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Cultural Impact of AIDS


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How have artists responded to the HIV virus creatively in their work, and what effect have their projects had on communities and attitudes as a whole? This panel of experts from around the globe examines the challenges of folding HIV narratives into creative work.

Sean Strub was the first gay, HIV positive man to run for federal office in the United States. His book Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS and Survival examines how the AIDS pandemic laid waste to the LGBT community and chronicles how activism has been at the root of a deep cultural shift in attitudes towards the disease.

Joining Sean are Dion Kagan, Jessica Whitbread and Paul Woodward. Dion is an academic and writer who lectures on gender and sexuality. Jessica is a visual artist and activist, well known for her No Pants No Problem project. Paul is a British performance academic and storyteller.

Leading writer and thinker Dennis Altman leads this incredible panel in a discussion on how deeply HIV and AIDS have impacted the cultural community, and how their responses have opened enlightening and exciting avenues of change.


Sean Strub

Sean Strub is a long-time activist and writer who has been HIV positive for more than 33 years. He is the founder of POZ Magazine, the leading independent global source of information about HIV, and served as its publisher and executive editor from 1994 to 2004. He presently serves as the executive ... Read more

Dion Kagan

Dion Kagan is a writer, editor and researcher. His writing has appeared in the Sydney Review of Books, Australian Book Review, LitHub, Metro, Kill Your Darlings, The Big Issue, The Conversation, Archer and more. He is a regular columnist for The Lifted Brow and a co-host on fortnightly culture podca... Read more

Jessica Whitbread

Jessica Whitbread works in the realm of social practice and community art, often merging art and activism to engage a diversity of audiences in critical dialogue. Whitbread often uses her own her own body and experience as a queer woman living with HIV, as the primary site of her work. In her head t... Read more

Paul Woodward

Paul Woodward is a director, performer and writer based in Melbourne. Paul has worked as a director/performer/writer for the physical/experimental theatre companies Sculpture (West Midlands) and Glory What Glory (Lancaster/London). Graduating with an MA (distinction) in Theatre at Royal Holloway, he... Read more

Dennis Altman

Dennis Altman has written 15 books since his groundbreaking Homosexual: Oppression and Liberation. The Bulletin listed him as one of the 100 most influential Australians ever. He is Patron of the Australian Queer Archives and Pride Foundation Australia.


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