SERIES

BEING HUMAN Conversation

DATE & TIME

22 NOVEMBER 2018

LOCATION

THE ETHICS CENTRE

Who gets to choose which thinkers are given a platform to share their ideas with the world? 

Who decides if someone’s thoughts are buried and their voice unheard? How do they make that decision? Festival producers book thinkers and writers to appear on literal platforms. Social media users and protestors are often outraged by their choices citing harm, offence, and bigotry as reasons to cancel talent. So how do festival programmers balance public pressure with their editorial priorities?

‘Disinvitations’ attract just as much criticism for suffocating free speech. Controversy erupts and sponsors get cold feet. So how do festival programmers decide where to draw the line? Australia’s leading artistic directors of ideas and literary festivals joined us for our last Ethics of event in 2018 to share how and why they select certain thinkers.

We found out if they feel they ever got it wrong, and what it feels like to be subjected to a no-platforming protest. Former Premier Bob Carr reflected on no-platforming pressure in politics before the days of social media. Publisher, Shona, brought her insight into the public pressure toward storytelling, while FODI Presenter Ann shared her experiences of public pressure around who gets the stage. 

Catch up

Tune into the conversation below and reflect on your own prejudices and thinking around platforming and free speech. Have you ever wished someone wasn’t given a stage? From the unpopular to the offensive and the downright abhorrent, what thinking should be explored, debated and challenged in the light of day? When should a festival programmer concede to a protest and when should they stand strong and defend their billed talent? 

Photo gallery

Did you come along to the Ethics of Free Speech? Browse through our photo gallery to spot yourself or your friends.

Speakers

Ann Mossop

is the Co-Curator of the Festival of Dangerous Ideas and Director of UNSW’s Centre for Ideas. A leading figure in the talks space, she is no stranger to the ethical tensions in producing public conversations that push boundaries. You can follow her on Twitter via @annmossop

Bob Carr

is the author of Run for Your Lifethe director of the Australia-China Institute at UTS and served as Premier of NSW from 1995 to 2005. He was recently no platformed or ‘disinvited’ from the Brisbane Writers Festival. You can follow him on Twitter via @bobjcarr

Shona Martyn

is editor of Spectrum in the Sydney Morning Herald. She was publishing director of HarperCollins for 17 years and board member of Sydney Writers’ Festival for eight. She was Lionel Shriver’s publisher during the Brisbane Writers Festival controversy. You can follow her on Twitter via @ShonaMartyn

Kym Middleton

is head of editorial and events at The Ethics Centre. She produces live programming, is editor of online content, and executive producer of IQ2. She is a multi-award winning journalist with a background in news and current affairs. You can follow her on Twitter via @kymmidd

Who is it for?


  • THE ACTIVIST
  • THE CURIOUS
  • THE JOURNALIST

What you'll take away


  • 01A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF WHERE YOUR BOUNDARIES LIE
  • 02REASONS FOR FREE SPEECH
  • 03WHICH VOICES TO PRIORITISE