Tasmania: the Tipping Point?

18 February 2013

For many Tasmanians a darker reality lies behind the seductive tourism brochures showcasing the state's pristine wilderness, the gourmet magazine articles celebrating its burgeoning food culture, and the newspaper stories celebrating a world-leading art museum.

Tasmania ranks at or near the bottom among Australian states on virtually every indicator of socio-economic performance - including levels of employment, income, investment, education and health. This Tuesday's Sydney Ideas event has been inspired by the current edition of Griffith REVIEW, Tasmania: the Tipping Point? It asked thinkers and doers from Tasmania and beyond - including members of its extensive diaspora - to examine whether Tasmania has reached a 'tipping point'.

Since the arrival of David Walsh's Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart's northern suburbs, people have been championing Tasmania's potential as a test-bed for clever cultural, economic, environmental and social initiatives. Other observers have commented on what seems to be an embedded resistance to change.

The Sydney Ideas panel, chaired by Peter Thompson, includes some of the contributors to this special edition of Griffith REVIEW. They will discuss questions such as: Where does Tasmania's future lie? Has Tasmania reached a 'tipping point', politically, economically and culturally?


Professor Cassandra Pybus is an Australian Research Council Professorial Fellow at the University of Sydney. She is a writer and historian and the author of eleven books, including the controversial biography The Devil and James McAuley, which won the Adelaide Festival Award for Non Fiction in 2000, and Black Founders (2006). When not in Sydney or various United States cities she lives in Hobart. In 2013 she will be Leverhulme Visiting Professor in History at King's College London.

Natasha Cica is director of the Inglis Clark Centre for Civil Society at the University of Tasmania. In 2012 she was awarded an inaugural Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship. Natasha has worked as a lawyer, political adviser and policy analyst in Europe and Australia. She was the founding editor of and established the consultancy Periwinkle Projects. Her recent book is Pedder Dreaming: Olegas Truchanas and A Lost Tasmanian Wilderness (2011). Natasha has previously contributed to Griffith REVIEW Food Chain, Divided Nation and Webs of Power.

Jonathan West is director of the Australian Innovation Research Centre at the University of Tasmania. Its mandate is to research innovation performance, economic development, and public policy, and to encourage and support innovation in both the public and business sectors. He lives in Tasmania's Huon Valley. His essays 'A new globalisation' and 'More than a gift from the gods' have appeared in Griffith REVIEW editions 25 and 28.

Peter Thompson is a broadcaster, educator, author and communication consultant. He is a Fellow of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government where he teaches executive programs in communication strategy and adaptive change, risk and crisis communication and behavioural change. He presented ABC TV's Talking Heads- a program of intimate conversations about the lives of prominent Australians - for six seasons. His books include Persuading Aristotle and The Secrets of the Great Communicators. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Macquarie University's Department of International Communication.

Gleebooks will provide copies of Griffith REVIEW, Tasmania: the Tipping Point? for sale at the venue (RRP $27.95)

Event details

What: Tasmania: the Tipping Point? A Sydney Ideas talk, co-presented with Griffith REVIEW

When: 6pm, Tuesday 19 February

Where: Foyer, New Law Building, Camperdown Campus

Cost: Free event, registration required

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