Eat, drink and learn something new

3 October 2017

Wednesday 25 October will once again see bars transform into classrooms as the University of Sydney takes education out of the lecture theatre and into the city with Raising the Bar.

Dr Naseem Ahmadpour, Dr Rodney Taveira, Professor Mary Crock and Associate Professor Fabio Ramos at ps40, Sydney

Dr Naseem Ahmadpour, Dr Rodney Taveira, Professor Mary Crock and Associate Professor Fabio Ramos at ps40, Sydney

Grab a pint, pull up a chair and listen in to some free thought-provoking talks as Raising the Bar returns to Sydney for 2017.

On Wednesday 25 October, bars will transform into classrooms as the University of Sydney once again takes education out of the lecture theatre and into the city.

Challenge the established and unlearn what you think you know as academics ‘raise the bar’ across Sydney and Surry Hills on topics as diverse as robots, gambling, refugees, Taylor Swift and body clocks.

And now, due to popular demand, you can enjoy two talks in one night; with 20 academics delivering 20 talks across 10 bars in two different sessions – one at 6.30pm and another at 8pm.

Research discoveries find a new life when they are communicated within a real-world context far broader than the one provided by the confines of the University. Raising the Bar helps researchers to achieve that.
Raising the Bar speaker Dr Naseem Ahmadpour

For the third year running, the University of Sydney has joined Raising the Bar to bring the popular worldwide initiative, previously run in New York, Hong Kong and London, to Sydneysiders.

Tickets are available at But get in quick, some talks may sell out.

Established in 2014, Raising the Bar began with a group of students from Columbia University and New York University who were looking to share the unique learning experience from the world’s greatest minds with the general public. 

Me, my robot and I

Trinity Bar, Sydney | 6.30pm
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Presented by Fabio Ramos

Associate Professor Fabio Ramos

Imagine we give robots the capacity to learn from their own experiences and interactions with the environment around them. Now imagine we also tell the robots to improve the lives of people with disabilities or better understand the impact of pollution.

“I want to give people an understanding of what is now possible in terms of robots that learn by themselves and what they can provide to improve the daily lives of elderly people,” says Associate Professor Ramos.

Fitbits: healthy habits or expensive accesories

PS40, Sydney | 8pm
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Presented by Naseem Ahmadpour

Dr Naseem Ahmadpour

Have you done your 10,000 steps today? Half of all Australians are using wearable health technology to track their movements, but does it really motivate us to be healthier? Research indicates there is no proven link between weight loss and step counters so are these technologies failing us? Discussing this downward trend is Naseem Ahmadpour, who will explore new potentials for self-tracking and future opportunities for designing wearable health technologies.

“I hope to inspire my audience to use their wearable tracking devices mindfully, and to reflect on how they can get the most out of using those technologies,” Dr Ahmadpour said.

US Politics: A meme made in heaven

The Carrington, Surry Hills | 8pm
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Presented by Rodney Taveira

Dr Rodney Taveira
US politics

We live in an era where the President of the United States could feasibly start a war – not by firing missiles, but in firing off ill-advised tweets. To investigate the link between the internet and politics, our very own culture crank Rodney Taveira will delve into the twisted psyche of American popular culture and pose the question – does American democracy exist if no-one is there to like it, retweet it or turn it into a meme?

“I’m hoping to give people a sense of what is going on and what we need to care about in times of break-neck change”, Dr Taveira said.

Advance Australia fair?

The Carrington, Surry Hills | 6:30pm
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Presented by Mary Crock

Professor Mary Crock
Human rights

We've boundless plains to share, yet Australia's track record as a safe place for refugees and asylum seekers is nothing to be proud of.

In her talk, Mary Crock will examine the dangerous lack of enforceable human rights protection in Australia and what this means for our future as a multi-racial society.

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