The Fifth Estate
Live-stream: State of Emergence
There is little doubt now that the COVID-19 coronavirus will drastically alter our lives, communities and societies for some time to come. Amid confusing, contradictory or misleading information about how we should respond – and how we should protect ourselves and each other – the pandemic has already tested our social fabric. How the crisis will affect our healthcare, economic and…
The Wheeler Centre
Right Time: Why We Need an Australian Charter of Human Rights
Lee Carnie, Kristen Hilton, Teela Reid and Gillian Triggs at the Wheeler Centre
Australia is the only western democracy without a Charter of Human Rights or an equivalent legal protection. What’s holding us back?
For this discussion, we brought together three panellists – Kristen Hilton, Teela Reid and Gillian Triggs – to discuss the push for a federal Charter of Human Rights. Hosted by Lee Carnie, they outline glaring problem areas in Australia’s human-rights record and make a case for legally enshrined and protected rights for all Australians.
What can we learn from the existing charters in Victoria and ACT? What real-life and practical difference would a Charter of Human Rights make for everyday Australians? And, with successive Australian governments showing a sometimes lax attitude towards our international human rights obligations, what reason is there to believe that things might be different under a charter?
Presented in partnership with the Human Rights Law Centre.
The Invisible Crime
The Invisible Crime: Are We Failing Victims of Sexual Violence? is an award-winning multimedia feature documentary made in 2019 by a team of investigative and data journalists from the Age and Sydney Morning Herald. The documentary explores why sexual assault is under-reported and examines the myriad barriers to successful prosecutions against assailants. It provides data-driven context on how and…
The Wheeler Centre
Rachel Kushner: The Mars Room
Ellena Savage and Rachel Kushner on stage — Photo: Scott Limbrick
‘This is a story that gets to the root of how my society is structured right now … There’s a way that prison is invisible to a middle-class person. It’s not a conspiracy, but it may be by design in certain regards. It’s a serious subject for a novelist.’
Rachel Kushner is among America’s brightest literary stars. With her previous, highly acclaimed novels, Telex from Cuba (about American expatriates in 1950s pre-Castro Cuba) and The Flamethrowers (about radical New York artists in the seventies), she explored two very different scenes of ideological chaos and confusion, with exhilarating prose and virtuosic storytelling.
Kushner's latest novel, The Mars Room, sees her applying her talents, once again, to probing the political context and meaning of a very specific time and place. This time, it’s the American prison system, and it's the present day. The Mars Room is about a woman serving two life sentences for killing her stalker and it’s the product of years of research, and close collaboration with Americans who have themselves served time.
In conversation with Ellena Savage for our Mayhem series in April 2019, the extraordinary Kushner talks crime, punishment and American institutions.
The Wheeler Centre
We Are Here: Stories of Home, Place and Belonging
Homelessness can take many guises – sleeping rough, yes, but also couch-surfing, squatting, or staying in a refuge, boarding house or caravan park. The same can be said of the people who experience homelessness. Not defined simply by their predicament, they’re a diverse group. They may be siblings, parents, grandparents; people who study or work; people who’ve moved or migrated, yet to find their feet. People with full lives, and much to offer.
A new profit-for-purpose book from Affirm Press, We Are Here: Stories of Home, Place and Belonging, is a testament to the unique insights of people who’ve known homelessness in Australia. Edited by novelist, homelessness researcher and former Big Issue deputy editor Meg Mundell, it offers a bounty of extraordinary true stories from a wide range of writers – prominent names, emerging voices and first-timers – who have themselves experienced homelessness. Behrouz Boochani, Krissy Kneen and Claire G. Coleman appear alongside undiscovered talents, exploring the idea of place – and how our sense of it changes when homeless.
Hosted by Mundell, and presented in partnership with Writers Victoria, hear from contributors Claire G. Coleman, Roderick Waller, Ayub Abdi-Barre and Jody Letts about their stories, their places and their writing. Hear readings from the book – and learn about the process of putting it together – at this celebration of survival, place and belonging.
'It’d be near-impossible to read this rich and humane mosaic of stories and not have how you conceive of homelessness completely reframed. A beautiful testament to survival, resilience and hope.' – Benjamin Law
Prefer to watch? Catch up on our live-streamed video below. Includes Auslan interpretation.We Are Here: Stories of Home, Place and Belonging Watch
The Wheeler Centre
Writing in Exile: PEN International Day of the Imprisoned Writer
Sami Shah, Samah Sabawi, Mammad Aidani and Roza Germian at the Wheeler Centre
Writers and journalists are often among the first citizens targeted and punished by autocratic leaders. With creeping authoritarianism and instability in many regions around the world, it's an increasingly dangerous time for writers of all kinds.
On the eve of PEN International's Day of the Imprisoned Writer, we held a special panel event as part of our Writers in Exile series to discuss old and emerging threats to literary freedoms today.
Host Sami Shah welcomed back the three writers who have shared their personal stories of exile – journalist Roza Germian, playwright Samah Sabawi and playwright and poet Mammad Aidani – for the last conversation in the series. They discuss their own experiences and their knowledge of press and literary restriction in their respective home countries – as well as the role Australia can and should play on the international stage with regards to protecting and protesting the freedom of writers here and overseas.
Presented in partnership with PEN Melbourne.
Anything and everything in Social justice from across our archives.
This Isn’t a Movement, It’s a Moment: When Public Space, Politics and Art Collide
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