The Season

Held just off campus in Chippendale’s Creative Precinct (a 5-minute stroll from Central) these lively panels will harness the energies of Humanities and Social Sciences thinking for issues that are important to all of us.

POST-TRUTH

Is Truth Dead? How to Be Informed: Navigating Post-Truth Cultures

SOCIAL MEDIA

Is This Working? How to Be Connected: Social Media and the News

Environment

Are Humans the Only Beings that Matter? How to Be Sustainable: Perspectives from the Environmental Humanities

HAPPINESS

Why So Sad? How to Be Happy: Metrics of Happiness and Depression

TEACHING

Are Teachers Obsolete? How to Teach: 21st century classrooms

SHAKESPEARE

To Be Or Not To Be? How to Be Cultured: Shakespeare & the Arts in the 21st Century






Why So Sad? How to Be Happy: Metrics of Happiness and Depression

Thursday, 23 November, 6:00pm - 8:30pm

We’ve never had it better and yet…

We live in an age where the world is, remarkably, the least violent it’s ever been. Global poverty continues its steady decline. Technology has streamlined our daily routines and medical breakthroughs occur at rates not seen before. Life is, by most metrics, easier and better than ever.

And yet in any one year, around 1 million Australian adults will suffer from depression. Why are we so depressed? How can we be happy? What exactly is happiness?

With Christmas just around the corner, what better time to reflect on the things that drive us and ask: are they the things that really matter?

Click here to register.

Dr Caroline West - Senior Lecturer in Philosophy

Dr Agnieszka Tymula - Senior Lecturer in Economics

Dr Tim Sharp - Speaker & Consultant, Writer & Coach


Where? Level 2, The Old Rum Store, Kensington Street, Chippendale Creative Precinct.

When? 6:00pm - 8:30pm

How much?
$15 Students
$20 USYD Alumni/Staff
$25 Friends

Ticket price includes drinks and canapés by the renowned chefs of Olio’s Restaurant

Enquiries? outside.thesquare@sydney.edu.au

Is Truth Dead? How to Be Informed: Navigating Post-Truth Cultures

Thursday, 4 May, 6:00pm - 8:30pm

THIS SESSION IS OVER

‘Is Truth Dead?’ has come and gone. But you can listen to a recording of the conversation here

The disregard for evidence.
The denial of accountability.
A contempt for experts.

Welcome to the era of post-truth.

When it comes to debating issues of great contemporary significance—whether carbon footprints or food supply, presidential campaigns or city planning, health policy or anti-terrorism—evidence and logic have begun to count for less. Facts, rational thought and expertise are losing out to emotions, personal hunches and prejudices.

Why is this happening? And why is it happening now? What constitutes ‘a fact’ in our contemporary worlds? How can we tell? Is truth dead?

Our expert panel, led by the faculty’s new Dean, Professor Annamarie Jagose, will examine the very real threats to justice, democracy and progress in this era of post-truth.

Prof. Nick Enfield - Chair of the Department of Linguistics

Dr Celine Van Golde - Associate lecturer in Forensic Psychology

Charles Firth - Cofounder and Managing Editor of The Chaser.

Is This Working? How to Be Connected: Social Media and the News

Thursday, 22 June, 6:00pm - 8:30pm

THIS SESSION IS OVER

‘IS THIS WORKING?’ HAS COME AND GONE. But you can listen to a recording of the conversation here

When was the last time you bought a newspaper? Last weekend? Last year? Can’t remember?

Most of us now hear about the news through social media; where stories, accurate or not, go viral within minutes and a new generation of digital influencers shape public opinion.

Facebook and the like have proven to be effective tools for organising activist movements: social media can inform and unite us to create meaningful protest.

It can also tear us apart.

Once trusted news outlets are now regarded with increasing levels of cynicism and suspicion. Outmoded business models have led to dwindling resources and newsrooms in freefall: editorial staff are routinely downsized as erstwhile readers retreat into their private social media bubbles. In the vacuum, alternative media groups have emerged, resetting the terms of mainstream news via the internet to accommodate ‘alternative facts’.

