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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.

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.

War and the modern world

  • Monday 6 August
  • Canadian historian Professor Margaret MacMillan draws out the paradoxes of war and peace since the end of WWI.

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 shameful history of Armenian genocide

  • Thursday 9 August
  • Professor Taner Akcam will reflect on the history of Armenian genocide and other nations refusals to accept responsibility for the atrocity, more than a century later.

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 promise (and threat) of algorithms 

  • Wednedsay 15 August
  • Professor Frank Pasquale, an expert on the law of artificial intelligence, algorithms and machine learning, proposes solution to questions over some aspects of algorithmic ordering of information.

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.

The Future of Building

  • Thursday 16 August
  • Leading national and international experts discuss and propose the necessary shift in the way we think about building to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

Do we have a right to psychological privacy?

  • Tuesday 21 August
  • In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, we ask the question - do we need a new right not to be "known" by our data? 

Being Collected: Insights into Repatriation

  • Monday 27 August
  • Assistant Curator, Indigenous Heritage, Matt Poll, brings together Aboriginal people working in community, museum and Government sectors to reflect on their experiences.

Sydney research goes full scale for Shakespeare: the Popup Globe

  • Tuesday 28 August
  • The Popup Globe, currently under construction for its upcoming season of Shakespeare performances in the Entertainment Quarter at Moore Park, is closely based on landmark research done at the University of Sydney.

Taking the long view on out-of-home care

  • Wednesday 29 August
  • This expert panel, featuring Emeritus Professor Harriet Ward, will explore the contribution of longitudinal research in understanding the impact on vulnerable children and families.

Voices from the ashes

  • Thursday 6 September
  • An esteemed panel will discuss how the testimony of Holocaust survivors is used today and the problems, questions and opportunities it presents to people grappling with the legacy of the Holocaust.

Brexit, ethnic populism and the end of the British empire as we know it

  • Monday 10 September
  • For the 2018 J.M. Ward Memorial Lecture, Professor Bill Schwarz will discuss the fallout from Brexit and the evolution of a new English nation.

Professional obligations in an age of climate change

  • Monday 24 September
  • Are our ethical codes and standards doing enough to slow down climate change? This panel will consider these and other profound questions facing all professionals in the age of global warming.

The Birth of State in Greater Mesopotamia

  • Tuesday 23 October
  • Professor Marcella Frangipane shares important new insights into the birth of early state societies in the greater Mesopotamian world.

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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.