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Media Release • 21 Feb 24

Night of Ideas 2024: Major global event of talks, critical thinking, debates and performance comes to Melbourne for the first time

NGV International | 6.00PM – 9.30PM 1 March 2024 | Ticketed 

An initiative of the French Embassy, presented in partnership with the NGV and the Institut Français, Night of Ideas (La Nuit des Idées) is a thought-provoking, one-night-only program of daring talks, debates, critical discussions, performances and more. Created by the Institut Français in 2016 and staged in over 190 cities to date, this global cultural phenomenon comes to Melbourne for the first time on Friday 1 March 2024.

Night of Ideas invites thought leaders, scientists, activists, performers, authors, journalists and academics to address major global contemporary issues. The theme for the 2024 Night of Ideas is “Fault Lines” (“Lignes de Failles” in French) and references the 2006 novel Fault Lines by French-Canadian novelist and essayist Nancy Huston. It is an invitation to explore the lines that divide us, the tipping points of our contemporary societies and how we can bridge the gap between communities.

In the Clemenger BBDO Auditorium, global thought leaders will have carte blanche to explore the fault lines of our times. Speakers include one of the most influential living thinkers, Australian philosopher, veganism advocate and Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, Peter Singer; 1997 Australian of the Year Professor Peter Doherty, who obtained the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1996 for the discovery of how the immune system recognises virus-infected cells; Professor Lung Ying-tai, one of Taiwan’s foremost writers and public intellectuals, and its first Minister for Culture; and Yalmay Yunupiŋu, Yolŋu Australian and Senior Australian of the Year, linguist, translator and teacher.

Fault Lines in Our Seas queries how we can save our oceans from the impact of climate change, as well as interrogating our contemporary relationship to the sea. Presented within, and inspired by, John Gerrard’s simulated seascape Flare (Oceania), 2022, the talk features Dr Karen Evans, a principal research scientist and team leader with CSIRO in Hobart, Tasmania; and Wilfried N’Sondé, the multiple prize-winning francophone poet, playwright, musician and author.

The event also offers exclusive after-hours access to the ground-floor of NGV Triennial, with talks and discussions taking place inside the exhibition and directly engaging with the work on display. NGV Triennial is a major exhibition of contemporary art and design featuring the work of more than 120 cutting-edge practitioners from over 30 countries and regions.

The Night of Ideas kicks off with a live performance from ARIA Award-winning Australian recording artist Mo’Ju in Federation Court, and throughout the evening there will be roving performances by the talented musicians of the Australian Art Orchestra.

Fault Lines in the Clothing Industry investigates waste and overproduction in the fashion industry, as well as solutions for a creative, sustainable and accessible clothing revolution. Speakers include Dr Alice Payne, Professor in Fashion and Dean of the School of Fashion and Textiles, RMIT; and Delphine Genin, the creative force behind her eponymous fashion label, which is known for combining rare craft and tradition with technology.

Fault Lines in Our Bodies & in Our Minds, presented within the work SPECULUM by Dutch digital artist collective SMACK, speculates what the future will hold for our physical and mental wellbeing. Speakers include Kauna land-based writer, Katerina Bryant, whose first book Hysteria: A Memoir of Illness, Strength and Women’s Stories Throughout History blends memoir with literary and historical analysis of women’s medical treatment throughout the ages; and Australian neurologist Nicholas Opie, who is the co-head of the Vascular Bionics lab at the University of Melbourne and the foundation Chief Technology Officer of the neural interface company Synchron. and the foundation Chief Technology Officer of the neural interface company Synchron.

At a time where disruptive technologies, geopolitical upheavals and climate change are changing our perspective on the role of science in our societies, Fault Lines in the Value of Science will focus on the ways scientifical breakthroughs can affect our personal lives, both positively and negatively. This panel will feature Pro-Vice Chancellor of Flagship Initiatives at Swinburne University of Technology Alan Duffy, who founded the Space Technology and Industry Institute, working on AI and dark matter; and Director of the Social Change Enabling Impact Platform Lisa Given, whose research in human information behaviour includes exploring people’s experiences of artificial intelligence.

For Fault Line in the Digital World, Global Chief Strategy & Impact Officer of consulting firm Palo IT Xavier Rizos will share his expertise on how technology and innovation interact with the environmental, geopolitical and social dynamics shaping our world.

Gender Fault Lines and Heritage and Identity Fault Lines will include a discussion on multiculturalism between Mauritian writer Shenaz Patel, on 2:30pm 2:30pme of the most celebrated voices in the literature of the Indian Ocean, and Greg Lehman, a prominent voice in Tasmania’s Indigenous history and culture; as well as a debate between Lucile Peytavin, a French historian and policy expert for gender equality, Fiona Jenkins, the convenor of the Australian National University Gender Institute, and Yuki Kihara, an artist of Samoan and Japanese descent whose world-leading work has explored the complexities of gender.

Tony Ellwood AM, Director, NGV, said: ‘The NGV prides itself as being a platform for robust discussion and debate within our community and we are delighted to be hosting the inaugural Night of Ideas in Melbourne. Through the lens of scientifical breakthroughs or deep societal changes, this provocative, global event will explore how dividing lines can impact our everyday lives and our relationship with the world.

‘This event is presented in partnership with the Embassy of France in Australia, deepening the NGV’s longstanding relationship with France and our connection to French culture,’ said Ellwood.

H.E. Pierre-André Imbert, Ambassador of France to Australia, added: ‘The State of Victoria is a major partner for France. The Embassy of France is proud to organise this unique cultural event once again this year, for the first time in Melbourne, in partnership with the National Gallery of Victoria. The Night of Ideas 2024 is an ode to the vibrant diversity and richness of the cultures of France, Australia, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific. It is a testimony to our commitment to face and think about global challenges together. We’re excited to discover how such talented thought leaders, artists and scientists will explore the many facets of this year’s theme: “Fault Lines”.’

Night of Ideas takes place 6.00PM – 9.30PM Friday 1 March 2024 at NGV International, St Kilda Road, Melbourne. Tickets: $40 Adult / $35 NGV Member / $37.50 Concession.

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