So who are the winners and losers in this era of free information? How do we feel about constant surveillance by both corporate and our own personal social media platforms? What are we getting in return? Are we really informed? Are we really connected?

Prof. Ariadne Vromen - Professor of Political Sociology

Dr Jonathon Hutchinson - Lecturer in Online Communication and Media

Shami Sivasubramanian - Social News Reporter and Multimedia Producer at SBS

Marcus Strom - Science Editor at the Sydney Morning Herald

Are Humans the Only Beings that Matter? How to Be Sustainable: Perspectives from the Humanities

Thursday, 27 July, 6:00pm - 8:30pm

THIS SESSION IS OVER

‘ARE HUMANS?’ HAS COME AND GONE. But you can listen to a recording of the conversation here.

We have the science. We know why things are bad (and how bad they really are). In most cases, we even have the technologies to do things differently.

So… why does environmental crisis persist?

Part of the problem lies in the way we talk about the environment. The language used is formal and opaque—carbon dioxide, emissions, biodegradables—disconnecting our daily lives from the realities of climate change, irreversible pollution and species extinction.

It’s also in how the majority of us have been conditioned to understand the environment as something separate; ignoring how thoroughly entangled and immersed everyday life is with the non-human.

Scientists can offer evidence but they can’t offer us the desire to change. The role of the arts and humanities here is crucial: through culture and politics we can begin to understand what is being lost and what that loss means.

Join our expert panel as they address the prickly myths surrounding the ways we live and offer ideas on how we can all truly be sustainable.

Prof. David Schlosberg - Professor of Environmental Politics; Co-director of the Sydney Environment Institute

Dr Astrida Neimanis - Lecturer of Gender and Cultural Studies

Dr Alana Mann - Chair of the Department of Media and Communications

To Be Or Not To Be? How to Be Cultured: Shakespeare & the Arts in the 21st Century

Thursday, 31 August, 6:00pm - 8:30pm

THIS SESSION IS OVER

‘TO BE?’ HAS COME AND GONE. But you can listen to a recording of the conversation here.

The 400-year anniversary of Shakespeare’s death was celebrated by many in 2016. But will he be celebrated with the same passion zeal in 2116?

The Bard’s relevance or decline—like that of the arts more generally—continues to be hotly debated. What is the point of reading or performing Shakespeare in 2017? How might theatre survive in a world where our culture is no longer determined by traditional art-forms? With the multitude of digital distractions jostling for our attention today, will we continue to attend the theatre, let alone Shakespeare, tomorrow? Really?

Join us for a frank discussion that will include one of our sharpest Shakespeare scholars and two of the country’s most important (and living!) playwrights.

Dr Huw Griffiths - Senior Lecturer, English
Alana Valentine - Playwright (Letters to Lindy, Ladies Day, Parramatta Girls)
Lachlan Philpott - Playwright (The Trouble with Harry, M. Rock, Silent Disco)

Are Teachers Obsolete? How to Teach: 21st century classrooms

Thursday, 12 October, 6:00pm - 8:30pm

THIS SESSION IS OVER

‘ARE TEACHERS?’ HAS COME AND GONE. But you can listen to a recording of the conversation here.

Google, Wikipedia, YouTube.

At a time when anyone with a smart phone and an internet connection can access vast sums of information within seconds: how relevant are teachers today? And, what about tomorrow?

The proliferation of social media and technology in student’s lives has changed classrooms irrevocably: knowledge is now beyond the control of educational institutions and those running classrooms. Are our universities, schools and teachers adequately prepared for the 21st century? What role, if any, can they play in addressing the concerns faced by young people in shifting and uncertain times? How can we prepare educators for a lifetime of preparing young people for their future worlds?

Prof. Michael Anderson - Professor of Education (Arts and Creativity)

Donna Loughran - Principal, Doonside High School

Matt Esterman - Teaching and Learning Integrator, Trinity Grammar School

Eddie Woo - Head Teacher Mathematics, Cherrybrook Technology High School