In a post-conflict society, with a still fragile justice system, establishing respect for human rights is crucial to nation-building and for East Timor’s future. An estimated 10,000 civilians, including women and children, were imprisoned and often tortured during the period 1975 to 1999. The Living Memory Project, founded by renowned Australian journalist Jill Jolliffe in collaboration with ASEPPOL (the association of former political prisoners), is creating a video archive to preserve their stories for a new generation of Timorese and for the human rights record. This panel discussion, interspersed with screenings from the archive, will track the progress of the Living Memory Project and explore questions of memory, truth and justice.
The event will be chaired by Michael Williams, the Wheeler Centre’s head of programming, and will feature the following guests:
- Abel Guterres, Timor-Leste Ambassador to Australia
- Jill Jolliffe, author and director of the Living Memory Project
- Robert Connelly, director of the feature film Balibo
This event is presented in partnership with the Victorian Women’s Trust and is supported by the Victorian Multicultural Commission and private donors.
Michael Williams is the Director of the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas in Melbourne. He has worked at the Wheeler Centre since inception in 2009, when he was hired as the Head of Programming before being appointed as Director in September 2011.
He has hosted Blueprint for Living (2015–2016), then Talkfest (2017–2019), on ABC RN. He remains a regular guest on ABC Radio and TV. Michael has also worked as a Breakfast presenter for Melbourne’s 3RRR, as a member of the Australia Council’s Literature Board, in publishing and has written extensively for the Guardian, the Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Australian and elsewhere.
Jill Jolliffe published her first book East Timor: Nationalism and Colonialism with University of Queensland Press in 1978, written on a Young Writers Fellowship from the Literature Board of the Australia Council. It remains a classic text on the subject