitz, Franc...more
Climate change is often spoken about as an abstract problem. Used as a political device by people far removed from the day-to-day reality of rising waters and increasing temperatures, conversations about global warming can often feel distant from our daily lives. At All About Women 2018, we invited two warriors for climate justice to share their experiences of what is happening right now in our world. In a panel called Disappearing Islands, acclaimed spoken-word poet Kathy Jetnil Kijiner from Ma...more
War is often regarded as primarily a male domain, and yet its impact can hit women the hardest. It’s often their role to keep families together as they’re fleeing from conflict zones, and it’s women’s bodies that are most vulnerable to the weaponised use of sexual violence. Wai Wai Nu is a Rohingya human rights lawyer who is advocating for the rights of women in her community. In this session she’s joined by Emma Hogan, the South East Asian correspondent for the Economist, and Nicola Henry, an a...more
Podcasting has allowed more and more feminist voices around the world a platform to be centred, heard and celebrated. And as part of All About Women 2018, we invited some of the finest podcasters around to record live episodes at the festival. Of course, this had to include the wildly popular Guilty Feminist podcast, and its host comedian Deborah Frances-White brought the laughs and the politics to the festival. Along with co-host Geraldine Hickey, special guests Myf Warhurst and Tracey Spicer, ...more
In September 2017, the Saudi Arabian government announced it was lifting its long-standing ban on women driving cars. The decision was an historic milestone for Saudi women’s rights, and reflected a growing women’s movement in the region. The Right to Drive campaign was begun by the Saudi engineer, writer and activist Manal al-Sharif, and today’s podcast is an extract of her presentation at All About Women 2018. Watch more from the festival on our Youtube channel.
Since #metoo blew up at the end of 2017, feminists around the world are hungry to mobilse, so at All About Women 2018, we thought we ought to offer some hands-on advice. What better thing to do than to program a session full of optimistic yet practical suggestions on how we might finally smash the patriarchy. The Guardian’s Van Badham chairs this uplifting, funny and practical discussion with best-selling author Barbara Kingsolver, writer and activist Manal al-Sharif and local feminist legend Cl...more
Intersectionality is the buzzword of contemporary feminism. But in focussing on issues of race, class and sexuality, disability often gets forgotten. In a panel at All About Women 2018, three radical speakers discussed how being disabled raises a whole lot of unique issues that directly affect their feminism. NDIS campaigner Samantha Connor, writer and performer Kath Duncan and artist, activist and writer Katharine Annear were joined by session chair Van Badham, for a rowdy discussion on why dis...more
American writer Kate Bolick’s blockbuster Atlantic article, ‘All the Single Ladies’ examined the the remarkable demographic shift away from marriage, and grappled with what resisting the intense social pressure to couple means for women. Now, her book Spinster combines memoir, feminist theory, cultural criticism and sharp historical research. At All About Women 2018, she took to the stage with moderator Jess Scully for a brazenly political and deeply personal discussion about the opportunities o...more
With a resume that includes coining the term ‘third wave’, and is filled in by multiple memoirs, essay collections and a novel, Rebecca Walker’s career is force of intellectual, intersectional thought. At All About Women 2018 she spoke with Edwina Throsby about beauty and all our preconceptions about it in relation to society, history and ourselves. Listen as she poses the challenge: how do we rethink beauty so that it becomes an act of resistance? Watch more from the festival on Youtube.
At All About Women 2018, conversations about feminism were opened up beyond the gender binary to create a truly inclusive festival for everyone who wants to challenge patriarchal structures. In a panel called Trans Like Me, English writer and musician CN Lester, local broadcaster and musician Eddie Ayres, and comedy legend Jordan Raskopoulous came together to look at how trans politics intersects with feminism. This session was chaired by the head of Transgender Victoria, Sally Goldner. Watch mo...more
Mandy Len Catron's 2015 article for the New York Times Modern Love Column 'To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This' examined whether there is scientific reasoning behind romantic connection. Her consequent memoir, How To Fall In Love With Anyone, used the article as a springboard to discuss intimacy, chemistry, vulnerability and cultural myths about relationships. She joined Clementine Ford at All About Women 2018 to unpack the science of attraction. See more from All About Women 2018 on Youtube...more
Barbara Kingsolver visited Australia for the first time for All About Women 2018. In a candid discussion with Margaret Throsby, she takes us from her early days as a scientist and a poet to the peak of her career as the writer of bestselling novels including The Poisonwood Bible. She shares her love for the natural world and quickly reveals her knack for local lingo, in this completely charming session. Watch the full video and more from All About Women 2018 at youtube.com/ideasatthehouse.
It’s been 100 years since suffragettes won the right for some privileged Englishwomen to vote, and this anniversary got us thinking about the milestones of feminism across time. At All About Women 2018 we invited four speakers to reflect on what feminism has achieved and what is still to be done in a panel called From Suffragettes to Social Media. We were joined by historian Barbara Caine who spoke to the First Wave, iconic Second-waver Anne Summers, Rebecca Walker shared her insights on the Thi...more
This week's episode is another live recording from All About Women, where speakers from across the world spent the day having robust discussions about feminism, identity and culture. And who better to weigh in on all things cultural than New York icon, writer and commentator Fran Lebowitz. A fixture on US late-night TV, Lebowitz brought her unique brand of devastating wit to Sydney for the first time. In this hilarious and strangely philosophical conversation, which covers technology, Trump, #me...more
This week's episode is another live recording from All About Women 2018. It was impossible to have an event about issues facing women without addressing #metoo. For us it was important to recognise that even though it was events in Hollywood that turned the hashtag into a global phenomenon, sexual harassment and assault are commonly faced by all women. We were very pleased to welcome, via satellite from LA just ahead of her appearance at the Oscars, the woman who founded #metoo all the way back ...more
At All About Women 2018 we played host to some of the most amazing feminist thinkers both local and international, who spoke about gender identity, love, race, disability and much more. In addition to our regular talks and panel discussions, for the first time we hosted a podcast hub. Kicking off the recordings from the festival is a special live episode of BuzzFeed’s Pretty for An Aboriginal podcast. Hosts Miranda Tapsell and Nakkiah Lui were joined by actor Shari Sebbins to talk about the powe...more
This all-star panel from All About Women 2015 tackles the question 'how to be a feminist'. In times when the term has expanded to encompass intersectional feminism, this panel asks not only what the label now means, but whether it is necessary. With Clementine Ford, Roxane Gay, Celeste Liddle, Germaine Greer, Tara Moss and Anita Sarkeesian. Chaired by Geraldine Doogue.
In 2013, Hanna Rosin published The End of Men and the Rise of Women, a look at women's success in the economy after the global recession. Talking motherhood, careers and sex, she took to the stage at 2013's Festival of Dangerous Ideas, optimistically suggesting that with our financial successes, the demise of the patriarchy was imminent. Now the host of NPR's Invisibilia, we revisit her talk to see what is the same and what has changed for working women in the past five years. Session chair: Jul...more
Over the next few weeks we will be rebroadcasting some of the best talks from the Ideas at the House archives. This week, writer and activist Naomi Klein who took to the Concert Hall stage at Festival of Dangerous Ideas. Her presentation on capitalism and the climate is just as relevant as it was in 2015. Klein has long been a warrior for our climate, and here she argues that complicity in capitalism is just as responsible for the destruction of our planet as big business and government. But, a...more
Over the next few weeks we will be rebroadcasting episodes from the Ideas at the House archives. In the wake of Australia Day, we’ve found ourselves thrust into yet another conversation about whether Australians are racist, so it's a good time to revisit this event from the 2012 Festival of Dangerous Ideas. Listen to actor Alec Doomadgee, journalists Joe Hildebrand and Randa Abdel Fattah as they jump right into this ever heated debate about whether All Australians are racist. The session is chai...more
On the occasion of her latest book At My Table: A Celebration of Home Cooking, we were delighted to welcome Nigella Lawson back to the Concert Hall stage. Encouraging everyone to enjoy the comfort food provides, Nigella has made her way into the hearts of the public with her charming manner and scrumptious turn of phrase. That’s what Nigella is all about—feeling good, enjoying food and the company food brings. Tuck into this hour delightful conversation with SBS Food Safari’s Maeve O’Meara, cove...more
The very gracious and eloquent Janet Mock talks about her life, activism and writing in this essential session about the power of storytelling. She reflects on her journey, and challenges preconceived notions about identity, being and truth. Chaired by Lucky Price.
Reni Eddo-Lodge was frustrated when conversations about racism were met with angry denial and white guilt. In 2014 she published a blog post: ‘Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race’. Her words hit a nerve. The post went viral and comments flooded in. Reni invites us into a discussion that moves beyond the personal and into the structural. With incisive wit, she explores the political purpose of white dominance, whitewashed feminism, and the link between class and race. Chaired by ...more
Fbi Radio managing director Clare Holland on lockout laws and their impact on Sydney's cultural scene. Chaired by Ben Marshall.
Our day-to-day reality – life expectancy, health, wealth, and education – were considered unrealistic and utopian in the eighteenth century. So, what's next? Rutger Bregman, a Dutch historian and author, explores how utopian ideals like a basic living income and a fifteen-hour work week could become a reality in our lifetime. Chaired by Emma Alberici.
As National Co-Chair of the Women's March on Washington, Tamika Mallory proved that women are the centre of resistance against the Trump presidency. It sent a bold message to the new US government on its first day in office: women's rights are human rights. In her presentation at Antidote Festival, Tamika reflects on the wins of the Women's March, and what's next in the fight for equality. Chaired by Gabrielle Jackson.
Join the editors and creators of satirical news organisation The Onion, as they share their favourite headlines and reveal just how hard it is to make satire at a time when facts are stranger than fiction. Chaired by Craig Reucassel.
With pithy and insightful observations, journalist and author Arkady Ostrovsky examines today's political reality from the perspective of Putin's Russia in the award winning book The Invention of Russia. Tracking a clear path from Gorbachev to Yeltsin to Putin, he paints a beguiling history: Putin's rise was not an aberration, but a deliberate move, generated by careful control of the media and security services. Join Arkady as he takes a closer look at what is real, what is fake, and what is po...more
Sydney's first Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras ended in shocking violence and multiple arrests. Julie McCrossin was there. Forty years on, the celebration's activist roots remain urgently relevant. Join Julie as she reflects on the cultural change that still needs to happen. Chaired by Benjamin Law.
Recent years have seen the largest street protests in human history – but do they create real change? The co-founder of Occupy Wall Street explores the future of social action. Chaired by Edwina Throsby.
Creating a much needed space for Muslim women online, Amani Al-Khatahtbeh's MuslimGirl rose from humble beginnings on Livejournal to becoming the number one Muslim women’s blog in the United States. Now a regular contributor to media outlets CNN, Al Jazeera, and the BBC, Amani has been featured in The New York Times and The Guardian, and made Forbes' '30 Under 30' list. Chaired by Yassmin Abdel-Magied.
Year by year, our planet grows warmer. Can a not-for-profit environmental law organisation save the world? Martin Goodman and James Thornton's recent book Client Earth has been called 'a soaring force in environmental activism'. With their passion and groundbreaking insight they attempt to tackle the big questions about how we can save our planet. Chaired by Alessandro Pelizzon.
What are the risks of internet success? Join Reni Eddo-Lodge, Celeste Liddle, Van Badham and Tim Highfield as they share the joys and pitfalls of online activism. Chaired by Steph Harmon.
