Alongside the visual feast by 75 exhibiting local and international galleries, Sydney Contemporary art fair will present a series of conversations on issues and controversies regarding art. Talk Contemporary is a collection of panel discussions that will explore intriguing, topical themes with some of the industry’s leading figures. This year, the talks program will also include the debut screening of Tracey Moffat’s short film The Art, and a screening of Del Kathryn Barton’s The Nightingale and The Rose.

“This year the program is definitely larger and more diverse,” says Sydney Contemporary’s Sam Watson-Wood. “We have chosen subjects that will resonate with practising artists, seasoned collectors and those who are completely new to contemporary art.”

Highlights for Watson-Wood include a panel called Does Gender Matter in Art. It was inspired by New York art collective Guerrilla Girls and the fact that less than three per cent of artists in the Metropolitan Museum of Art are women, while 83 per cent of its nude portraits are female. The panel features actress Rachel Griffiths, director of Artspace Alexie Glass-Kantor, artists Emma Price and Liam Benson, and MONA curator Jarrod Rawlins.

How Australia Sees Itself Through Art is a particularly poignant topic for the fair as it tries to give Sydney a voice in the international art world. With Pearl Lam, the director of Hong Kong’s Pearl Lam Galleries and artists, the talk will discuss Australian identity and how Australian culture has been represented in art.

“As a contemporary art fair we are showing the cutting edge of artistic practice. It is important not only to show a range of artwork but to give people the opportunity to hear experts discuss the ideas in the work, and the ecosystem of the art world,” says Watson-Wood. “As an art fair, we are very lucky to have the access to engage with thought leaders from the art world, and beyond, who expand and explore the zeitgeist.”

Talks will run from Wednesday September 9 to Sunday September 13.

The full program of talks is available online.