Colourful ink in water

What happened to 2020? 10 talks for your podcast playlist

16 December 2020

2020 is coming to an end but the events of this year will long stay with us. We brought together leading thinkers from the University of Sydney and beyond to make sense of it all.

It’s been a big year. We’ve put together a few of our key talks, with leading thinkers from the University of Sydney and beyond – including Dark Emu author Bruce Pascoe, gender equality advocate Elizabeth Broderick AO and more – to reflect on 2020 and what might lie ahead in 2021. Take a listen to the audio wrap, and dive into the longer talks.

Sydney Ideas will be back with more talks and ideas in the new year!

The vaccination gap

While we can look to a vaccine as the answer to the pandemic, it can only be as effective as the  take up it requires. Professor Julie Leask is a social scientist specialising in immunisation and risk communication, and is an advisor to the World Health Organisation. She shares insights into routine immunisation, why people hesitate or refuse to take vaccines, and practical ways to approach this. 

Charging ahead with clean energy

Professor Anita Ho-Baillie and Professor Thomas Maschmeyer talk about their innovative work in renewable energy solutions including perovskite cells and smart solar benches respectively. We also explore how this translates on a community and policy level with NSW Minister for Energy and Environment Matt Kean and President of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) Councillor Linda Scott.

Bruce Pascoe: Perennial Soil 

“I don’t want to go to another planet … I think our most important job as humans is to look after this home.” Dark Emu author Bruce Pascoe shares insight into Indigenous land management. He is joined by Dr Angela Pattison, an agricultural scientist and lead on the Indigenous Grasslands for Grains project, which looks to recreate native grains at scale.

What will the future of women’s work look like?

The research shows the pandemic has disproportionately affected women yet highlighted the ways they bring enormous economic and social value, when we take stock of the workforce at the frontlines; such as nurses, teachers, cleaners and more. Discussing this issue is a panel including Professor Rae Cooper; Elizabeth Broderick AO; former High Commissioner to India, Harinder Sidhu and MoneyGirl Co-founder Mariam Mohammed.

To the point: Ian Hickie on mental health 

In times of uncertainty, how do we manage our anxiety as well as respond proactively and productively? Professor Ian Hickie from the Brain and Mind Centre is a national leader in mental health. He sees mental health not as an isolated, individual aspect but advocates for considerations and actions that are pro-social.

In this together

For reconciliation to genuinely happen, Australia must first meet the objectives of truth and justice. Explore what this means and next steps with Professor Lisa Jackson Pulver, language researcher Professor Jaky Troy, lawyer and activist Teela Reid and GUIR founder Ken Zulumovski.

The asset economy: inclusion, exclusion, debt

Political scientists and economists, along with urban design thinkers, bring into perspective the emergence of a new inequality – it’s now a person’s assets, rather than employment, that determines their life chances.

Disruption and disability

Led by Associate Professor Jennifer Smith-Merry, this discussion with researchers and people with lived experience, reflects on the flexible ways of working that have been normalised in the COVID-19, and opportunities for education and employment. 

Running out of water

In Australia, many places are running out of water, but the amount of water on the planet is fixed. We can’t actually run out of it.  So, we need to understand where we are within the cycle, and how water resources are moving and changing. Hear about leading research and industry collaboration projects that rethink how we use, clean and transport water. 

Raising the age for criminal responsibility

In Australia, children as young as 10 can wind up in prison. The vast majority of young people in prison are of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds. Why this is a problem and how we might address it, we need to first take a deeper look at the history and systematic issue of racism.