Shashi Tharoor is an Indian politician and diplomat. His book, Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India, considers the devastating legacy of British colonialism. He's in conversation with Guardian reporter Ben Doherty.
The refugee crisis makes many people feel helpless –but Kirstin Shirling proves one person can make a difference. Join her at Antidote Festival 2017 as she speaks about her time in France's notorious refugee camp, The Jungle. Hosted by the Guardian's Lucy Clark.
Two decades after Eve Ensler's play radicalised how women think about their bodies, the activist and writer is still calling for revolution. She took to the Sydney Opera House stage at Antidote Festival with journalist Van Badham, where they discuss 20 years of the landmark play and what's next in the global fight for women's rights.
NASA is in the early stages of preparing to send the first astronauts to the red planet. The 2020 Rover mission will be searching for signs of habitable conditions on Mars, as well as past microbial life. Is this the first step to humanity spreading out into the galaxy? Is there already simple life on the red planet? Do we have galactic neighbours? Physicist Professor Paul Davies from Arizona State University, geologist Dr Abigail Allwood of NASA, Dr Mitch Schulte of Mars 2020 Rover mission and ...more
These conversations were recorded live on stage as part of Bingefest. First up we have our favourite moments from Gut Churn with Radiolab co creator and host, Jad Abumrad. Followed by bingeworthy journalism with executive producer of Serial, Julie Snyder.
Recorded at Bingefest 2016. Come on an adventure to find out what goes on in a writers' room. Industry veteran Dan Harmon (Rick and Morty, Community), four seasons deep Josh Thomas (Please Like Me), and up and comers Celia Pacquola and Luke McGregor (Rosehaven) are here to give you the backstage insight into what it takes to write a hit show. And then they'll write a brand new show for you, on the spot! Hosted by Gretel Killeen.
One of Dr James Clapper’s final tasks before stepping down as the Director of National Intelligence at the end of the Obama Administration was to release an extraordinary report on anticipated global trends through 2035, The Paradox of Progress. That report set out some stark messages about technology, cyber security, governance, democracy, economics, conflict, population, ideology, climate change, environment, and disease.
Recorded at All About Women Festival on March 5th, 2017. What if the key to living a happier, healthier life is already inside of us? Inquisitive and talented microbiology student and bestselling author Giulia Enders explores one of the most complex, important, and even miraculous parts of our anatomy - the gut. Chaired by Natasha Mitchell.
Recorded at All About Women Festival on March 5th, 2017. In an age of disruption and climate change, how will humans adapt? Social scientist Karen O’Brien has devoted her career to exploring the mechanisms that drive change and adaptation. What do we need to understand about how we create change – and how do we deal with the consequences? Chaired by: Santilla Chingaipe
Recorded at All About Women Festival on March 5th, 2017. Why is there still gender inequality and a gender pay gap? If we want to end male dominance in board rooms and parliaments, then maybe we need to stop telling women to be more confident, negotiate better, speak up and support each other. What if, instead of telling women to fix themselves, we fixed the system? Panel: Yassmin Abdel-Magied, Catherine Fox & Ann Sherry Chair: Fauziah Ibrahim
Recorded at All About Women Festival on March 5th, 2017. What happens to a loud woman with big opinions in a culture where women are expected to be small, quiet and compliant? Lindy West’s vibrant humour, refreshing candour and unapologetically trenchant attacks on body shamers and trolls have earned her the admiration of Lena Dunham, Ira Glass, and Caitlin Moran. What can each of us take away from the courage of someone who confronts rape jokes, the fat police, and anti-abortionists - and laugh...more
Recorded at All About Women on March 5th, 2017. What’s wrong with our education system? How can we transform mass education into something that can work for everyone and delivers what we need in a world of rapid change? As journalist Lucy Clark battled to save her daughter from a school system that discouraged difference, she set out to discover the real meaning of success and failure and why we educate young people as we do. Chair: Bridgette Van Leuven
Recorded at All About Women on March 5th, 2017 Has contemporary feminism grown so tame, cowardly and irrelevant that it barely challenges the status quo? Have feminists traded liberation for acceptance? What will it take to wake the movement up? In a fearless call for revolution, Jessa Crispin demands more of feminism - nothing less than the total dismantling of a system of oppression. Chaired by Danielle Harvey.
Recorded at All About Women on March 5th, 2017. What is it about women with opinions, or aspirations to power, that brings out the worst in our culture? Whether we are called ‘nasty women’, ‘frightbats’ or ‘hysterical’ – take your pick – these are labels that are deployed to try to put women in their place. But what happens when women stop being afraid, and ‘nasty woman’ becomes a badge of honour? Panel: Yassmin Abdel-Magied, Van Badham, Lindy West Chair: Fauziah Ibrahim
Recorded at All About Women Festival on March 5th, 2017. Entering its sixth year and with no resolution in sight, the Syrian Civil War has already killed an estimated 400,000 people. Foreign correspondent Janine di Giovanni bears witness to the lived reality behind the headlines. With her courageous fieldwork and on-the-ground reporting, she offers a unique opportunity to understand this tragic conflict through the eyes of the people living at its very centre. Chair: Geraldine Doogue
Recorded at All About Women Festival, March 5th 2017. Queen Victoria wielded enormous power during her 64 year reign. Yet she still had to negotiate with her husband, fit in work around her nine children and manage the expectations of 10 Prime Ministers and her public. What can we learn about women and power from this 19th century monarch? Watch as journalist and biographer Julia Baird explores Victoria’s journey from teenage queen to the most powerful woman of her era. Chaired by Sarah Macdonal...more
TV speaks to us all – it shapes our dreams, confronts our fears and reflects the world we live in. Every year we hear of a new era and the death of a media industry, yet TV always has the last laugh. Why? Christopher Borrelli is a reporter and columnist for the Chicago Tribune, providing a refreshingly earnest voice to the world of video games, toast, Netflix, location scouts, shadow puppet theatre companies and people who hoard copies of Jerry Maguire. As a man who has written an article on t...more
Is American politics dysfunctional or does it just look that way? What happens when aggressive hyper-partisanship collides with a political system that can only work co-operatively? Is the damage fatal to the democratic system? This session was presented in partnership with The United States Studies Centre. Shanto Iyengar holds the Chandler Chair in Communication at Stanford University, where he is also Professor of Political Science and Director of the Political Communication Laboratory. Iyen...more
Is innovation overvalued? It is the dominant ideology of our era. But what if building, maintenance and repair prove much more important to our daily lives than the vast majority of technological innovations? Chaired by Natasha Mitchell Co-founder of The Maintainers themaintainers.org, a research group focused on maintenance, repair, infrastructure and mundane labor, Lee Vinsel is an Assistant Professor of Science and Technology Studies at Stevens Institute of Technology. His research focuses o...more
Will we run out of water – and if so, when? Will the Earth suffer? Explore how water drives modern conflict and is not about to stop. Chaired by Sarah Macdonald Alok Jha is the science correspondent for ITV News in the UK. Before that, he did the same job at The Guardianfor a decade, where he wrote news, features, comment and presented the award-winning Science Weeklypodcast. He has also reported live from Antarctica and presented many TV and radio programmes for the BBC. Alok's latest book The ...more
Today the human race faces existential challenges. Our prosperity has been built on unsustainable economic and environmental practices — but our social and political processes seem incapable of fixing anything. Why are we unable to even acknowledge the truth of our predicament? Chaired by Rebecca Huntley Satyajit Das is a former financier. He anticipated the 2008 financial crisis and has been prescient in outlining subsequent developments. In September 2014, Bloomberg included him as one of the ...more
#BlackLivesMatter has become the call to action for a generation of US human rights activists to denounce the violence and prejudice still experienced by African Americans. In the wake of the violent deaths of African Americans Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and many others call for change is insistent and consistent. So what does need to change in politics, in the media and in everyday lives to transform race relations and ensure justice and recognition for all? Following the 2013 ...more
Popular culture is obsessed with easy sex and the importance of dating, implying that we live in a new enlightened age of sexual promiscuity. As an investigative journalist, if you penetrated the inner sanctum of a secret society and discovered the key to picking up women would you use it for good or bad? Can too much sex and dating damage you irreparably? What is the deep psychology behind our quests and fears of love and sex and who are the people making use of this knowledge. Chaired by Sa...more
What is the place on our stages and in public life for performers who don’t fit the conventional view of what an artist should be? In the past, ‘natural born freaks’ were the stars of sideshow performances, but this is now buried as the embarrassing past. Why should we ignore this history of performers with disability? And if we do, how can we celebrate the unique artistry of those who are different, who are ‘freaks like me’? Sarah Houbolt is an accomplished international circus and physical the...more
What is art if not a place where we can push the boundaries of what we know, what we do and what we can say? As his pioneering dance company DV8 developed and broke boundaries, choreographer Lloyd Newson found out that even in art there are limits, and times when no-one wants to speak out. What don’t we want art to talk about? Born in Australia, Lloyd Newson studied psychology and social work at Melbourne University before embarking on a professional career as a dancer and choreographer. He has ...more
Shaken by a court's decision to acquit George Zimmerman over the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, Alicia Garza wrote, "Black people, I love you. I love us. Our lives matter." From there, the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter was born and then a social movement. It is a world away from the life she had growing up with her mother, stepfather, and brother, where they ran an antique shop in Marin County in San Francisco. Standing firmly in the national spotlight today in a divided America, she is a leading...more
Everything about the Arctic Inuit communities’ way of life depends on ice and snow, so is the failure of the world to act on climate change a gross violation of Inuit human rights? Sheila Watt-Cloutier currently resides in Iqaluit, Nunavut. She was born in Kuujjuaq, Nunavik (northern Quebec), and was raised traditionally in her early years before attending school in southern Canada and in Manitoba. Ms. Watt-Cloutier was an elected political spokesperson for Inuit for over a decade. She is the pa...more
When is political advertising actually propaganda? And how do we tell the difference? In a fractured media environment with innumerable advocates clamouring for our attention, is it all propaganda now? Chaired by Michael Williams A high school teacher by trade, Dee Madigan joined the world of advertising in 1996 and since has been winner or finalist at most major ad awards, including Cannes. If ever there was a tampon ad shot on a foreign beach, you can be sure Dee wrote it – and attended the ...more
Do Asian-Australians experience a particular kind of racism? When Asian stereotypes are positive, are they still damaging? How can we break through the bamboo ceiling? Sarah Dingle is a dual Walkley Award-winning investigative reporter and presenter with the ABC, working across radio and TV current affairs, news and documentary. Her work has also won the UN's Media Peace Prize, the Voiceless Media Prize, and the Australian College of Educators Media prize. Her radio documentaries have been recog...more
Whichever way we vote, politicians say the electorate always gets it right at the ballot box. Cynics are more inclined to think that we get the government we deserve. Did we get it right this time? What does the election tell us about our faith in our political leaders? Are we a nation that can't make up its mind? Annabel Crabb is one of Australia’s most popular political commentators, is the presenter of Kitchen Cabinetand writes for The Drum. Annabel has worked extensively in newspapers, radio...more
Henry Rollins discusses his tumultuous childhood growing up in Washington DC, and how he transitioned from scooping ice cream at Haagen Dazs to fronting punk rock band Black Flag. A turning point came for Henry Rollins about a decade ago, marked by a departure from music into activism and spoken word performance, "For me, music was a time and a place. I never really enjoyed being in a band. It was in me, and it needed to come out. Like a 25-year exorcism. One day I woke up and I didn't have any...more
What galvanised African American activist Alicia Garza to co-found #BlackLivesMatter? How did Henry Rollins make the jump from shift manager at Häagen-Dazs to lead singer of US punk rock band Black Flag? How does NSW Australian of the Year Deng Thiak Adut’s former life as a Sudanese refugee and child soldier inform his practice of the law? Find the answer to these questions and more in a new Sydney Opera House podcast It's A Long Story. A podcast that explores the the stories behind the big i...more
All around us, military spending is up. Are our neighbours arming for superpower confrontation over territory and influence? What does this mean for the peace and prosperity of Australia and our region? Dr Bates Gill is Professor of Asia Pacific Strategic Studies with the Australian National University Strategic and Defence Studies Centre and one of the world's leading experts on Asia-Pacific security issues, especially with regard to China. From 2007 to 2012 he served as Director of the Stockho...more
Is it time to forget about ‘border protection’? What would happen if we just opened our borders? Could it be the best response to all of our concerns about refugees and economic growth? Philippe Legrain is a critically acclaimed thinker and communicator who has also been a senior policy adviser. A senior visiting fellow at the London School of Economics’ European Institute, he is the founder of Open Political Economy Network (OPEN), an international think-tank. A columnist for Project Syndicate,...more
Why do Indigenous people kill themselves in such numbers? What do we know about suicide that can help us understand this? Can we overcome the tragedy of young people dying in a suicide epidemic? Jesse Bering is an award-winning science writer. His "Bering in Mind" column at Scientific American was a 2010 Webby Award Honoree. Bering's first book, The Belief Instinct (2011), was included on the American Library Association's Top 25 Books of the Year. This was followed by a collection of essays--th...more
Another sport, another drug scandal; are anti-doping efforts doomed? Would legalising drugs in sport actually protect athletes from harm? Is this radical idea the only way to create a level playing field? Stephen Dank is an Australian biochemist who has worked as a sports scientist with National Rugby League clubs such as the Manly Sea Eagles and Australian rules football clubs such as Essendon Football Club and the Gold Coast Suns Football Club. He is known for his unorthodox treatment and diag...more
Head of Sydney Opera House Talks and Ideas Ann Mossop sits down with internationally renowned economist Thomas Piketty to discuss his book "Capital in the 21st Century"and whether increasing inequality is inevitable.
