So What If …

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Melbourne Was Underwater?

The experts have spoken – there’s no doubt the water is rising. But what will it mean for Melbournians?

Your suburban backyard might not be growing seaweed, but the effects will be felt across our city as we adapt to new ways of being. What might rising water levels mean for our ports and for waste management? How will our roads and sewage systems be affected? Will we see a new wave of migration from other Australian cities that have been hit even harder? The reality of our future is upon us – how will we stay afloat?

Presented in partnership with Melbourne Knowledge Week.


Portrait of Tony Birch

Tony Birch

Tony Birch is the author of Ghost River, which won the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Indigenous Writing, and Blood, which was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. He is also the author of Shadowboxing, and three short story collections – Father’s Day, The Promise and Common People.

Tony is a frequent contributor to ABC local and national radio, and a regular guest at writers’ festivals. He lives in Melbourne and is a Senior Research Fellow at Victoria University.

Portrait of David Sornig

David Sornig

David Sornig is the author of the novel Spiel (UWAP, 2009). His fiction and non-fiction writing has featured in the Griffith ReviewHarvard ReviewAdelaide Review, and Kill Your Darlings. He has lectured in creative writing and literary studies at a number of Australian universities and currently teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Melbourne. His essay ‘Jubilee: A Hymn for Elsie Williams on Dudley Flats’ was a finalist for the 2015 Melbourne Prize for Literature Writers Prize, and his subsequent work on Blue Lake was supported by a State Library Victoria Creative Fellowship. He lives in Melbourne.

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So What If …

Swing by the Wheeler Centre in May for a series of lunchtime talks about the future. We promise no hazy trend-forecasting; we’ll stick to specifics. We’ll speculate on social structures and systems – from citizenship and gender to law and order – and discuss how changing things up might change our world. In partnership with Melbourne Knowledge Week, we’ll ask: what's broken, what's working, and what should we leave behind?


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