The Festival of Dangerous Ideas (FODI) has announced the program for its 2022 edition, which will be held at Carriageworks on September 17 and 18. The festival, which aims to dissect and discuss some of the biggest, and often most controversial, issues facing the world, will be headlined by Frances Haugen (USA), a whistleblower who has leaked tens of thousands of internal Facebook documents showing how the company prioritized profit over public safety.
A host of other deep thinkers are also poised to take the stage. Historian and economic commentator Adam Tooze (UK) will explain why society still can’t pull itself together as the world watches war, climate change and financial crises.
American historian Ruth Ben-Ghiat will examine how authoritarian rulers seize – and retain – power, while gender-nonconforming artist Alok Vaid-Menon (USA) will ask audiences to look beyond the gender binaries.
The keynote address for this year’s Hitch Memorial (named after author and journalist Christopher Hitchens, OFID’s first-ever speaker) will be given by Canadian psychologist Steven Pinker. He will argue for the ideals of enlightenment and explain why reason is fundamental.
Other lectures from international speakers include British historian and scholar Joanna Bourke on the enduring intrigue of bestiality, and American technology columnist and host of the New York Times podcast rabbit hole Kevin Roose on Where the Internet Stops and Real Human People Begin.
The Australian contingent, meanwhile, will delve into some particularly relevant topics. Noongar’s wife and author, Claire G Coleman, will host a keynote, Words are Weapons, to unpack Australian colonization and how ongoing false narratives about Australia endanger settlers and First Nations people.
In her keynote, Precious White Lives, author Sisonke Msimang delves into pandemic policy-making and whether the lockdowns, which have had a disproportionate impact on Sydney’s multicultural communities and Melbourne, all helped preserve the lives of wealthy whites.
Senator Jacqui Lambie – certainly no stranger to a dangerous idea – will deliver the festival’s opening speech, talking about her political career and what lies ahead. And journalist Peter Greste (who was imprisoned in Egypt for publishing articles “damaging [Egypt’s] national security”) and academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert, who was recently released after more than two years in jail in Iran on bogus espionage charges, will discuss the waning power of the Australian passport. Likewise, New York journalist Nick Bryant will join Ben-Ghiat and Tooze to talk about the declining influence of the United States.
Audiences will also hear from Bourke, attorney Saxon Mullins, journalist and author Jess Hill and Msimang explain why rape persists, while another panel will consider whether more can be done to preemptively restrain abusers. child sex.
In addition to the panels and speeches, there will be an installation by artist Wiradjuri Brook Andrew depicting a brain whose two halves represent Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. And famed tattoo artist Scott Campbell will tattoo members of the public for free, but he’ll ink you with whatever he wants, without meeting or getting to know you. Plus, “period preacher” Lucy Peach will celebrate the menstrual cycle in her multimedia work My Best Rules Ever.
This year’s FODI was put together by festival director Danielle Harvey, together with co-curators Simon Longstaff (Executive Director of the Ethics Center) and Ann Mossop, Director of the UNSW Ideas Center. The festival was founded in 2009 by The Ethics Center and the Sydney Opera House.
“When we first conceived FODI over a decade ago, it was with serious intent – to create a world-class festival of ideas that would uphold that ever-narrowing sweet spot: the middle ground. “, Longstaff said in a statement. “That legacy continues today and seems more vital than ever.”
The Festival of Dangerous Ideas runs September 17-18 at Carriageworks. Tickets are on sale now.