Is Hindu fundamentalism becoming a dangerous force in India? Is the world’s largest democracy becoming less secular and less democratic? What does this mean for India’s future? Priyamvada Gopal is a Reader at the University of Cambridge in Anglophone and Related Literature. Her new book, Insurgent Empire, is due out with Verso in 2017 and follows Literary Radicalism in India: Gender, Nation and the Transition to Independence (2005) and The Indian English Novel: Nation, History and Narration (200...more
Alexei Sayle’s comedy career kicked off as Thatcherism took hold in Britain and generated unprecedented political conflict and protest. Was this part of what made him one of the funniest voices of his generation? What does his comic persona – full of rage, and with a dark and dangerous edge – owe to the politics of the time? And how does he make Stalin and Thatcher funny? Alexei David Sayle was born in Liverpool and moved to London in 1971 to attend Chelsea Art School. He became the first MC of ...more
Living with Asperger’s, John Elder Robison had come to terms with the way he was different, riding life’s ups and downs. But what if it was possible to unlock the emotional insight that we assume is ‘missing’ in people living with Aspergers – if only you undertook an experimental brain therapy? Is that fixing? Chaired by Van Badham John Elder Robison is The New York Times bestselling author of Look Me in the Eye. He is a world-recognised authority on life with autism; the Neurodiversity Scholar...more
Why are young people worse off than their parents? Why is the gap between older and younger Australians – in terms of work, wealth and wellbeing – growing wider? Is Australia cheating the young? Chaired by Van Badham Jennifer Rayner was born into aspirational Australian suburbia during the Hawke years and came of age in the long boom of the Howard era. Her lifetime tracks the yawning inequalities that have opened up across the Australian community in the past 30 years. She has worked as a feder...more
Suddenly it’s not queer to hear people talking about 'gender fluidity’, ‘gender transition’ or a spectrum of gender identity – did the world conversation decide gender no longer matters? And if the biological constraints of gender have been loosened, how do we deal with enduring gender-based social inequality and injustice? Jesse Bering is an award-winning science writer. His "Bering in Mind" column at Scientific American was a 2010 Webby Award Honoree. Bering's first book, The Belief Instinct (...more
Are scientists the new gods? As we increasingly rely on science to solve our problems, are we stretching scientific method to mystique? If scientists are not infallible, can we trust what they tell us? And if we can’t trust scientists, can we still trust science? Tim Flannery is one of Australia’s leading writers on climate change. An internationally acclaimed scientist, explorer and conservationist, Tim was named Australian of the Year in 2007. Tim has held various academic positions including ...more
As the recent nuclear deal transforms geopolitical relationships with the Islamic Republic of Iran, what do Westerners need to understand of the past and the future of Iran’s dissenting voices? Laura Secor has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Foreign Affairs, and other publications and has worked at The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The American Prospect and Lingua Franca. She has been a fellow at the New York Public Library's Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers a...more
The scale of the Middle East refugee crisis is overwhelming authorities. But war, failed states and climate change seem to be the new world normal – and so does the global flow of desperate people. What does it mean for the future? Philippe Legrain is a critically acclaimed thinker and communicator who has also been a senior policy adviser. A senior visiting fellow at the London School of Economics’ European Institute, he is the founder of Open Political Economy Network (OPEN), an international ...more
The tumultuous 17th century Enlightenment created the modern mind. What were the radical forces that shaped this intellectual world view we still share? And how is this under threat today? A.C. Grayling is the Master of the New College of the Humanities, London, and its Professor of Philosophy, and the author of over thirty books of philosophy, biography, history of ideas, and essays. His new book, The Age of Genius, was published by Bloomsbury in April 2016. He is a columnist for Prospect magaz...more
In a time of turmoil, what happens when art and politics collide? Molly Crabapple is an artist and journalist who has covered Occupy Wall Street, Guantanamo Bay, migrant workers in Abu Dhabi, the US prison system, and the Syrian civil war. Is it time for art to get out of the galleries and back on to the street? Molly Crabapple is an artist, journalist, author of the memoir, Drawing Blood and, according to New Republic, "an emblem of the way art can break out of the gilded gallery”. She has dra...more
When you're on a bicycle at a red light with no car or pedestrian in sight, do you still wait for the green? Do you obey every single law? Surely fearful compliance with every niggling regulation defies the much-vaunted "freedom" that is the premise of democracy. Maybe that’s what drives our fascination with film and fiction criminality: we envy renegades. Is breaking a rule a day better than an apple for your health? Lionel Shriver's books include the international bestselling We Need to Talk A...more
Have we entered the golden age of surveillance? With our own devices recording everything we do, have we brought this on ourselves? Does the Apple vs the FBI case expose our underlying tensions about privacy, technology and national security? Lev Grossman is the author of five novels, including the #1 New York Times bestselling Magicians trilogy, published in 25 countries and made into an hour-long drama on the Syfy channel. Grossman is the book critic for Time magazine and has written essays an...more
Class war, multiculturalism, race, politics, culture wars, free speech, global warming - Bolt’s favourite targets get audiences excited, and this is a rare chance to explore where his ideas come from and whether he thinks they are dangerous. How dangerous is being an Australian commentator speaking your mind without reservation? Andrew Bolt is Australia’s most-read political commentator, published in the Herald Sun, Daily Telegraph, Courier-Mail and Advertiser and runs Australia’s most popular p...more
Have decades of social, political and economic change in the United States wrecked its social cohesion and a sense of community? How does the American dream work today? George Packer is the author, most recently, of The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America, a New York Times bestseller, which won the National Book Award for non-fiction in 2013. He has published four other works of non-fiction, including The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq, which received several prizes and was named on...more
Hot off the U.S. convention and campaign trail, America’s favourite living wit and best-selling author P.J. O'Rourke is heading straight to our stage to deliver his Dangerous State of the Nation. P.J. O’Rourke is a collection of curious contradictions. Roaming foreign affairs correspondent for Rolling Stone magazine for 20 years, he is also a conservative Republican satirist who recently reluctantly backed Hilary Clinton as “the second-worst thing that can happen to [America].” Former gonzo Edi...more
Ira Glass, creator and host of podcast phenomenon This American Life joined us at the Sydney Opera House to deliver a once in a lifetime workshop on broadcast journalism for university students. Share the wisdom of one of the world's most listened-to podcast hosts as he walks you through the elements that make a successful radio story. He discusses everything from how he got his start in the industry through to how to score a radio story. A number of radio stories are featured throughout this r...more
Are the arts in crisis? What does the future hold for creative companies, both large and small? Join us to discuss the changing face of arts funding, the impact of the recent cuts, and the response from artists and arts companies across Australia. The panel will include Michael Lynch CBE AM, Nick Atkins, Lily Shearer and Tamara Winikoff OAM. Michael Lynch CBE AM As one of Australia's most recognised and experienced arts administrators and cultural figures, Michael has lead some of Australia's m...more
Deadly Voices from the House is an informative, entertaining half hour of storytelling and discussion, it delivers lively and revealing conversations with prominent First Nations leaders from the music, arts and culture sector here in Australia and overseas. Hosted by Rhoda Roberts, Head of Indigenous Programming at Sydney Opera House, Deadly Voices from the House is supported by the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia and the National Indigenous Radio Service, and is produced by Sy...more
Twenty-first century depictions of love and marriage are shaped by a set of Romantic myths and misconceptions and with his trademark warmth and wit, Alain de Botton explores the complex landscape of a modern relationship, presenting a realistic case study for marriage and examining what it might mean to love, to be loved - and to stay in love. Alain de Botton is an internationally renowned philosopher, television presenter and author of international best sellers Essays in Love, How Proust Can ...more
Acclaimed presenter, journalist, actor, producer and arts guru Rhoda Roberts returns to our airwaves to present Deadly Voices from the House, recorded live from Sydney Opera House. Featuring a diverse selection of guest appearances from prominent Indigenous leaders from the music, arts and culture sector, Deadly Voices from the House provides an important platform to discuss critical issues facing the Indigenous community and gives voice to a variety of upcoming indigenous music, arts and cultur...more
The Scottish-born Harvard University professor, known for his provocative and contrarian views on international history and economic policy, discusses his life and work. Ferguson is a prolific commentator, a contributing editor to the Financial Times, and is the author of 11 books. In 2011, his film company released its first feature-length documentary, Kissinger, which won Best Documentary at the New York International Film Festival.
Theodore Dalrymple — nom de plume of the ‘sceptical doctor’ Anthony Daniels — will explore social and economic inequality in a session titled Is Society Broken? How to think about poverty, crime and inequality. A retired doctor and psychiatrist who worked in prisons in Britain’s second largest city, Birmingham, Dalrymple has famously chronicled ‘life at the bottom’, anatomising the development of a multigenerational underclass in Western democracies. His lively and provocative essays and books —...more
The explosion of art from the confines of art galleries to screens, installations and public spaces have changed contemporary art and what is expected of us as audiences. Join MCA director Elizabeth Ann and researcher Jacqueline Millner to discuss what makes the art of our time important and how contemporary art becomes timeless.
