Mixing big conversations and big ideas, some of the world’s best and brightest thinkers will present some of the pressing topics of the day at Forum XR.
Protagonists, politicians, poets and a former Federal Police Commissioner. Academics, journalists, actors and educators. Writers, composers, comedians, scientists and survivors… They all collide in spectacular fashion at The Forum!
Festival philosophers, it’s time to put on your thinking caps and delve into some deep deliberation, speculation and contemplation as The Forum tackles topics such as consent, the future of drugs, AI bias, music and mental health, gaming soundtracks and more, alongside a keynote speech by 2021 Australian of the Year, Grace Tame, that is set to create headlines. Check out the full program below.
Sunday 25 July
5.30-6.13pm AEST (43 mins)
“This evil did not start with me, but it could end with me.’’
Grace Tame, 26, was only 15 when she was groomed and raped by her maths teacher. With remarkable courage, strength and intelligence, she has spent the last 10 years turning her traumatic experience into advocacy for survivors of child sexual abuse and becoming a leader of positive change.
In a searingly honest conversation with writer, lawyer and anti-violence activist Tarang Chawla, Grace discusses how to recognise the elaborate grooming and coercive control techniques used by predators, how she learned to “hold her fear” rather than try to overcome it, what changes she would like to see enacted – and what she really thinks about some of our nation’s leaders.
2.30-3.10pm AEST (40 mins)
Presented by Orygen.
The past 18 months have been a trying time for us all, and for many, music has played an essential role in maintaining our mental health. Whether creating, sharing, performing or simply listening, music has kept us together when things may have felt like they were falling apart.
Join music writer, DJ and host Brodie Lancaster as she sits down with rapper 360, musician Kira Puru, psychiatrist Dr Eddie Mullen, Orygen Youth Advisory Council member Winona Gray-Levett and Orygen Youth Research Council member Melissa Keller-Tuberg for a candid and raw conversation about music and the mind.
3.30-4.11pm AEST (41 mins)
Get ready to hang ten surfing the universe with Dr Karl and discover all that’s gnarly, awesome, weird and wonderful. The search for truth has always been hard, but it is true that a whale and a fish can keep on swimming after they have died (the reason is physics, not biology), and that we are running out of sand (yup, they had to build the world’s tallest building in Dubai with Australian sand). While Pterodactyls weren’t exactly flying, two-legged dinosaurs (only one-third of that is correct), the good news is that we can both stop and reverse Climate Change with today’s technology and bring CO2 and the Climate back to what it was in the 20th Century.
4.30-5.13pm AEST (43 mins)
Presented by The Daily Aus.
The political and media cycle this year has been dominated by discussions around the role of consent education, sexual assault reporting and power structures. This national conversation has been led by survivors, who have shaped the way our education, legal and political systems address and respond to these issues. Hosted by Zara Seidler from The Daily Aus, this panel brings together survivors, educators and leading voices in the space for a conversation about consent in 2021.
Featuring Teach Us Consent activist Chanel Contos, survivor advocates Saxon Mullins and Tarang Chawla, school sex educator Brandon Friedman (Elephant Ed) and sexual wellness advocate Lucy Wark (Normal).
5.30-6.25pm AEST (55 mins)
Imagine a world where weed is prescribed rather than scored for relieving chronic pain, depression and other ailments while also being legally available for recreational use. Imagine a world where LSD, mushrooms and other hallucinogenic substances are used to treat PTSD and mental illnesses. And imagine being able to test the contents of pills and powders for toxic and potentially lethal additives before you drop, free from the fear of prosecution.
From hangover-less alcohol to addiction as a health issue, from the latest research into the positive potential of narcotics to the failing of long-held “just say no” prohibitions. Join five rock star-status, global medical, scientific, policy and legal experts as they discuss the potential end to the War On Drugs and their predictions for legislation, consumption and socialisation by the year 2050, hosted by the legendary maths-geek-turned-celebrity Adam Spencer.
Featuring US Drug Policy Alliance founder Ethan Nadelmann, leading UK Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology David Nutt, former Federal Police Commissioner Mick Palmer, Reason Party leader Fiona Patten MP and leading harm minimisation expert Dr David Caldicott.
2.30-3.10pm AEST (40 mins)
Better Off Said: Eulogies for the Living and Dead is an afternoon of words it’s time to air. We ask, is there something you always wish you’d shouted aloud, someone still out there in the world waiting to hear an important message, a piece of history you feel your voice could have improved?
We’ve gathered some of the world’s most excellent, exciting and important voices to come together to respond to the brief ‘The Words I Wish I’d Said’. Joining us is comedian Steph Tisdell, singer songwriter Wafia, journalist and activist Jack Latimore, actor, singer and writer Michelle Brasier and storyteller and comedian Cassie Workman.
Now is the opportunity to leave no verbal stone unturned. To find that closure. To sing your truth from the rooftops before it’s too late. Curated, produced and presented by poet and spoken word artist
Emilie Zoey Baker and writer, producer, artist and bon viveur Marieke Hardy.
From the orchestrated soundscapes of scorched battlefields to the hectic punk vibes of a skater wheeling through a gritty streetscape, the choice of music for video games is as essential as the characters that populate them and the challenges they face. Join Good Game Spawn Point presenter Angharad “Rad” Yeo as she chats to games composers Kevin Penkin (Florence, Necrobarista). Belinda Coomes (Ring of Pain) and singer-songwriter Alex Lahey, whose music was included in the indie rock soundtrack to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2, about how music and composition play an integral role in their favourite video games.
4.30-5.22pm AEST (52 mins)
From drones fitted with facial recognition technology unable to distinguish between a loitering teen, a homeless person and a potential terrorist, to the catastrophic automation-led Robo-Debt Scheme that sent Government-authored fraudulent debt notices to welfare recipients, it’s hard to know who to trust when it comes to Artificial Intelligence. Yet, AI can offer endless lifestyle improvements, adapting to consumer desire. In health, AI medical innovations give the chronically ill a better quality of life and can even extend length of life.
How do you really feel about your music streaming service gauging your mood? Deep dive into the matrix with a global panel of experts including The Guardian investigative reporter Christopher Knaus, European Digital Rights activist Ella Jakubowska (Belgium), Digital Rights Watch Australia’s Lucie Krahulcova, and leading AI expert Professor Uwe Aickelin, hosted by digital academic and author Dr Suelette Dreyfus.