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Differing views: valuing disagreement

What does it mean to “disagree well” within academia?
This talk is part of our 'Cultural Conversations' event series, which explores the importance of disagreeing well.

Respect and integrity are accepted and practiced as vital to the life of the University. They are valued for their contribution to research and teaching excellence, to our engagement with the public realm and with each other.

This panel session considers different forms of deliberation, communication, and debate within the academy, often along disciplinary lines. How do, can and should academics and professional staff “disagree well”? Why does this matter and what impact, if any, might this have on public debate in the wider community?

This event was held on Tuesday 18 September at The University of Sydney.

The Speakers:

  • Professor Joellen Riley is Dean at the University of Sydney Law School, holds degrees in law from the Universities of Sydney and Oxford, and has been teaching and researching in the field of employment and labour law since 1998. She studied law after a number of years as a financial journalist, and spent some time in commercial legal practice before joining the University of Sydney. Her academic career includes some years on the staff of the Law Faculty of the University of New South Wales, where she taught principally in corporate and commercial law. Joellen is a Fellow of the Commercial Law Association.
  • Professor Celine Boehm joined the University of Sydney in January 2018 and is only the second woman to be Head of School for Physics in the school’s history. As an astroparticle physicist, Professor Boehm has worked around the world, most recently as Chair of Physics at the Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology at Durham University, in the UK, for seven years and has previously held academic positions in physics at the Laboratoire d’Annecy-le-Vieux de Physique Théorique in France, CERN in Switzerland, and Oxford University in the UK. She has been on the board of numerous national committees in the UK and France, including for the Institute of Physics in the UK, and the major funding body in France: Agence Nationale pour la Recherche. She has also been a grant proposal reviewer for funding bodies in Ireland, Spain, Chile, USA, Switzerland, UK and France.  Science communication is also an area that Professor Boehm has made significant contributions to including doing a TEDx talk at Durham University, speaking at Pint of Science in the UK, giving tours of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Switzerland, and running many public engagement science activities across Europe.
  • Payne-Scott Professor David Schlosberg is Professor of Environmental Politics in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney, and Co-Director of the Sydney Environment Institute. He is known internationally for his work in environmental politics, environmental movements, and political theory – in particular the intersection of the three with his work on environmental justice. 
  • Kirsten Andrews is the Director of Media and Government Relations at the University of Sydney.  She began her career at The University of South Australia where she worked in advisory roles to the Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Vice-Chancellor and in public affairs.  Prior to her current role, she worked as National Media Communications Manager for the National Heart Foundation and spent ten years serving as a political adviser, including as Chief of Staff to the Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Deputy Director of Communications to the NSW Premier and media adviser to two Federal Leaders of the Opposition.  Kirsten holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies (Hons) from the University of South Australia and a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Sydney.  She recently completed a residential leadership course at the London School of Economics.

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