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Talks & Ideas

Ideas to challenge, inform and inspire

The Sydney Opera House’s Talks & Ideas program showcases big ideas and extraordinary people, from Nobel Prize-winner Paul Krugman, scientist Stephen Hawking (via hologram), political leader Aung San Suu Kyi and French economist Thomas Piketty to artist Yoko Ono, lifestyle legend Nigella Lawson and film icon Jackie Chan. In addition to a year-round events, Talks & Ideas features the annual festivals All About Women and the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, together with its own successful podcast series, It’s A Long Story.

Talks & Ideas online extends the reach of live events with original content and recordings of its major events on the Talks & Ideas YouTube channel and on iTunes.

It's A Long Story
What makes someone succeed in changing the culture? Hamish Macdonald talks to Alicia Garza, Lionel Shriver and others about the moments that made them who they today.

Festival Of Dangerous Ideas

The Festival Of Dangerous Ideas was first presented by the Sydney Opera House in association with The Ethics Centre in 2009. Since then, this annual festival has  become a unique celebration of ideas that challenge the status quo and go against mainstream thought and opinion. With speakers from Australia and around the world converging on the Sydney Opera House for a weekend, the festival sees philosophers, comedians, artists, scientists and thinkers of all kinds take over every Opera House stage.

For audiences, the festival is a unique opportunity to experience bold ideas live and to engage with new and surprising worldviews. Whether it is counterintuitive propositions about drugs, new research on the brain, or the rise of robots, conversations at the festival bring the future to life.

Keynote speakers at the festival have included Paul Krugman, Salman Rushdie, Naomi Klein, Alicia Garza and Pussy Riot founders Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova.

Ann Mossop, Head of Talks & Ideas, introduces Pussy Riot at FODI 2014. Image: Daniel Boud
Henry Rollins on stage at FODI 2016.

It's A Long Story

It's A Long Story uncovers the formative moments from the childhoods and early careers of some of the world’s leading thinkers and culture creators. Extraordinary speakers come to share their ideas from the Opera House’s stages.  This series asks the questions ‘How did they get here?’ and ‘Why are these ideas important to them?’ This generates a series of fascinating and revelatory conversations.

The first podcast series made by the Sydney Opera House features spoken word performer Henry Rollins, the co-creator of the Black Lives Matter network Alicia Garza, author Lionel Shriver and former child soldier, now criminal lawyer and NSW Australian of the Year 2017 Deng Thiak Adut. The first season is hosted by Australian broadcast journalist Hamish Macdonald.

The second podcast series, which was recorded at Bingefest 2016, begins in March 2017. This will feature Lebanese-American composer and radio host Jad Abumrad, producer Julie Snyder, comedian Josh Thomas and more.

Listen on either iTunes or Stitcher

All About Women

A one day festival of talks and conversation, All About Women creates a platform for women thinkers and the discussion of ideas that matter to women. With a devoted audience and a vibrant atmosphere, it presents cutting edge ideas, challenging discussions and inspiring stories from around the world.

Speakers have included Nobel Peace Prize-winner from Liberia, Leymah Gbowee,  thinker Anne-Marie Slaughter, writers Roxane Gay and Helen Garner, activist Rosie Batty and artist Miranda July.

The festival began in 2013 with the aim of looking for ways to bring more women of ideas into public conversations. This has only become more important since then, as issues like violence against women, everyday sexism and the role women can play politics remain at the forefront of public debate.

Masha Gessen, Crystal Lameman, Mallory Ortberg, Anne Sherry and Ann-Marie Slaughter at All About Women 2016. Image: Prudence Upton

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