24 Jun 2019

Sydney Opera House partners with the Judith Neilson Institute to present Antidote 2019

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The Sydney Opera House is partnering with the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas to present Antidote 2019, a festival of ideas, action and change.

A vital response to our uncertain times, Antidote provides a platform for essential conversations, consensus-building and practical solutions. Over the weekend of 31 August - 1 September 2019, Antidote will take over Australia’s most recognisable meeting place with pioneering ideas from some of the world’s leading creative minds and agents of change.

The Institute’s support for Antidote reflects its commitment to quality journalism and lively public discussion of the big issues shaping Australia and the world. The Institute is co-curating three sessions focusing on how journalists work in authoritarian environments, who gets to speak in debates on society’s most controversial issues and the media’s role in covering climate change.

Some of the key themes of this year’s festival include: creativity in response to political and social turmoil; the construction of national identity and the interplay of globalism and patriotism; ‘fake news’ and assaults on truth and memory; the weaponisation of traditional and social media as tools for oppressing human rights; the manipulation of ‘big data’ for surveillance and control; and escapism and the resurgence of wellness and binge cultures.

Sydney Opera House’s Head of Talks & Ideas and Antidote Festival Director, Dr Edwina Throsby, says: “Antidote has fast established itself as the festival for all of us who believe the world can be a better place. We are facing some massive global issues: nationalism, digital safety, climate change and corruption. There is power in the meeting of great minds, and bringing together leading international thinkers in politics, journalism, art, and human rights. Antidote is one way of addressing these problems in a productive, proactive way. I hope that Sydneysiders leave this festival feeling like they’re part of a global community that really can make a difference.”

Judith Neilson Institute director, Mark Ryan, says: “The space for rational debate and the contest of ideas is shrinking and Antidote provides a global stage to enlarge that space. We want to encourage people to actually listen to the other person’s argument and respond intelligently with a counter argument based on facts and evidence. Antidote can show how that can be done in a way that moves debates forward rather than into echo chambers where we listen only to those we agree with.”

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