Rebecca Huntley is one of Australia's foremost social researchers and experts on social trends. She is the author of Does Cooking Matter?, a call to arms to bring our nation back into the kitchen, and Eating Between the Lines: Food and Equality in Australia.
René Redzepi is the founder of MAD and the chef-patron of noma, a restaurant in Copenhagen and multiple winner of Restaurant Magazine's 'Best Restaurant in the World' award. Kylie Kwong has been the owner of Sydney’s celebrated Billy Kwong restaurant since 2000 and is a passionate campaigner for sustainable food and ethical eating. She is the author of six books and presenter of three television series, and in 2014 was named by Food & Wine magazine as one of the world’s 25 most innovative women...more
Massimo Bottura is an Italian-born chef who apprenticed with Georges Cogny and Alain Ducasse in the 1980s and 1990s. In 1995, he opened the multi-award-winning restaurant Osteria Francescana in Modena, which has maintained Three Michelin Stars since 2013. He is also the author of four books, including Parmigiano Reggiano and Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef.
Kylie Kwong has been the owner of Sydney’s celebrated Billy Kwong restaurant since 2000 and is a passionate campaigner for sustainable food and ethical eating. She is the author of six books and presenter of three television series, and in 2014 was named by Food & Wine magazine as one of the world’s 25 most innovative women in food and wine.
Chido Govera is a 29-year-old Zimbabwean farmer and campaigner with her own foundation, The Future of Hope. After being orphaned at the age of seven and left to care for her brother and near-blind grandmother, Govera was invited to learn mushroom cultivation, supported by Belgian environmental entrepreneur Gunter Pauli. Today, she teaches mushroom farming to women and orphans throughout the developing world.
René Redzepi is the founder of MAD and the chef-patron of noma, a restaurant in Copenhagen and multiple winner of Restaurant Magazine's 'Best Restaurant in the World' award. Momofuku founder David Chang is the chef who turned ramen and pork buns into haute cuisine. Beginning with the Momofuku Noodle Bar in 2004, he has built a culinary empire that includes restaurants in New York City, Toronto, Washington DC, Sydney and his own print quarterly, Lucky Peach, a regular collaborator with MAD.
Russia is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist. But as an eloquent and outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin’s regime and a prominent LGBT activist, Russian-American journalist Masha Gessen does not hide her views. The author of The Man without a face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin, a biography of President Vladimir Putin, and a book about Pussy Riot, it was only when the Russian authorities started discussing removing children from gay parents that Masha moved her...more
Imagine having to flee your home country, leaving your mother and brother behind you. As a child, Hyeonseo Lee thought her country– North Korea- was the best on the planet. It wasn‘t until the devastating famine of the 1990s that she began to question those beliefs and look for an escape route. As a teenager, she fled to China to stay with distant relatives and spent the next ten years hiding her true identity before finally escaping to South Korea. She then made the courageous decision to retu...more
In the age of social media we think we know each other, but do we really? Muriel Barbery’s second novel, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, became an international sensation through word-of-mouth recommendations. It told the story of an unlikely friendship of an unhappy teenage girl and the determinedly ordinary, middle-aged concierge in a Parisian apartment building – whose lives were richer than they first appear. With her next novel, The Life of Elves now published nine years later, secret lives...more
Alix Generous has big ideas, but she hasn’t always been able to communicate them to others. Her Asperger’s syndrome was misdiagnosed for many years and it has taken great courage and persistence to overcome her challenges. Alix thinks differently, but she has learned that this can be an important part of solving complex problems. Still a university student, she is involved in scientific research, has spoken at the UN, and her company Autism Sees has released the app Podium to help people with Au...more
Go to any networking event and you’ll probably overhear someone talking about how they discovered their ‘true purpose’. But doggedly pursuing the work you love can get in the way of the rest of your life, and lead to some tough choices. For writer Margie Orford it meant spending a year away from her three children when she had the opportunity to study overseas. It was a hard decision, as the overwhelming satisfaction of knowing that she had found her vocation was balanced by the sadness of what...more
Every week in Australia at least one woman is killed by a current or former male partner. The rate of violent crime in Australia is declining, with the exception of sexual assault. There are also rising rates of women in incarceration. What are the solutions? Are patterns of violence changing?
Indigenous women are now on the frontlines when it comes to defending their land and livelihood. Crystal Lamemen is part of a community of 900 Woodland Cree people who for thousands of years have resided in the Beaver Lake Cree Nation, a territory in Alberta, Canada. Indigenous women are now on the front lines when it comes to defending their land and livelihood in the face of mining, other extractive industries and environmental changes. Crystal is joined by Amelia Telford, a Bundjalung woman ...more
When Anne-Marie Slaughter published an article in The Atlantic, titled "Why Women Still Can't Have It All", it became one of the most-read pieces in the magazine's history. It was inspired by her decision to leave her dream job at the State Department in Washington because her family needed her closer to home. Now she has taken this discussion forward as she looks at what needs to be done to make sure that we can make real progress towards fairness and equality. And it turns out that her answers...more
If the majority of people believe that it is wrong to discriminate on the basis of gender, why isn’t change happening faster? New research into how our brains work sheds light on this question– and you might not like the answer. According to new evidence, we (yes, you!) could be a little bit sexist and not even realise it. It’s called ‘unconscious bias’ and occurs when a trigger or situation causes us to make a decision so rapidly that we are not consciously aware of it. The result? We’re more s...more
Detective shows, drama series, and movie plots with murderous storylines: our fascination with crime stories knows no bounds, with women on the front lines as both stars and writers. We sit at home being terrified by the latest fictional serial killer, learning to distrust our neighbours, but is our view of the world outside being distorted? Whilst our cultural landscape is getting more criminally dangerous, in the real world the rates of most crimes in Australia, with the exception of sexual as...more
We live in a world addicted to scandal and drama, but why do women often come off worse than their male counterparts? In a political sex scandal, an older adulterous male survives whilst a young woman’s career is often left in tatters. When a sports star is accused of rape the accuser often fares worse than the alleged perpetrators as her life and morals are put under a microscope. Is this misogyny in action? Or do women rush to judge each other while men stand in solidarity? Is this the same p...more
Like many jobs where leadership is combined with long hours and late nights, not many women list ‘Theatre Director’ as their occupation. Or ‘Artistic Director’ or ‘Director’ for that matter, to the point where this has been a vexed topic of conversation in the arts for some time. Is it just the same set of difficulties for ambitious women as we find in business or industry, where once women have responsibilities other than their work, the going gets tough? Or are there some factors that are part...more
‘She disappeared, she never came back, men came for her; today she would be celebrating her sixteenth birthday’. These were some of the heartbreaking statements that Jennifer Clement heard when researching her novel,Prayers for the Stolen, about the plight of missing girls in Mexico. The war between the Mexican government and the drug cartels has killed more than a hundred thousand people. This does not include the missing women – those stolen from their streets or their houses because they are ...more
How many people have you had sex with? No, don’t tell us! But was your first instinct to tell the truth, to exaggerate or underestimate your ‘magic’ number? We live in a time of unprecedented sexual freedom but underneath we are still governed by conventions and expectations surrounding our sex lives. Journalist and accidental sexpert, Rachel Hillsgoes beneath the covers to discuss how sex myths are causing women just as much unhappiness as ever. Is fetishing sexual activity creating as much of...more
Many questions women ask ourselves about how to achieve equality can only be answered if we understand men and masculinity. The Women’s Liberation Movement triggered a worldwide debate about men, and a generation of research about what proved to be masculinities - in the plural. Over the last thirty years, knowledge has accumulated about men’s diversity and collective power, and the making and re-making of masculinities. This helps us understand men’s predominance in the corporate and political ...more
Music was a means of self-invention for Carrie Brownstein. Before becoming a music icon, the Emmy-nominated actor and writer had a turbulent family life. From the moment she bought her first guitar at 15, music became her salvation and a way to find a sense of community. But it was her experiences in the independent music industry that sowed the seeds for the award-winning TV show,Portlandia that she went on to co-create and co-star in. With her band mates from Sleater-Kinney, the industry icon ...more
Our understanding of the human body, how it works and what it needs, has been transformed in recent years by a wave of new scientific discoveries. Yet there is a huge gap between the latest findings and the advice we are given, leaving people more confused than ever before. Dr Michael Mosley, through his work for the BBC and researching his latest books, has had access to scientists round the world working at the cutting edge of research into diet, exercise and nutrition. Can you really get most...more
Australian writer Rosie Waterland has lived. Before she built a global fanbase by writing hilarious online recaps of the reality television show, The Bachelor, she had to get through a tough childhood. She had to come to terms with not being 'cool'. Navigating her way through a housing commission childhood, eating disorders and mental health issues, she embraced all that she is to become an 'Anti-Cool Girl' (also the title of her debut memoir). In this talk the ‘full frontal memoirist’ shares h...more
If you could change the world overnight, what would you do first? Featuring: Masha Gessen, Crystal Lameman, Mallory Ortberg, Ann Sherry, Anne- Marie Slaughter, Jenny Brockie (Chair)
With her feet firmly on the ground, and her finger in the mixing bowl, Nigella Lawson has charmed us with her approach to food and cooking. Based on the principle that food should be a simple pleasure to cook and to eat, her recipe books emphasise the importance of friends, family and celebration. At a time when many of the messages we get about food alternate between anxious exhortations to eat ‘clean’ and the technical wizardry of competitive cooking, her relaxed and realistic approach shows a...more
Nicola Scott is an Australian comic book artist working in the American industry. After working for Dark Horse, Image and IDW, she quickly became a fan-favourite working exclusively for DC Entertainment on monthly titles Birds Of Prey, Secret Six, Wonder Woman, Teen Titans, Superman and New York Times Bestseller Earth 2. She has recently made the gigantic leap of leaving DC comics to start a creator owned book with Greg Rucka (Gotham Central, Batwoman, Queen & Country, Lazarus and more). The ne...more
The gifted UK cult British comic artist, designer and Mad Max: Fury Road designer/co-writer, Brendan McCarthy offers a rare insight into his 35 year career – covering graphic classics such as 2000 AD's Judge Dredd, the revolutionary 80s US invasion by British comics creators, pioneering pre-Pixar computer animation on the Reboot TV show of the 90s, designing classic pop videos, movies, and a highly regarded series of unique graphic novels.
