29th March 2022

Who are we now? Beyond Disrespect in Disagreement (UK/Australia Season) 29 March

This event is part of the UK/Australia Season.

The UK/Australia Season is a major new cultural exchange celebrating the diverse and innovative artist communities and cultural sectors of each nation. A collaboration between the British Council and the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, The Season is a vibrant programme spanning theatre, film, visual arts, dance, design, architecture, music, literature, higher education and a public engagement programme.

Designed to strengthen and build cultural connections, the Season theme is “Who Are We Now?” and will reflect on our history, explore our current relationship, and imagine our future together. The Season launched in both countries in September 2021.


Who are we now? Beyond Disrespect in Disagreement – to Strengthen Civil Society

How can Australia and the UK share strategies to advance challenging conversations on hot-button topics? How do we value and protect dissent?

As the world steps through the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, we also face dramatically escalating crises around armed conflict, climate change, and post-colonial and intersectional identities.  Through legacy and social media, political leaders and influencers often inflame – not inform – challenges around complex situations.  Increasingly, disagreement is personalised and abusive. Genuinely wicked problems are stripped of context and nuance.  Binary thinking is back.

Join an interdisciplinary panel of experts from Australia and the UK exploring strategies to build capacity in civil society – to build safer spaces for difficult conversations.  Do cultural interventions have a special role to play?  Can digital innovation help us collaborate more constructively? How can we support more effective and reflective dialogue – to advance our common humanity?

Please check local geographical time zones.

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  • Dr Natasha Cica is director of consultancy Kapacity.org. She is a former CEO of Heide Museum of Modern Art, and established the Inglis Clark Centre at the University of Tasmania. Natasha has been recognised by The Australian Financial Review as one of Australia’s 100 Women of Influence and was an inaugural Sidney Myer Creative Fellow
  • Angie Abdilla – Founder and CEO of Old Ways, New
    Professor Angie Abdilla is a palawa-trawlwoolway woman. She is the founder and CEO of Old Ways, New and works with Indigenous knowledges and systems in the design of places, experiences and deep technologies. As a consultant, she works as a designer; as a published researcher, she presents topics such as human technology interrelations and Indigenous design in the built environment. She is a member of the Global Futures Council on Artificial Intelligence for Humanity as part of the World Economic Forum, co-founded the Indigenous Protocols and Artificial Intelligence working group, and is a Professor at the University of New South Wales
  • Javaad Alipoor is an artist, writer and Artistic Director of The Javaad Alipoor Company based in Manchester.  He is a former ACE Changemaker and was Resident Associate Director at Sheffield Theatres.  He was a founding member of the International Alliance in Support of Iranian workers and the Syria Solidarity Campaign, and the Bradford-based pro EU Migrant Organisation.  His writing about international politics, cultural policy and art has been featured in The Guardian, The Independent and The Stage.  His plays are published by Oberon, and his poetry by Art in Unusual Places.
  • Jennifer Higgie is an Australian writer who lives in London. Her latest book, The Mirror & The Palette: Rebellion, Resilience and Resistance: 500 Years of Women’s Self Portraits is published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson. She is currently working on a book about women, art and the spirit world. She also writes screenplays
  • Professor Desmond Manderson is Director of the Centre for Law, Arts and Humanities at the ANU College of Law at The Australian National University.  His work explores questions of law and justice through music, literature, history, philosophy, and art. He is a popular media commentator across a wide range of topics including drug policy, terrorism, music history, food and contemporary art. Professor Manderson has collaborated with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the National Library of Australia, the Australian National Gallery, Heide MOMA and The Street Theatre.

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