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Upcoming events

Panels, forums, talks and more
Sydney's most diverse range of free talks, forums, lectures, panels and debates.


Stem cell therapy: the good, the bad, and the ugly

  • Thursday 20 September, 6 - 7.30pm 
  • An expert panel examines the evidence of stem cell research, a hot field in medical science that holds much promise, but is also prone to scandal and fraud. Booked out.

Professional obligations in an age of climate change

  • Monday 24 September, 6 - 7.30pm
  • 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.  Booked out.

Why the Large Hadron Collider is a game changer

  • Tuesday 25 September, 6.30 - 8pm
  • Theoretical physicist Peter Skands takes us on a tour of the experiments performed at The Large Hadron Collider (LHC).  Book now.

How Australia can save democracy for the world

  • Thursday 4 October, 6 – 7.30pm
  • Is living free of cynicism and contempt the key to success? In this inaugural Sydney Policy Lab lecture, Marc Stears argues that it is possible for democracy to thrive but only if people act to save it. Book now.

Planet versus profit: striking a balance

  • Thursday 4 October, 6 – 7.30pm
  • What is the role of Australia in sustaining our region's seas, skies and soil? A panel of experts will examine the role and responsibilities in balancing environmental sustainability and economic growth in Southeast Asia. Book now.

Fighting Truth Decay: how to navigate health in a post-truth world

  • Wednesday 10 October,  6 – 7.30pm
  • On the eve of World Obesity Day, join us to unravel the role of corporate interests in influencing public perception of science, particularly health research. Book now.

Reading and writing slowly in a digital age

  • Monday 15 October, 6 – 7.30pm
  • Data and opinion often takes priority over soulful reading and writing in the digital age, but what are the costs of this need for speed and what benefits can we gain from it? Book now.

Is art more truthful than science?

  • Tuesday 16 October, 8:15 – 9:15pm
  • Australian dramatist Alana Valentine, cosmologist Geraint Lewis, poet Tricia Dearborn and physicist Zdenka Kuncic explore some home truths as they face off for a lively debate about the authenticity of art and science. Book now.

Sydney Asian Art Series: Boxes Fit for Kings

  • Wednesday 17 October, 6 - 7:30pm
  • Gilded glass bottles blown in India, porcelain flasks produced in Japan. This lecture follows these intriguing items from their diverse places of manufacture to their points of distribution and demonstrates their strategic power as bestowals. Booked out.

Building Food Utopias: Voice, Power and Agency

  • Wednesday 17 October,  6 - 7.30pm 
  • A panel, featuring international expert Eric Holt-Gimenez, explore how social movements across the globe are transforming systems for food and farming sustainability. Booked out.

Hope on the horizon for Indigenous youth mental health

  • Tuesday 23 October, 6 – 7.30pm
  • Join us as a panel of community heroes discuss their approaches to tackling youth mental health challenges in the 21st century. Book now.

The Birth of State in Greater Mesopotamia

  • Tuesday 23 October, 6.30 - 8pm 
  • Professor Marcella Frangipane shares important new insights into the birth of early state societies in the greater Mesopotamian world. Book now.

Why island nations' isolation on the climate change threat must end

  • Wednesday 24 October, 6 – 7.30pm
  • Climate change is a serious problem for Pacific Island nations, who often battle flooding, coastal erosion and rising sea levels on their own. How can industrialised nations like Australia assist them? Book now.

Visionary realities: documentary cinema in 20th century China

  • Wednesday 24 October, 6 – 7.30pm
  • This talk uses documentary cinema to investigate the intertwined histories of media technology, social practice and political contention in China's 20th century. Book now.

Is there anything wrong with medicinal cannabis?

  • Monday 29 October, 6.30 - 8pm
  • An expert panel addresses the challenges faced by patients, researchers, doctors and regulators in Australia and around the world. Book now.

Why climate change law is a hot debate

  • Tuesday 30 October, 6 – 7.30pm
  • Australia needs imaginative thinking and ‘hot’ law, if we're to catch up with the rest of the world on climate change law. Book now.

Meet a living legend: Bruce Beresford

  • Wednesday 31 October, 6 – 7.30pm
  • Hear award-winning director Bruce Beresford (Ladies in Black, Driving Miss Daisy) discuss his impressive 50-year journey in cinema, from Australia to Hollywood, and his creative processes and philosophy on film, in this in-conversation event with Dr Bruce Isaacs. Book now.

Postgraduate Study and Research Week

  • Monday 10 – Friday 14 September
  • Whether you want to gain new professional qualifications, change your career direction or pursue a personal ambition, our courses will steer you to places you never imagined. Join us for a series of events to find out about honours, research and master’s degrees. 

Sydney Underground Film Festival

  • Thursday 13 – Sunday 16 September
  • The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is partnering with the Sydney Underground Film Festival to bring you a range of unique, quality independent and experimental films that challenge the conservative conventions of filmmaking. 

Outside the Square: Will the Australian housing crisis ever end?

  • Thursday 13 September
  • 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.

Artificial intelligence: fantasy versus reality

  • Wednesday 19 September
  • Artificial intelligence has been fascinating and terrifying audiences since John McCarthy first coined the term in 1955. Join our panel of experts as they weigh-in on Hollywood’s portrayal of machine learning and it's real-world applications.

Odysseus, Emotional Intelligence and the Plot of the Odyssey

  • Wednesday 10 October
  • Odysseus, hero of Homer's Odyssey, is remembered primarily for his ability to think his way out of difficult situations. But his problem-solving ability is not his only cognitive attribute. This public talk begins with a brief discussion of what is referred to today as emotional intelligence and its scope. Professor Elizabeth Minchin then observes how the poet, through his narrative, reveals this ability in Odysseus: his emotional intelligence serves the hero well in some social situations but (as happens to us all) fails him in others.

Outside the Square: How well do you understand the internet?

  • Thursday 11 October
  • What are businesses and social media platforms allowed to do with their users’ profiles? 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.

Raising the Bar 2018

  • Wednesday 17 October
  • Join us on for Raising the Bar 2018, which will see 20 University of Sydney academics take their research out of the lecture theatre and into our city. Can’t wait that long? You can also listen to all the talks as podcasts on SoundCloud or via iTunes.

Roland Barthes and James Bond: Encounters with Japan

  • Friday 2 November
  • Discover the surprising similarities between the universe of Roland Barthes and the fantastical world of James Bond, with a focus on four key topics: sex, violence, haiku and the alleged topsy-turvy dimension of Japan. 

Outside the Square: Stories and Racism in Australia - What if you’re not white?

  • Thursday 22 November
  • 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.