The internet is the 21st century's nervous system and it has made universal surveillance a reality. In the past, even the most repressive authoritarian states would reach a point where it was cheaper to guarantee social stability with schools and hospitals rather than with guns and surveillance devices. But the automation of surveillance has moved this point dramatically. Where the Stasi needed an entire army to surveil one country, East Germany, the NSA and its Five Eyes partners can surveil th...more
What happens when a Professor of Economics gets his hands on the economic levers of a country in the eye of the financial storm? Yanis Varoufakis' seven month stint as Greece's Minister of Finance took him into the heart of the Eurogroup, the IMF, and the continent's top decision-making bodies. With bluntness and force, he put the case for a different solution to Greece’s ills and accused the country’s creditors of terrorism. Telling Bloomberf “I wouldprefer to cut my arm off" rather than accept...more
Paul Keating, visionary, reformer, true believer, rabble rouser, polymath, and our most intriguing prime minister bares his soul to the country's sharpest political interviewer, Kerry O'Brien.Kerry and Paul wrestle with history to produce a tour de force of political wisdom and personal insight that weaves through the Keating years in a unique and compelling way. Building on the transcripts of the must-watch ABC TV event of 2013 - Keating: the Interviews – Kerry has gathered an enormous bank of ...more
Peter Fray is the Deputy Editor of The Australian. He was the editor-in-chief and founder of the fact-checking website, PolitiFact Australia and had a long and distinguished career at Fairfax Media, most recently as Editor-in-Chief and publisher of the The Sydney Morning Herald and previously as Editor of The Canberra Times and The Sunday Age. Julia Baird is a journalist, broadcaster and author. Her writing has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, the Guardian, The Sydney Morning Herald, T...more
Frank Brennan SJ AO has a longstanding reputation of advocacy in the areas of law, social justice, refugee protection and Aboriginal reconciliation. He is known for his 1998 involvement in the debate surrounding the Wik peoples’ landmark court case. He is a Jesuit priest, professor of law and writer. Brennan was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 1995 for services to Aboriginal Australians, particularly as an advocate in the areas of law, social justice and reconciliation. He is h...more
Laurie Penny is a feminist, journalist and author. Her books include Unspeakable Things (2014),Cybersexism (2013) and Meat Market (2011). She writes and speaks on social justice, pop culture, gender issues and digital politics for numerous news sources including The Guardian, The New York Times, Vice and Salon.
Tariq Ali is a British-Pakistani political commentator and a prolific writer, journalist and filmmaker. He has been a leading figure of the international left since the 1960s. His books include The Duel: Pakistan on the Flightpath of American Power, The Obama Syndrome and The Extreme Centre: A Warning. Helen Joyce became international editor of The Economist in January 2014 having previously served as International Education Editor and Sao Paulo bureau chief. Before joining The Economist she wo...more
AC Grayling is a distinguished philosopher notable for his ability to make philosophy relevant to contemporary readers and audiences. He is Master of the New College of the Humanities, and a Supernumerary Fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford. He is associated with the new atheism movement and is sometimes described as the 'Fifth Horseman of New Atheism'. He has written and edited more than 30 books on philosophy and other subjects; among his most recent are The Challenge of Things, Liberty in the...more
Sarai Walker received her MFA in creative writing from Bennington College. As a magazine writer, her articles have appeared in Seventeen and Mademoiselle. She served as an editor and writer for Our Bodies, Ourselves, before moving to London and Paris to complete a PhD. Her first novel, Dietland, was published this year, and takes on the beauty industry, gender inequality and our weight loss obsession.
Marc Lewis, a professor at Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, is a cognitive neuroscientist known for his research on the development of emotions and personality in childhood and adolescence. His current work, based on an integrative review of the neuroscience of addiction, shows that addiction is not a pathological state but rather an unfortunate result of a brain doing what it's supposed to do -- in fact overdoing it: pursuing pleasure and avoiding risk. Accordingly, he argues th...more
Anna Broinowski is a filmmaker and writer. She is known for films including Forbidden Lie$ (about hoax-author Norma Khouri) and Helen’s War (about anti-nuclear crusader Helen Caldicott). Her film Aim High In Creation! pays tribute to the cinematic genius of North Korea’s late Dear Leader, Kim Jong-il. Determined to stop a new gas mine near her Sydney home, she traveled to North Korea to learn about propaganda from the masters. She has written about her experiences in her 2015 book, The Director ...more
Tariq Ali is a British-Pakistani political commentator and a prolific writer, journalist and filmmaker. He has been a leading figure of the international left since the 1960s. His books include The Duel: Pakistan on the Flightpath of American Power, The Obama Sydrome and The Extreme Centre: A Warning.
Helen Joyce became international editor of The Economist in January 2014 having previously served as International Education Editor and Sao Paulo bureau chief. Before joining The Economist she worked as editor of Plus, an online magazine about maths published by the University of Cambridge, and was founding editor for The Royal Statistical Society's quarterly magazine, Significance.
Michael Wesley is a Professor of National Security at the Australian National University. He is currently the Director of the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Studies in the College of Asia and the Pacific at the ANU. He also consults extensively for the Australian government. He has a new book being released this year called Restless Continent: Wealth, Rivalry and Asia's New Geopolitics.
Martin Ford is the founder of a Silicon Valley-based software development firm and the author of two books: The New York Times bestselling Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future and The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future. He has more than 25 years’ experience in the fields of computer design and software development. Marc Lewis, a professor at Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, is a cognitive neurosci...more
Dan Ilic is one of Australia’s most prolific comedic voices. Dan has been making television in Australia for ten years. His credits include: Australia’s Funniest Home Videos (Nine), Hungry Beast (ABC), Hamster Wheel (ABC), Can of Worms (Ten) and The Feed (SBS2) as well as being a regular on comedy panel shows and news magazine programs. In 2014 Dan raised more than $50,000 through crowd-funding to make A Rational Fear into a web series. Most recently Dan was Senior producer of Satire for AJ+ Eng...more
Johann Hari is a British writer and journalist who has written for many of the world’s leading newspapers, including The New York Times, Le Monde, and The Guardian. He was a lead op-ed columnist for The Independent for nine years, and left the newspaper after it was revealed that in some of his interviews, he had used passages that his interviewees had written or said elsewhere, and presented them as if they had been said directly to him. Since then he has written The New York Times best-selling...more
Jon Ronson is a Welsh journalist, author and documentary filmmaker whose works include best-seller The Men Who Stare at Goats and The Psychopath Test. He has been described as a gonzo journalist, known for his informal but sceptical, investigations of controversial fringe politics and science. His new book So You've Been Publicly Shamed explores public humiliation in the internet age.
Dennis Glover is a professional speech writer, a Fellow of the Per Capita think tank and a political columnist for the Australian Financial Review. He currently writes speeches for Labor members of parliament as well as business and community leaders. He is the author of two non-fiction works Orwell’s Australia and The Art of Great Speeches.
As an investigative journalist, Eric Schlosser continues to explore subjects ignored by the mainstream media and gives a voice to people at the margins of society. He’s followed the harvest with migrant farm workers in California, spent time with meatpacking workers in Texas and Colorado, told the stories of marijuana growers and pornographers and victims of violent crime, gone on duty with the NYPD Bomb Squad, and visited prisons throughout the US. Schlosser’s first book, Fast Food Nation (2001...more
For much of the 1990s, Helen Razer could be heard blabbing on the ABC's youth network, Triple J. While the national broadcaster still occasionally permits her to talk in exchange for money, she is now chiefly engaged in the work of writing on social and cultural matters. She works with Crikey, The Saturday Paperand a range of publications who permit her to say terrible things. Her fifth book, A Short History of Stupid,remains a best-seller and was recently shortlisted for the NSW State Library's...more
Damon Gameau is well-known as an Australian film and television actor. In 2014, he directed That Sugar Film, a documentary which examines the place of sugar in our diet. It follows Gameau as he puts himself on a sugar-laden regime consuming food that is normally considered healthy, such as fruit juice and cereals. The documentary will be released in the US in July and has now been followed by That Sugar Book. Jane Martin is Executive Manager of the Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC), based at the C...more
Chris Berg is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs, where he specialises in civil liberties, the political economy of regulation, and media and technology policy. He is a weekly columnist with ABC’s The Drum, and has been published in all major Australian papers, as well as the Wall Street Journal.
Peter Doherty shared the 1996 Nobel Prize for Medicine for discovering the nature of the cellular immune defence. He continues to be involved in research and divides his time between the University of Melbourne and St Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis. In his fifth book, The Knowledge Wars, he goes in to bat for evidence-based reality in debates on issues such as childhood vaccination, global hunger and anthropogenic climate change and encourages us all to be informed and evaluate the...more
Miriam Lyons is an Australian policy analyst, writer and commentator. She was the founding Executive Director of the Centre for Policy Development, an independent public interest think tank set up in 2007. She recently released a book with Ian McAuley, Governomics: Can We Afford Small Government? The book argues that cutting public services often leads to false economies, costing more in the long-term and undermining the basis of a successful capitalist system.
Chris Munro was the Managing Editor of Tracker Magazine, Australia's most read Aboriginal Affairs publication which was shut down in 2014. Prior to this he was the Political Editor for the National Indigenous Television news team based at Parliament House and a reporter for the National Indigenous Times newspaper. Chris currently works as a freelance journalist. As an investigative journalist, Eric Schlosser continues to explore subjects ignored by the mainstream media and gives a voice to peo...more
Frank Brennan has a longstanding reputation of advocacy in the areas of law, social justice, refugee protection and Aboriginal reconciliation. He is known for his 1998 involvement in the debate surrounding the Wik peoples’ landmark court case. He is a Jesuit priest, professor of law and writer. His most recent book is No Small Change: The Road to recognition for Indigenous Australia.
Lucy Hawking and renowned physicist Paul Davies discuss the life and ideas of one of the world’s greatest minds: Stephen Hawking, who joins us live from Cambridge via the latest technology, in his first ever Australian talk. There are few scientists that can be said to have touched the public imagination. Physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking is one such scientist. Professor Hawking will be appearing via the very latest in streaming technology while his daughter, journalist and author Lucy...more
Australia, like other democratic countries, is seeing a dramatic decline in trust in government. We elect people we don’t like, and then have to rely on them for important issues such as health to national security. Do we have the politicians we deserve? How can we change the unhappy status quo? Benjamin Law, Tony Windsor and Ann Sherry look at where the mistrust is coming from and what needs changing.
What sort of Australia will the young inherit? With short political cycles and ever shorter media cycles, it’s taken a high profile campaign for the Intergenerational Report to get us thinking seriously about the future. But are the responsibilities of the young and old clear? Does intergenerational equity even matter? Holly Ransom, Everald Compton and Andrew Charlton offer insights into what the old and young can bring that will make us less short-sighted about our future.
When we live in an affluent and peaceful country like Australia, what do we do when we’re confronted by poverty and need, close to us? What are our responsibilities and how committed are we to help? Watch Peter Singer address his concept of effective altruism and shake up some of our assumptions about giving.
Freedom of speech. Equality of speech. Opportunity for speech. Freedom to offend. Just some of the dimensions muddying the middle ground on this historically important topic. Chris Berg and Julian Burnside discuss how much freedom of speech we have, whether it’s enough, or too much, and who decides?
Media, politicians, thinkers… no one can decide which Australia we live in. Are we on the verge of becoming the poor white trash of Asia or poised to be an “innovation economy”? Nick Bryant, Rebecca Huntley and Marcia Langton discuss our successes and failures, what we’ve learned, and what to do about the future.
