Cancelled: Festival of Dangerous Ideas

Fri 3rd April, 2020 – Sun 5th April, 2020
Sydney Town Hall
483 George Street, Sydney
Edward Snowden, Roxane Gay and Jon Ronson – some of the world’s deepest thinkers – are on the line-up. And they’ll be tackling some of the most important issues of our time.

This event has been cancelled due to coronavirus concerns.

The Festival of Dangerous Ideas (FODI) celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, and it’s showing no signs of softening. The theme for 2020 is Dangerous Realities, and Australian and international speakers will confront some of the most pressing issues we’re facing at this moment in time.

Leading the pack will be Edward Snowden, best known for blowing the whistle on top-secret National Security Agency programs while he was working for the CIA. The American journalist is in exile in Russia so will appear via livestream to talk about mass surveillance.

Journalist, documentary maker and author of books such as So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed and The Psychopath Test Jon Ronson will make his third appearance at FODI, talking about his recent forays into the world of porn. And writer and critic Roxane Gay will present The Hitch, Stephen Fry’s ode to Christopher Hitchens (who spoke at the first FODI in 2009) and the lost art of disagreement. (Fry presented the same speech at the 2018 FODI.)

American political philosopher Michael Sandel will discuss the “tyranny of merit”, while Masha Gessen, LGBTQI+ activist and critic of Vladmir Putin and Donald Trump, will ask whether Russia’s future can be found in its past. American journalist David Wallace-Wells, who is known for his terrifying climate change forecasts, will explore the imminent crisis and what our future on a hostile earth might look like. He’ll also appear on a panel with moral philosopher Peter Singer and expert on migration and refugee law Jane McAdam. They’ll discuss whether our personal choices are creating the world we want.

There’ll also be talks from Swedish journalist, anti-capitalist and women’s rights campaigner Kajsa Ekis Ekman, who will look back on her 2014 FODI session about commercial surrogacy, and consider what has changed since. Plus journalism and social media expert Claire Wardle will look at the world of deep fakes.

Hear from American writer and researcher Evgeny Morozov about how technology is capitalism’s latest tool, or Finnish educator and author Pasi Sahlberg on what he sees in the Australian education system. And explore the world of gene editing with American biochemist Sam Sternberg.

The local contingent of speakers is equally formidable. Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton, who was wrongfully convicted for the death of her daughter, will give her take on Australia’s most publicised murder trials. Aboriginal activist and human rights lawyer Megan Davis will speak about truth telling and the Australian Indigenous narrative, while former prime minister Kevin Rudd will discuss China with journalists Peter Hartcher and Vicky Xiuzhong Xu.

Youth leaders Daisy Jeffrey, Seethal Bency, Audrey Mason-Hyde, Dujuan Hoosan and Dylan Storer will share their stories to the music of Spinifex Gum, a collaboration between the all-female, Indigenous Marliya choir and the Cat Empire’s Felix Riebl and Ollie McGill. Guests can choose their own ticket price to this world-premiere event, a gesture of support from the festival to young Australians.

Festival-goers can expect debate on a range of other ethical and philosophical issues, including the possibility of reversing the ageing process, whether consciousness is an illusion, and the deterrent power of nuclear weapons.

More information here.