The Season



#MeToo

#MeToo: Male privilege on notice

Populism

Populism: Have Australian politicians caught the bug?

Ethical AI

Ethical AI: Are robots our friends?

Racism

Stories and Racism in Australia: What if you’re not white?

Cybersecurity

Hackers, Breaches, Bots: How well do you understand the internet?

Housing

The Big Bubble: Will the Australian housing crisis ever end?






Populism: Have Australian politicians caught the bug?

Thursday 5th of July, 6-8pm

A populist: a political leader who supports the concerns of ordinary people.

In many western democracies, populist politicians seem a welcome alternative to a style of political representation increasingly removed from public realities.

But in recent years we have seen an ugly form of populism emerge and gather force, a leadership based on rhetorical appeals to popular fantasies, untruths and prejudices.

Putin, Duterte, Le Pen, Brexit, Italy’s Five Star Movement and, of course, Donald Trump: populism seems contagious in its spread across the world

After years of revolving door leadership, a historically fractious parliament and an electorate increasingly fed up with a lack of meaningful change, is Australia at risk of catching the bug?

One for the political junkies and those who would like to be better informed. Join our experts as they analyse the populist epidemic and take the temperature of Australia’s current political climate.

Speakers:
Associate Prof. Anika Gauja - Government and International Relations
Dr David Smith - American Politics and Foreign Policy, United States Studies Centre
Lane Sainty - Reporter, Buzzfeed

Thursday 5th of July, 6-8pm
The Old Rum Store, Chippendale

Purchase tickets here

Ethical AI: Are robots our friends?

Thursday 2nd of August, 6-8pm

There is consensus that artificial intelligence (AI) will shortly change our world beyond recognition, radically reorganising relations between humans and machines. But is this a good or a bad thing?

On the one hand, AI is rapidly delivering great benefit to humans—through the minimisation of dangerous or boring tasks; and the removal of human error as seen in algorithmically driven medical diagnoses or the swift analysis of complex legal and financial documentation.

On the other, AI threatens mass unemployment across the blue-and white-collar divide as the distribution of new wealth consolidates inequality. In a disrupted world, in which individuals are increasingly reliant on machines, human psychologies and morals are tested and the very notion of what it is to be human breaks down.

Join the great AI debate as two pro-robot experts take on one very sceptical philosopher—are robots our friends?

Speakers:
Prof. David Braddon-Mitchell - Philosophy
Prof. Salah Sukkarieh - Robotics and Intelligent Systems
Alice Klein - Australasia reporter, New Scientist

Thursday 2nd of August, 6-8pm
The Old Rum Store, Chippendale

Purchase tickets here

The Big Bubble: Will the Australian housing crisis ever end?

Thursday 13th of September, 6-8pm

For the better part of a decade, some commentators have warned that we are living in a real estate bubble that will inevitably and—very shortly—burst. But as housing prices continue to soar and wages stagger behind inflation, others argue that the historical upward trend in house prices will prevail.

While this endless speculation about the future of the real estate market has become something of a national pastime, a stark political-economic reality has emerged: home ownership is no longer affordable for most Australians.

As young adults defer leaving the family home, as the size of mortgages proportional to salaries puts pressure on standards of living, as a generation of young Australians are consigned to ‘permanent renter’ status, realities once thought unimaginable in this country are becoming the norm.

Our expert panel—a sociologist, an urban planner and a young economist—will interrogate the affordability crisis and offer new ways of thinking about how we could live better.

Speakers:
Associate Prof. Melinda Cooper - Sociology
Prof. Peter Phibbs - Architecture, Design and Planning
Eliza Owen - Commercial Research Analysis, CoreLogic

This event appears as part of the 2018 Festival of Urbanism.

Thursday 13th of September, 6-8pm
The Old Rum Store, Chippendale

Purchase tickets here

Hackers, Breaches, Bots: How well do you understand the internet?

Thursday 11th of October, 6-8pm

Although we understand that nation states wage digital warfare against each other and online profiteers trade data on the darkest corners of the web, we mostly go about our daily business online as if these matters are of no concern to us.

We pay bills, receive news, hail transport, buy clothes, organise holidays and share photos without a second thought. The price of such convenience is that we leave trails of private information across the near-infinite and anonymous expanse of the internet.

But after a string of high-profile data scandals and decades of passive internet use, an unsettling realisation has finally reached public consciousness: we’ve never really understood the internet.

What are businesses and social media platforms allowed to do with their users’ profiles? How can governments influence the election outcomes of other countries? The repercussions for a society that increasingly relies on the online exchange of information and the use of digital technology are massive and many.

Our panel of experts—a cybersecurity analyst, a media scholar and a white-hat hacker—will provide a sobering analysis of the state of the internet today and explain the unintended consequences of our online behaviour.

Speakers:
Dr Frank Smith III - International Security Studies
Dr Benedetta Brevini - Communication and Media
Alex Hogue - Senior Intelligence Analyst, Atlassian

Thursday 11th of October, 6-8pm
The Old Rum Store, Chippendale

Purchase tickets here

Stories and Racism in Australia: What if you’re not white?

Thursday 22nd of November, 6-8pm

When accurately and compassionately told, stories have the potential to create relations of empathy between dissimilar cultures and people.

Yet this potential, argues Indigenous author Mykaela Saunders, is dependent on an audience’s willingness to listen and its capacity for change when the story ends. It also depends on who’s telling the story.

The uncomfortable reality is that the stories given precedence in mainstream Australia are often tied to foundational narratives that rely on false beliefs and dangerous myths to maintain the privilege of whiteness.

This session will make us rethink what counts as a good story. Working from the periphery, it will value the perspectives of those often diminished by mainstream cultures, acknowledging and celebrating the hidden stories that might yet challenge assumptions and stereotypes perpetuated in our classrooms, workplaces and media.

Join the discussion as our speakers dismantle the harmful narratives that purport to represent Indigenous and refugee communities in Australia, offering in their place powerfully transformational stories from non-white story-tellers.

Speakers:
Prof. Sujatha Fernandes - Political Economy and Sociology
Murray Kamara - Community Advocate
Third speaker - TBA

Thursday 22nd of November, 6-8pm
The Old Rum Store, Chippendale

Purchase tickets here

#MeToo: Male privilege on notice

THIS SESSION IS OVER

But you can listen to a recording of the conversation here.

It’s been 6 months since Hollywood actress Alyssa Milano urged other women to share their experiences of sexual harassment online. Like a raging forest fire, #MeToo went from a spark to a blaze, burning down the reputations and careers of prominent, predatory men while resetting expectations about professional and personal relations between men and women.

A feminist awakening for many, #MeToo has transcended its social media moment and become a sustained movement. Women's rights, equal pay, sexual consent and sexual harassment are all part of the mainstream conversation in 2018.

But where to from here?

Along with our audience, our speakers—an activist journalist, a businesswoman, and a labour barrister—will take stock of #MeToo; the way it leveraged new and legacy media; and why Australian law and culture, as both currently stand, might prevent it from reaching its full, paradigm-breaking potential.

Speakers:
Nina Funnell - Journalist
Shivani Gopal - Founder, The Remarkable Woman
Kellie Edwards - Barrister, Greenway Chambers

Thursday 31st of May, 6-8pm
The Old Rum Store, Chippendale