Having wives allowed millions of men to do their best work, with their minds and schedules uncluttered by meal planning and school pickups. But even though women are now freer than ever to pursue their own ambitions, relatively few men are volunteering to take over the bulk of the domestic labour. Crabb’s new book, The Wife Drought, peers into the gap that was left when “housewife” stopped being a job description, and explores how our ideas about work/life balance and parenting must still evolve...more
‘They shriek, they rage, they cheer, they despair, they exult, they scream, they laugh, they cry!’ News Limited blogger Tim Blair was not talking about State of Origin spectators, but his poll to find ‘this nation’s most unhinged hysteric’ from among his list of ten ‘frightbats’, a group of opinionated female journalists and commentators. The frightbats themselves mostly laughed off the insults, and competed in good humour to get the most votes. But what does it mean if women can still be dismi...more
Esther Freud’s own childhood was an unusual one - as the daughter of painter Lucian Freud and the great-granddaughter of Sigmund Freud, this may not be surprising. Her first novel, Hideous Kinky, draws on her childhood memories of living in Morocco with her sister and their bohemian mother; her newest book, Mr Mac and Me, is the story of a young boy finding an unlikely friend in Scottish architect and artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh. With meticulous skill and a sharp eye for the big moments we ...more
Scrutiny of Australia's Muslim community has only increased in recent years. Australian women who wear Islamic head coverings have been subject toharassment, but we’ve seen the spontaneous solidarity of #illridewithyou in the wake of the Lindt Café siege. For Muslim women, episodes of community concern about their rights sit alongside racist stereotyping. Listen to Muslim women discuss their own priorities: how to fight sexism within Islamic communities; what happens when Islamophobia meets ever...more
The arrival of women in the workplace has changed the way society functions – whether we’re talking about jobs and career, bringing up kids, or relationships. Research tells us that while women’s responsibilities have shifted to include paid work, their male partners still don’t share equally in the work at home. In fact, men are often stuck at the office, expected to be the ‘ideal worker’ and to have fewer family demands on their time. Can men break this cycle? Do they want to? And will their w...more
Beyoncé is one. So is Daniel Radcliffe. The only woman in federal cabinet says she isn’t. At some point in the last few years, we began talking about public figures “coming out” as feminists. Others affirm their belief in “gender equality”, but don’t find value in the F-word itself. With so many conflicting ideas about what a feminist looks like – or, more crucially, what a feminist does – anyone curious about the modern women’s movement can have a hard time separating the signal from the noise....more
The global conversation about women’s lives has opened up, women’s voices are heard more than ever before, and social media has brought a huge range of public conversations to life. But when you can reach more people, there are more people to offend, and discussions are often curtailed by capital-O Outrage; a Twitter mob can descend on an unwitting provocateur in minutes. There are still some things that women want to say at home, at work and online that they know to keep to themselves if they d...more
A father drives his car across a highway and into a dam, his children in the back seat. They drown, he walks away. A writer sits through the trial of this ordinary man for the murder of his three young sons, and from this tragedy, Helen Garner creates a compelling story of Australian life and death: her new book, This House of Grief. What happened behind that wheel? Can it be explained or understood? As the legal process grinds on, she knits together a story of love, death and sadness that is i...more
Fighting forces have been some of the last all-male workplaces. The Australian Defence Force will remove all gender restrictions on combat roles from 2016 onwards, but there are no women in the senior leadership group, and of all personnel serving now, women are only about 14%. Women have gradually infiltrated the ranks, but the hurdles have been high: from scandals about the treatment of women, to the particular challenges of work-life balance. In 2013, a speech by the Chief of Army, Lieutenan...more
Everyone knows something needs to be done – but when facts are twisted to fit agendas, complex processes dumbed down for pop-science clickbait and research funding decimated, how on earth do we talk about how to save the earth? Legendary American marine biologist, Sylvia Earle speaks with environmental journalist and educator Simran Sethi about the environmental crises looming ahead - from the bottom of the oceans to the topsoil - and how to inspire people to get stuff done. Simran Sethi: Named...more
Born in Syria, moving to Detroit as a child, and running away to New York in her twenties to become a rock star: Rayya Elias built up a lifetime of stories by the time she was 25, and a few more in the decades after. Her brash, brutal memoir Harley Loco – probably the only book you’ll read this year titled after the author’s prison nickname – doesn’t stop there. Elias’s book stomps through a lifetime’s worth of self-discovery: identity in migrant communities, an addiction story with a happy end...more
Shakespeare wrote challenging, glorious roles for female characters well before women were allowed on stage. With often fewer lines than the men, Shakespeare’s women pack a dramatic punch, from cross dressing girls to bloodthirsty villains, and everything in between. Two Australian icons take the stage to discuss what 21st-century audiences want from 16th-century heroines. John Bell’s passion for Shakespeare resulted in an audacious idea 25 years ago, when he founded Bell Shakespeare - a theatr...more
When two young men lose their lives in drunken assaults in the space of a few weeks, governments declare ‘Enough is enough’, and enact strict regulation to prevent another incident. But despite one Australian woman being killed by a current or former partner every week, family violence doesn’t attract anywhere near an equivalent amount of airtime, or popular outrage. Rosie Batty awed Australians with her eloquence and compassion after her 11-year-old son Luke was murdered by his estranged fathe...more
With a background in journalism and philosophy, Yotam Ottolenghi was never going to be your average chef. Starting out as a pastry chef, Ottolenghi delicatessens and restaurants followed, as did cook books includingOttolenghi and Jerusalem, both with Sami Tamimi, Plenty, and his latest book Plenty More (Random House/Ebury Press). With his close-knit team of collaborators, he has created a style of food that is vibrant and bold, bursting with the flavours and spices of the Middle East, the Me...more
Sydney Writers’ Festival and Ideas at the House presents one of Australia’s finest writers Peter Carey. The only Australian to have twice won the Booker Prize, Peter speaks with Jennifer Byrne about his extraordinary career and new novel Amnesia. With uncanny timeliness, Amnesia explores the relationship between Australia and America, from the Battle of Brisbane to computer hackers, via the Dismissal, Pine Gap and the great Australian forgetfulness. Amnesia is Peter at his best: dark, funny, p...more
The case of David Hicks, incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay and described as one of the ‘worst of the worst’, brought up many issues that we are still dealing with today. As the ‘War on Terror’ gradually became a range of other conflicts, questions about what happens to citizens who fight in other countries and the role of the Australian Government in protecting their rights remain contentious. When the Bush Government set up the military commissions to deal with ‘unlawful combatants’, the military...more
The Art of Belonging advances the argument put forward in Mackay's bestselling The Good Life: a 'good life' is not lived in isolation or in the pursuit of independent goals; a good life is lived at the heart of a thriving community, among people we trust, and within an environment of mutual respect. Most of us struggle to reconcile our need to belong with our desire to live life on our own terms. If we want to master the art of belonging, we need to be able to manage the conflicts that arise in...more
Big stories and dangerous ideas sometimes can come our way because someone had an idea, and sat down and thought about it. But some important stories, can only be found in forbidding environments and with dangerous consequences. For Lydia Cacho, death threats have been the result of her reporting on violence against women in Mexico. Outspoken journalist Masha Gessen left Russia when changes to Russian law meant that her children might be taken away because she was gay. Climbing London’s tallest ...more
Noel Pearson is a lawyer and activist. Pearson shows how the idea of "race" was embedded in the constitution, and the distorting effect this has had. Now there is a chance to change it - if we can agree on a way forward.
Jeanette Winterson OBE is one of the most acclaimed authors of our time. Across novels, screenplays, essays and journalism, Winterson has taken risks and challenged us to think differently about identity and relationships.At fifteen, Winterson's love affair with another woman was discovered. She was condemned by her church, leading to her expulsion from the community and her decision to leave home. She worked odd jobs, from an ice-cream van driver to a funeral parlour make-up artist, supporting ...more
Author. Entrepreneur. Visionary. Arianna Huffington is one of the world’s leading businesswomen and most influential women in media. Born in Greece, Huffington moved to the US by way of Cambridge University in England, becoming a renowned broadcaster and nationally-syndicated columnist. In May of 2005, she launched the Huffington Post, which quickly became one of the most widely-read and -cited online media brands. Huffington was soon named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, an...more
Throughout history, the cultural forces that have repressed female sexuality have also created a picture of women as sexually passive and requiring protection from the rapacious desires they inspire in men. Women's sexuality has been denied in its totality, let alone their capacity to become paedophiles or predators. And where stories of women as sexual predators do emerge, attractive women are excused, painted as victims in the media, and become celebrity sex objects themselves rather than bein...more
Women, and their bodies, are for sale. You don’t have to go to Nigeria, where Boko Haram wants to sell kidnapped schoolgirls, to find women on the market. Throughout the world, women and children are trafficked and traded as workers in the multi-billion-dollar sex industry, and their bodies are bought by ‘consumers’ everywhere. In the West, ads for everything from clothing to cars feature scantily clad women to help turn a profit. Pornography, IVF, surrogacy and prostitution are very different t...more
For the past forty years there’s been a concerted effort to deny the growing evidence that marriage matters. Families with married parents are more likely to provide stable homes for children. Children in single parent families are less likely to thrive than those with two parents, particularly married parents. Family structure is one of the key factors in predicting the future lives of our children, yet most are still determined to ignore what they see as a most unpalatable truth. For all the t...more
There’s been great unease about the future of 'serious' investigative journalism since the eruption of the internet shook up the traditional newspaper model. What if it’s not just the money to support this journalism that’s gone? What if it’s the readers as well, too busy sharing cat videos and shark memes to think about real news? While new philanthropic models for journalism are emerging, and traditional journalism is working out how to survive, the cat video publishers might be the ones to sa...more
In the West, slavery is often seen as a dark part of the colonial past. Although it’s illegal in all countries, it remains alive and well—and is growing dramatically. Impervious to recession, it forms a thriving part of the globalised sex industry run by organised crime. International trafficking of women and children for sex is a multi-billion dollar business that won’t be anywhere near ‘abolition’ until those who make money from its operations and buy its services think again about what being ...more
John Pilger addresses the 'great Australian silence', applying it not only to the treatment of Indigenous people but to class, great power and the limits of public debate.What are the 'unofficial truths' that are often unmentionable in Australian 'mainstream' debate? The treatment of First Nations people is often presented in stereotypes while the majority deny the rapacious past, and present. In matters of class, Australia's cultivated image of a 'land of fair go for all' increasingly falls vic...more
Looking into the future, we can see the possibility of severe occurrences that threaten human extinction. Until recently, we haven’t taken this seriously and are therefore putting the future of humanity at risk. When looking at existential risk, there is a difference between natural disasters such as asteroids and the human-created risks inherent in the rapid advancements of areas like artificial intelligence and nanotechnology. No one wants to stop science, but if we want to create a sustainabl...more
We like to think of Australia as an egalitarian country where social mobility is real and the concept of equality is unchallenged. But the reality is that, along with our English speaking peers, we are in the top third of OECD countries in terms of economic inequality. This inequality is getting worse, and continues to influence education, health and housing. Accusations of ‘class warfare’ are thrown around to stop discussion whenever these topics are raised, but it’s time to ask if the class sy...more
Since it emerged from its disreputable romantic beginnings, the novel replaced history and poetry to become the most significant vehicle for storytelling and the transmission of cultural values. Readers were sent to the novel to cultivate their empathy, develop moral principles and explore ideas, and it survived the rise of film with its influence intact. But a new generation of television creators have taken our most popular medium and broken the shackles of format to create huge, rambling narr...more
