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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 philosopher Alain de Botton, scientists such as Stephen Hawking and Michael Mosley to lifestyle legend Nigella Lawson, artist Yoko Ono, journalist Ira Glass and podcast hero Jad Abumrad.

In addition to year-round events tackling the big questions of our time, the Sydney Opera House Talks & Ideas program features annual festivals All About Women, Antidote and its own successful podcast series, It’s A Long Story

An extensive back catalogue of our events and festivals is available iTunes and on the Talks & Ideas YouTube channel

All About Women

Be inspired and challenged by remarkable guests discussing the latest thinking on intersectionality, #metoo, Trump, climate justice, and the curious and contested politics of singledom and relationships.

All About Women

Designed to make you think and push your boundaries, All About Women is a vibrant festival that asks questions about gender, justice and equality. This year's program is essential for anyone curious about the past and future of feminism.

Speakers have included Nobel Peace Prize-winner from Liberia, Leymah Gbowee, scientist Giulia Enders, film icon Geena Davis, 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 the movement has expanded to include the latest thinking on intersectionality, #metoo, Trump, climate justice, and the curious and contested politics of singledom and relationships.

Watch the best of All About Women on Youtube.

Antidote

Worried about the world? You’re not alone. Politics. Climate change. Money. It’s exhausting – even facts can be alternative now.

Antidote festival is a chance to address all that. Taking place on the first weekend of September, it’s a space to come together to recharge, rethink, take stock, and take action.

From talking problems, to solving them.

Speakers and artists in the program have put their reputation (and in some cases body) on the line, fighting for what they believe in. They’ve used their art, thinking and attitude to create the change they want to see in the world.

Watch videos from Antidote 2017

Antidote - A festival of ideas, action and change

Antidote is a weekend of ideas, action and change, with a potentially life-changing lineup of remarkable speakers, thinkers and creators.

Capitalism and Climate Change, part of FODI 2015, in the Concert Hall.

Festival Of Dangerous Ideas

The Festival of Dangerous Ideas (FODI) was co-founded by The Ethics Centre and the Sydney Opera House in 2009. It was presented at the Sydney Opera House for eight years until 2016.

FODI was conceived to stimulate discussion and critical thinking and connect audiences with some of our most important issues – asylum, gender, justice, death, politics, race, religion and more. It brought leading thinkers and culture creators from around the world to challenge the status quo, start important conversations and push the boundaries of conventional thought.

Speakers presented at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas include: Christopher Hitchens, Julian Assange, Mona Eltahawy, Jon Ronson, Alicia Garza, Germaine Greer, David Simon, Sir Salman Rushdie, Pussy Riot, Masha Gessen, Tariq Ali, A.C. Grayling, Peter Greste, Naomi Klein and Stan Grant.

FODI was jointly founded by Richard Evans and Rachel Healy, formerly of Sydney Opera House, and Dr Simon Longstaff AO, Executive Director of The Ethics Centre. Dennis Watkins produced the first FODI in 2009. From 2010-2016, Ann Mossop, formerly of Sydney Opera House was the curator of the festival, joined by co-curator Danielle Harvey, formerly of Sydney Opera House, from 2012-2016. Simon Longstaff acted as curatorial advisor from 2009-2016. FODI will be independently presented by The Ethics Centre on Cockatoo Island in 2018. For more information, visit: http://www.festivalofdangerousideas.com

Over its eight year history, FODI presented 239 individual sessions, sold over 157,000 tickets and reached even more audiences around Australia and the world via its satellite event program and digital content. 

Many talks were recorded and are available via YouTube or iTunes.

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, featured Lebanese-American composer and radio host Jad Abumrad, producer Julie Snyder, comedian Josh Thomas and more.

The third series kicked off in June 2017, featuring interviews with speakers such as Geena Davis and Giulia Enders from All About Women 2017.

Listen on either iTunes or Stitcher

It's A Long Story

It's A Long Story is the podcast from Sydney Opera House exploring the stories behind some of our most influential and acclaimed guests. Listen here.

Dr Edwina Throsby, Head of Talks & Ideas

Respected producer, director and curator Edwina Throsby joined the Sydney Opera House as Head of Talks & Ideas in August 2017.

The former Head of Curation of TEDxSydney, Throsby has dedicated her 20-year career to bringing complex topics and stories to the broadest possible audience across platforms and media. In her three years overseeing the artistic and creative vision for TEDxSydney, the ideas festival grew to almost 130,000 attendees, millions of online views and more than 150 satellite events.

Prior to TEDxSydney, Throsby founded and produced the ABC’s flagship multi-platform ideas program, Big Ideas, hosted by Tony Jones, which quickly expanded from ABC2 to the main ABC network and ABC News 24.

Throsby has worked as a documentary filmmaker, garnering the Best Documentary award at Flickerfest (2008) and Best Documentary Short award at Melbourne International Film Festival (2008) for Dance Like Your Old Man. She has also worked on esteemed news and current affairs programs, including Four Corners, Media Watch and Q&A.

Edwina recently completed her PhD in political science, writing her thesis on undecided voters in Australia. 

Edwina Throsby, Head of Talks & Ideas. Image: Yael Stempler

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