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Sydney Ideas

Because great minds don't always think alike
Sydney Ideas has been sharing a belief in the value of ideas that make a difference by bringing leading thinkers from Australia, and around the world, to the Sydney community since 2006.

Sydney Ideas is the University of Sydney’s public events program. We open the doors of the University's teaching and research to the whole community. Since 2006 we have held more than 700 events - most of which were free - for more than 120,000 attendees.

If you missed one of our events, we make most of them available as podcasts on Soundcloud and iTunes. Make sure you sign up to our newsletter to find out what's on first, and keep up with everything we're up to on Twitter and Facebook.

Peace on the Peninsula? The origins and implications of North Korea’s diplomatic offensive

  • Tuesday 19 June
  • A panel of experts explores the origins and implications of Kim Jong-un’s recent diplomatic activism from North Korean, US, and Chinese perspectives.


  • Tuesday 26 June
  • Professor Kevin McDonald presents case studies with a university student, a computer hacker, and a former drug dealer to demonstrate different radicalisation experiences.

Making the new energy system fair

  • Monday 2 July
  • This event will discuss the importance of building a new energy system that is fair to all, and what a truly progressive energy system might look like going forward.

Dogs helping people: in families, hospitals, colleges and at work

  • Monday 2 July
  • Some studies show dog owners are happier. Could having a dog indeed help people in their day-to-day lives?

What does it take to achieve choice and control for people with disabilities?

  • Wednesday 11 July
  • Two distinguished speakers, Professor Tom Shakespeare and Sue Salthouse, will address issues surrounding the National Disability Insurance Scheme and what it takes to achieve control and choice for people living with disabilities.

Gaza: Settler-colonialism and War

  • Monday 16 July
  • Join Assistant Professor and human rights attorney Noura Erakat to explore the nature of post-nationalistism in the Palestinian struggle for freedom.

What can philosophy do?

  • Tuesday 17 July
  • Join Professor Amie Thomasson for a discussion of the state of philosophy today, and to ask the question: what can philosophy still do that is useful and relevant?

Cultural Conversations: A cultural backlash?

  • Thursday 19 July
  • Our new series of events explores the importance of disagreeing well. In the first forum in the series, an expert panel will discuss the rise of the cultural backlash in public life and the challenges that ensue.

The past and future of international thinking

  • Monday 23 July
  • Join us for a discussion on international thinking, through the lens of politics, law and history, and an examination of how the rise in nationalist sentiment affects international collaboration and institutions.

Language and Indigenous Community Well-being

  • Thursday 26 July
  • From Australia, to Pakistan, to the Phillipines, this talk will examine the ways in which language plays a role in Indigenous community wellbeing.

How can investigative journalism projects change the world?

  • Monday 30 July
  • This event will bring together journalists, reporters and editors to discuss the power of investigative journalism, and how good journalism can change the world.

Is storytelling bad for science?

  • Tuesday 31 July
  • A Sydney Ideas event for Innovation Week 2018, exploring the possibility that storytelling is exactly what science needs, with a view to answering the question: Is storytelling bad for science?

Art and neuroplasticity: are they linked?

  • Wednesday 1 August
  • A Sydney Ideas event for Innovation Week 2018, bringing together medical researchers focusing around both ends of the demographic spectrum - youth mental health and dementia and art practitioners to consider these question and more.

The find of the century for archaeology?

  • Friday 3 August
  • In the 2018 Tom Austen Brown lecture, Dr Mark Collard, an evolutionary anthropologist, argues that comparative ethnology – comparing and contrasting the features of large samples of human societies – should be a key archaeological tool.

Tibet: Life on the Frontlines of Climate Change

  • Monday 6 August
  • Hear about the role of nomads in protecting Tibet's environment, and the importance of traditional knowledge and practices in responding to climate change.

Bla(c)kness in Australia

  • Tuesday 7 August
  • Join us for the launch of the special issue of the magazine Transition on "Bla(c)kness in Australia", bringing together the voices and artwork of diverse Bla(c)k writers, artists, poets, and scholars in Australia.

The future of cancer: can we find a cure?

  • Monday 13 August
  • Hear from a panel of experts responding to the question: How will cellular therapy, immunotherapy, personalised medicine, and the use of big data impact cancer treatments?

Jellyfish behaving badly?

  • Tuesday 14 August
  • They dazzle us, terrify us, nourish us, and fascinate us. They can seem utterly otherworldly, and yet they’re among the more ancient species to inhabit earth. And because of rising ocean temperatures, they are moving.

The end of time: the future history of the universe

  • Thursday 16 August
  • Join us for a cosmic journey through space and time, through galactic collisions and hyperactive black holes, and onto the death of the last star.

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Each month we'll send you details about upcoming events, and a selection of podcasts.

Contact us

  • Lvl 2, Services Bldg (G12) The University of Sydney NSW 2006
Media enquiries
All media enquiries regarding Sydney Ideas guests should be directed to the Media Office on +61 2 8627 0246.