At a time when the world is coming to grips with tragic fate of MH17, and looking for answers, it is more important than ever to discuss how to deal with Vladimir Putin and the Russian regime.It’s been 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, 23 years since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and 15 years since Putin came to power. During that time, Russia has gone from financial shock therapy to oligarchy to authoritarian energy superpower via the Chechen wars and the annexation of Crimea. S...more
While we’ve been focusing on the rise of women in the workplace, we have failed to notice the dramatic effect this has had on young men. Are we witnessing a male culture in profound decline? Young women are making more money, getting more education and are more reluctant to have children and settle down, while young men are drifting in ‘pre-adulthood’. Women want to win at work and expect equality at home, which doesn’t leave much room for the traditional male breadwinner role. Until young men c...more
What does the future hold? A reign of world peace with stunning medical breakthroughs conquering death, illness and disease? Or a world where human beings have destroyed the web of living things and put our own existence at risk by playing with science we don’t fully understand? Must we think in terms of these extremes to create a positive future or prevent disaster? Join a panel of brilliant optimists and pessimists to understand some of the amazing risks and opportunities that lie before us.Ti...more
With the threat of climate change and damage to other elements of the biosphere, we may be in the process of creating a world where human existence is marginalised and modern civilisation is crushed. Even if we manage to cling to the more hospitable corners of this grave new world, nuclear war, bioterrorism or malicious use of nanotechnology or artificial intelligence could render human beings extinct. From the point of view of the universe, human existence doesn’t matter. Are we doomed to come ...more
Surrogacy—or contract pregnancy—has become a global industry, growing at unprecedented speed. In India alone, this industry is valued at over US$450 million per year. Whereas the sex industry is increasingly targeted by legislators as exploitation, the surrogacy industry retains a rosy image. Helping an infertile couple to have a baby of their own is seen as a generous and compassionate gesture from a woman who can help: a sign of female empowerment and free will. In this way, everyone can have ...more
(In Russian with translation.) Pussy Riot became a global symbol of dissent in Russia with their idiosyncratic blend of feminist art and activism. When they were sent to prison, they became part of the extraordinary group of Russian writers, artists, and activists who have lived and died in the Gulag. Although the Gulags became ‘corrective labour colonies’ after Stalin’s death, what Pussy Riot members Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alekhina found were harsh physical conditions, slave labour, mal...more
Anyone who has written a book whose title refers to Australia as “The Stupid Country” is not afraid of the odd dangerous idea, and it turns out that Jane Caro has plenty. She is well-known as an advocate for public education, and as one of the instigators of ‘Destroy the joint’ on Twitter, taking a hatchet to sexism in Australia. But she doesn’t stop there, and will be bringing you dangerous ideas about atheism, schools, politics, men, women and advertising just for a start.Jane Caro is an Austr...more
Good governance is the buzzword of the day. Conventional wisdom has it that less corruption would translate into more economic growth, a healthier body politic and reduced likelihood of conflict. But what if this isn’t always the case? In Indonesia, patronage and corruption serve as the glue that keeps an otherwise fractious country together. Although there are cases where corruption has promoted conflict, in other instances it has helped restore peace in the country. A more nuanced and less ide...more
To try and avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change, 190 countries have committed to limiting global temperature increase to below 2°C. To achieve this, 60-80% of the world’s existing carbon or fossil fuel reserves need to stay in the ground. Nevertheless, billions of dollars of investments in coal, oil and gas have gone ahead, resting on the speculative bubble of climate change denial or delay. If these assets become stranded by climate action, their revaluation could trigger the n...more
More of us now live in cities than ever before, and the spaces we live in are increasingly governed by agendas of safety and security. Arguing against safety may seem counter-intuitive. However, a culture of safety brings limitations and fears that have the capacity to turn us into passive spectators in our own lives, especially in cities where high land values create dense areas of exclusion. Yet there is always a city within the city to explore. Underground and in the sky, the secret arteries ...more
The stories of Anders Behring Breivik and Lance Armstrong may seem to have little in common, but each shows the consequences of the epidemic of narcissism that marks our age. Our lives no longer centre on social and family groups, but have become highly individualistic. We are primed for narcissism by consumer culture, changing family dynamics and growing inequality. A society full of people who are self-obsessed, have a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others is not going to b...more
Life is painful. It's full of doubt and uncertainty. And it ends, in this world anyway, with death. For many, the antidote to this pain has been religion. The appeal is obvious: comforting stories, a clear sense of right and wrong and eternal life as the carrot at the end. Even New Atheists such as Alain De Botton have retrieved some of the comfort traditionally offered by the church. But has the church taken up the easy sell of "ending suffering" and promising answers to unanswerable questions....more
A legal figure like no other, Michael Kirby carefully trod the line between judicial impartiality and outspoken human rights advocacy throughout a distinguished thirty five year career that included thirteen years on the High Court of Australia. Watch as Kirby returns to Sydney Opera House to discuss his new and very intimate authorised biography Michael Kirby: Law, Love & Life.
Remote assistants respond to calls and emails. Life coaches assist with personal decisions. Smartphone apps tell us where to eat dinner. Nameologists help choose names for babies that will be raised by live-in au pairs.Welcome to an emerging world, where the individual is a client in every interaction. Traditional functions of family and friends have been replaced by hired help and consultants. It may save us time, what do we lose by handing over control of our personal lives to third-parties? W...more
In the course of his career, Geoffrey Robertson has been involved in many of the key human rights issues of recent history. In his session at the Opera House he talks about his latest book 'Mullahs without Mercy' which brings together his thinking about nuclear weapons and their dangers in the Iranian context, but also looks at the human rights record of the Iranian regime.
There are two Americas. In one, bankers get golden parachutes, insider traders return to society as well-paid consultants, and influence is for sale. In the other, opportunity is scarce and forgiveness scarcer, jail awaits those caught possessing recreational drugs, and cries for help are ignored. Society preaches forgiveness for the rich and retribution for the poor. Entrenched inequality and its companion, poverty, are the dark side of the American dream for a citizenry united by name, but not...more
One of the most extraordinary things about the history of sexuality has been the lack of evidence-based information about women's sexual needs and desires. From folklore to Freud, hysteria to penis-envy, women as sexual beings have been misunderstood, brainwashed, silenced and demonised. Daniel Bergner brings together all of the research on the topic, old and new, in a definitive and groundbreaking account of what we now know and understand about women's sexuality.
It's been more than 20 years since we first became anxious about sports shoes made in sweatshops, and yet cheap and fashionable clothing still seems like an unqualified good -- another gift of the globalisation boom years to consumers in developed countries. But as the recent factory fires in Bangladesh have reaffirmed, it's a gift that comes at a terrible cost not only to others but also to the environment. As we deal with guilt and the mountain of waste that 'fast fashion' produces, others dea...more
In 2010, journalist Jennifer Senior's magazine story, All Joy and No Fun, became an overnight sensation with its blunt declaration that parents love their children and hate their lives. Anyone who experiences or observes the agony and ecstasy of modern parenting knows that children bring both happiness and misery. We spend more time with our children, but feel guilty about the quality of our parenting and our children are more accomplished yet more depressed than ever before. What does it all me...more
When civil war broke out in Somalia in 1991, Elman Ali Ahmed became an ardent peace activist, spreading the mantra "put down the gun, pick up the pen" until his assassination in 1996. Three years ago, his 19-year-old daughter Ilwad Elman returned to Somalia and now runs the Elman Peace and Human Rights Center in Mogadishu with her mother, Fartun Adan. In a country ranked the fifth worst place in the world to be a woman, Ilwad and her mother work with victims of rape, and towards the rehabilitati...more
Egyptian-American journalist Mona Eltahawy has been one of the most visible reporters of the dramatic events in Egypt in recent years. In parallel with her coverage of revolutionary politics has been her call for social and sexual revolutions. Beaten, sexually assaulted and detained by riot police in Cairo in 2011, she called for a holistic campaign against sexual violence in Egypt. Her views on misogyny in the Arab world and what she describes as ' the Islamist hatred of women' have stirred con...more
The news is everywhere and we check it constantly - but what is it doing to our minds? A part of modern society that we take for granted, almost a replacement for religion, the news can be all consuming – but at what cost to the individual? Alain de Botton, bestselling author of Religion for Atheists and sell out success at the Opera House in 2012, dismantles our fixations and neuroses on a range of news categories in News: A User’s Manual. From politics to murders, from economics to celebritie...more
Drug taking has moved from being outlawed behaviour, seen only on the fringes of society, to a widely accepted activity, even when illegal. In Britain, for all the talk of a "war on drugs," no one ever tried to wage one. Instead, drug taking has become more and more legally and socially acceptable. We frame drug-taking as either a harmless diversion or, when taken to excess in the form of addiction, as an illness that needs to be cured. Regardless of the impact on physical and mental health, the...more
When natural resources like timber, water and mineral deposits can be extracted from ecosystems, they become assets with dollar values that can be bought and sold internationally and enable developing countries to grow and participate in the global economy. If growth is the key to emerging from poverty, then this might seem like a good thing. But what if these same resources being sold to richer nations come from an ecosystem that people depend on for their livelihood? What if new growth is actu...more
When someone commits a crime, we want them punished. If wrongdoers go to prison more often and for longer, everyone seems happy. But we live in a system where people do eventually come out of prison and rejoin the community. And this is where what has happened to them in prison really starts to matter. If prisons are a rank breeding ground for recidivism, where drug use is unchecked and non-violent offenders are initiated into the criminal world, do you want someone who has spent time there livi...more
In the US, 40% of women are out earning their partners; females are recipients of more -- and higher -- degrees than their male counterparts; and 75% of couples in fertility clinics are requesting girls over boys. While men once dominated thanks largely to their size and strength, this advantage has been eroded in a post-industrial society. Male-dominated sectors like manufacturing continue to decline in the West while health care and services where women dominate are in the ascendant. The boys ...more
Few people would argue with the wonders of connectivity, communication and access to infinite quantities of information that the Internet has enabled. But our understanding of the digital future is shaped by those who are making it, and they often have a vested commercial interest in a mass audience buying what they offer. If we take off our rose-coloured glasses, we see that the wonder-gadgets and techno-solutionism can become just another way to sell us things and if we're not the customer, we...more
There's a flaw in the way we choose our life partners. We pair up based (mostly) on preferences outside of the bedroom, and hope that what happens in the bedroom will match up. Infidelity is not the end of the world, it's a reality of long-term relationships. We accept the good and the bad when it comes to our partner's jobs, families, and failures, but quickly default to divorce when we yield to natural temptation. It's time to stop fooling ourselves and accept that outdated concepts of "proper...more
The latest science suggests that it is too late to prevent human-induced climate change. Technological optimists are now turning their minds to mitigation through techniques of geo-engineering, like giant space mirrors or seeding the oceans with iron to prompt carbon-absorbing algal blooms. But projects to alter the entire planet will expose all life to massive risk. So, why not address the source of the problem and engineer humans to reduce our environmental impact and adapt? Genetic engineerin...more
In the US, almost 40% of working wives out-earn their husbands. The proportion is smaller in Australia, but the trend is unmistakeably moving in the same direction. Join award-winning journalist and best-selling author Liza Mundy as she looks at the impact on relationships, families and institutions to come with this change, and considers whether the goal of feminisms, for equality, has actually prepared women for power and responsibility.
