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End of Empire

Afua Hirsch

Moderated by Daniel Browning

It's been more than 200 years since the British laid claim to our country and called it Australia, but the legacy of colonialism lives on. Who gets included and excluded from the privileges of citizenship, and how can we move towards a truly inclusive, decolonised Australian identity?

On Stream | Talks & Ideas | Live from Sydney Opera House

"It is deeply unhealthy to have a national identity so fragile, that it cannot stand-up to historical facts."
Afua Hirsch

When will we outgrow the mother country?

For more than a century, Australian history was regarded as inherently British. Resting on the myth of terra nullius, the colonisers wrote the history books. Schoolchildren were taught about the civilizing, enlightening influence of British culture. But more recently, as the damage of colonialism becomes more widely recognised and discussed, new narratives have emerged: of dispossession, theft, genocide, and cultural displacement.

The gap between Indigenous and white Australians is a long way from closing, the Republican debate is on the backburner, and we're all obsessed with Meghan and Harry. What is it about British-ness that has been so enduring as a cultural ideal in Australia? What does being "British" even mean? What does cultural independence look like? Join this world-renowned writer for a timely discussion on the long-term global impact of British imperialism and its effects on the identity of all its subjects.

Presented by Sydney Opera House

More about Afua Hirsch...

Afua is  the founder of Born in Me Productions, which creates scripted and non-scripted movies, TV shows and podcasts. She is the presenter of African Renaissance, a 3-part BBC about African art, and Enslaved, the most comprehensive documentary ever made on the history of the transatlantic slave trade, and a podcast series for Audible. In addition to her book Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging – winner of the Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Prize – Afua is the author of Equal to Everything, about the UK Supreme Court, and was a judge on the 2019 Booker Prize. 

More about Daniel Browning...

Daniel Browning, a proud Bundjalung and Kullilli man, is a journalist, radio broadcaster, sound artist and writer. He currently presents The Art Show on Radio National and leads the ABC's Indigenous Radio Unit. A visual arts graduate, Daniel is also a widely published freelance writer. He is a former guest editor of Artlink INDIGENOUS Global and the inaugural curator of Blak Box, an award-winning, architect-designed sound pavilion commissioned by Urban Theatre Projects, the multiform arts company based in Western Sydney. 

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