Superficial charm, a tendency to be bored easily, a lack of empathy and remorse, coupled with a grandiose sense of self-worth: these are the hallmarks of the psychopath. After a look at the world around us, some investigative journalism that took him to prisons and CEO offices, Jon Ronson came to the conclusion that not only do these qualities characterise some of the most successful people in all spheres of life, perhaps there is at least a bit of the psychopath in us all. Jon Ronson is a journ...more
The roles of governments and corporations in the future of the internet, and their use and abuse of data, have been put under the global spotlight. In the wake of Manning, Snowden and Wikileaks, we finally have the scope to properly debate the need for government transparency and the trade-off between privacy and security. Watch our expert panel discuss the implications of the war on whistleblowers for the main actors, and the consequences if that war is lost for the rest of us. US Journalist an...more
As political change sweeps the streets, parliaments and presidential palaces of the Arab world, Shereen El Feki has been looking at the upheaval inside the family home -- specifically, in the bedroom, and the sexual lives of Arab men and women. Sex is entwined in religion and tradition, politics and economics, making it the perfect lens for examining the region's complex social landscape. Shereen El Feki is an award-winning journalist with The Economist, and a broadcaster and writer who began he...more
Richard Holloway is a former Bishop of Edinburgh and acclaimed writer-commentator of books such as 'Goodness Morality.' Dubbed the 'barmy bishop' by UK tabloids and denounced by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Holloway was never a typical churchman, troubled by questions posed by life in the church. Holloway joins Ideas at the House to discuss his life and times both inside and outside the priesthood, as documented in his recent best-selling memoir, 'Leaving Alexandria.' Listen to Holloway share a...more
Declared a 'prophet' by TIME magazine, John Ralston Saul's critically acclaimed works have been translated into 22 languages in 30 countries, displaying a growing impact on world political and economic thought. A long-term champion of freedom of expression, watch John Ralston Saul in intimate conversation on the state of the world today; from economic stability, unemployment and poverty to inequality, racism, terrorism and fundamentalism.
She's been called the voice of her generation. The future of journalism. A style icon. A muse. Oh, and she's still in high school. Tavi Gevinson has gone from bedroom blogger to founder and editor-in-chief of website and print series, Rookie, in just a few years. Rookie attracted over one million views within a week of launching, and has featured contributors such as Lena Dunham, Thom Yorke, Joss Whedon, Malcolm Gladwell, and Sarah Silverman. Watch this inspiring talk as Tavi discusses adversity...more
Our economy is based on a model of constant growth - growth in production, growth in consumption, and growth in population. Economic growth has provided rising standards of living in the West, and has seen millions in China and India lifted out of poverty. But this model was disrupted in many countries by the global financial crisis. Will things settle down with growth resuming, or will our economies bump up against a wall of finite resources? And if they do, what will this mean the global balan...more
Recorded in 2011 and the beginning of the Arab Spring, Mona Eltahawy reflects on the hunger for freedom and democracy unleashed within Arab populations living under dictatorship. This is considered alongside questions about whether Saudi Arabia's oil makes western support for freedom and democracy melt away, and whether the west can't afford to prefer Arab democrats to Arab dictators. Mona Eltahawy is an award-winning columnist and international public speaker, renowned for her commentary on th...more
For over two decades, Michael Pollan has been opening our eyes to what we put in our body through books like 'Food Rules,' 'In Defense of Food,' and 'The Omnivore's Dilemma.' In this conversation with Rebecca Huntley, Pollan explores the ethical bonds that connect our bodies, farms and food to reveal what our food system has become and just how badly we need to fix it.
From our systems of government to our most intimate relationships, the idea that we determine our own thoughts and actions is fundamental. But neuroscience and psychology have begun to unravel the illusion of free will. What does this mean for our cherished notions of political and social freedom and our focus on individual choice and responsibility? Join philospher and neuroscientist Sam Harris, one of the celebrated "four horsemen of new atheism," as he tried to convince you that free will is ...more
Alan Ball is the wildly dark and inventine midn behind television's 'Six Feet Under' and 'True Blood,' as well as the critically acclaimed film 'American Beauty.' In one of his first ever solo public events, the Academy and Emmy Award-winning writer/producer/director/playwright is joined by Wil Anderson in a discussion of the origins and philosophy of Ball's work and outlook on life.
“It doesn't take remarkable insight to suggest that the defining idea of the coming decade will be the Internet,” says Peter Singer. The compression of time and space enabled by digital technologies is overhauling our traditional understanding of everything from community, identity, sexuality, and information accessibility. While the technology has brought huge advantages, there are still ethical questions that need to be addressed around piracy, censorship, and the place of outlets such as Wiki...more
Our lust for cheap animal protein and the intensification of factory farming make the torture and degradation of living creatures an integral part of our diet. To keep on enjoying those hamburgers and chicken wings, we lie to ourselves about what is happening in our names. Even as we claim the superiority of the human to the animal, we enjoy the prerogatives of the supreme predator and remain willfully blind to their consequences. What does being human mean under these circumstances? Jonathan Sa...more
In the late 90's, political theorists, economists and politicians were talking confidently about the end of history and the undisputed triumph of liberal "democratic" capitalism. Communism was written off as dead and buried. But after 9/11, the GFC, the Arab Spring, and the protests spreading over Europe, the ideological gloss of capitalism may be beginning to fade. If the alternative is Putin's muscular Tsarism or China's authoritarian capitalism, then renovating the idea of communism may matte...more
Has our invention and mastery of increasingly powerful technology turned humans into gods? From the destructive potential inherent in nuclear technology to the understanding of the building blocks of life represented by the sequencing of the human genome, our technologies have given us the power to create and destroy at a human and planetary scale. Futurist and filmmaker Jason Silva considers the responsibility inherent in this power, and the role these technological human-gods in our understand...more
Tim Harford is the best-selling author of 'The Uncover Economist' and 'The Logic of Life.' In his latest book, 'Adapt,' Harford argues that we need to rethink the conditions for making progress in science, business and society in a fundamental way: we need to lose our fear of failure, embrace opportunity, and take risks. We need to stop looking for leaders who provide us with safe answers, and stop punishing those with the courage to search for radical solutions. We need to understand that to ad...more
Dr. Jesse Bering is a psychologist and author of 'Perv: The Sexual Deviant' in all of us and 'Why Is The Penis Shaped Like That?' In his talk, Bering considers that while we may be much more comfortable with sexuality than our parents were, will we take the next step and acknowledge that we are all, in fact, sexual perverts?
Elizabeth Gilbert is the author of best-selling memoir 'Eat Pray Love,' a chronicle of Gilbert's travels around the world in search of healing and wisdom following a messy divorce. Gilbert appeared at Sydney Opera House in conversation with Caroline Baum about the pressures and expectations of commercial success, fame, and the inevitable question of what comes next.
Michael Palin’s comic exploits with Monty Python and in films such as 'A Fish Called Wanda' are the stuff of legend, but his recent adventures travelling and filming the world have won him a vast and loyal new following. Watch as Palin guides us – in his inimitable way – from his early acting career and comic exploits through to traversing the globe for his latest BBC TV series, 'Brazil'.
Joint Nobel Peace Prize winner and Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee delivers a powerful talk about harnessing the power of African women to affect change. Moving between the personal and the universal, Gbowee demonstrates the impact of misogynist laws on females and broader society, and the potential in embedded in often-disenfranchised women and girls. Watch the talk that drew tears and two standing ovations from a packed Sydney Opera House.
For former refugee and politcian Ayaan Hirsi Ali: "It is a matter of principle that women are free and equal". This means zero tolerance of cultural practices such as honour violence, forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM). In her talk, Hirsi Ali challenges the audience with questions such as whether multiculturalism is indifference disguised as tolerance, and what do Western feminists have to offer to the life and death problems of women from the developing world?
Martin Seligman is a bestselling author, world leading psychologist and expert adviser on wellbeing at the highest level of international public policy. According to Seligman, happiness is not the result of good genes or luck, and well-being is more than just the absense of ill-being. Real, lasting happiness comes from focusing on personal strengths and working with them to improve all aspects of your life. Watch as he speaks about everything from positive emotions and relationships to the polit...more
With the Delhi gang rape case in everyone's mind, focus on the specific situation of women in India and India's 'rape culture' were put into perspective by a US case in Steubenville Ohio where an unconscious girl was repeatedly assaulted and onlookers and participants posted images and film all over the internet. If rape happens everywhere, but 'rape culture' is specific to local circumstances, what needs to happen in Australia and everywhere to make it a thing of the past? Join our panel Kiran ...more
A recent survey of media coverage of the US Election showed that over 70% of print stories were written by men and less than 20% percent of coverage was of women, making women almost invisible at the highest levels in public life and in the media. But are there advantages to invisibility? If anonymity comes with the freedom to do and say what you want, does this mean that the power that comes with visibility isn't all that it is cracked up to be? Join our panel of authors Tara Moss, Nikki Gemmel...more
The mystique of 'leadership' is such that it has become the Holy Grail for anyone trying to understand why organisations succeed or fail. But being a leader is not something where there are a series of clear instructions to follow. Because it brings together the personal and the professional, finding out how to lead can be harder to explain but more satisfying than any of the other challenges that work or home throws up. Join our panel Maria Atkinson and Julie White (Chair: Judith Whelan).
While daughters can be a learning experience for fathers, mothers with feminist convictions sometimes fall into the trap of seeing their daughter as the next stage in the march towards 'liberation' or 'equality'. In an age of analogue parents and digital daughters, what do girls need from their parents? Join our panel Nigel Marsh, Maya Newell and Barbara Toner (Chair: Dannielle Miller).
Noam Chomsky is one of the most celebrated public intellectuals of our time. He is a linguist, philosopher, historian, and social commentator among other things, and author of books influential books such as 'Manufaturing Consent.' In this convesation with Mary Kostakidis, Chomsky addresses a range of questions on the theme of knowledge and freedom, covering areas such as linguistics, global politics, human rights, climate change, and the nature of democracy.
Alain de Botton is a best-selling author and one of the world's most celebrated philosophers. Watch as he discusses his latest book, 'Religion for Atheists,' about the parts of religion that he thinks atheists too often overlook.
Tom Stoppard is one of the world's greatest dramatists, with a body of work that includes 'Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead,' 'The Real Inspector Hound,' and 'Shakespeare in Love.' Watch Stoppard in conversation with Australian writer Jonathan Biggins at the Sydney Opera House.
Celebrated Edinburgh novelist Alexander McCall Smith is the creator of the No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, which has sold over a million copies in Australia. Smith is wise, witty, and full of observations on life and infectious good humour in this conversation at the Sydney Opera House.
Sir Terry Pratchett is best known for his Discworld series of comic fantasy novels that have been translated into 32 languages and sold 65 million copies. In 2007, he was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's and subsequently began a public discussion about the disease and physician-assisted suicide. Watch as Pratchett leads a lively discussion about his life and work.
Germaine Greer has been a recognisible public figure since the publication of her best-selling book, 'The Female Eunich.' Watch Greer deliver her speech on feminism in a global context as part of our mini-festival, 'The F-Word.'
Naomi Wolf is a leading feminist and best-selling author of books such as 'The Beauty Myth.' Watch Wolf deliver her speech on the direction and importance of feminism in the future as part of our mini-festival, 'The F-Word.'
'The F-Word' at Sydney Opera House was a day of discussion and debate about the state of feminism in a global context and its direction in and importance for the future. The event culminated in forum featuring keynote speakers Germaine Greer and Naomi Wolf, Australian writer and activist, and American journalist Eliza Griswold.
David Suzuki is a Canadian scientist and environmental activist. Watch Suzuki's profound and moving lecture as he shares a lifetime of lessons about our impact on the planet and his hope for the future.
This talk brings together a range of international and Australian experts to deiver both sides of the debate as they dissect recent events in the Middle East and consider what they mean for the future, including the prospect of peace.