september, 2016

01sepallday07Event OverFeaturedFestival of Democracy 2016(All Day) Event Organized By: Sydney Democracy Network

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Event Details

Welcome to the 2016 Festival of Democracy.
Join us at the University of Sydney for seven days of exciting talks, debates and art focused squarely on the new, challenging and dangerous political trends facing all democracies today.

Image Credit: deepstereo, 2014

The Festival is open to all, and there’s something for everybody. For more information about individual events, please click the following links:
1 September





We need to talk about Antarctica

For more than half a century, the fragile and frozen continent of Antarctica has been protected by ‘post-sovereign’ governing arrangements that are unusual by global standards. There are now clear signs of their breakdown. State rivalries, environmental damage and a dash for resources, including tourism revenues, are pushing the continent towards a highly uncertain future.

The public forum will tackle the pressing questions: What do scientists working in Antarctica have to teach us? Are military and commercial adventures becoming a reality and does Australia have a ‘national interest’ in the continent? What are the chances of reforming and strengthening the Antarctic Treaty System? Can citizens play a role in shaping its future?

2 September





We the People

Populism is everywhere on the rise. Why is this happening? Why are the peddlers of populism proving so popular? Are there deep forces driving the spread of their style of politics, and what, if anything, has populism to do with democracy? Is it its ‘essence’, as some maintain? Is the new populism therefore to be welcomed, harnessed and ‘mainstreamed’ in support of more democracy?

Or is populism on balance politically dangerous, a cultish recipe for renewing what George Orwell termed the ‘smelly little orthodoxies’ that feed big and bossy power?

2 September



The Revolution of Dignity

A photo essay by Ukainian photographer and activist Maksym Trebukhov will be projected throughout the Festival with a special screening at the Law Lounge on Friday 2 September at 7pm.

21 February 2014: the Revolution of Dignity transformed Ukrainian society and democracy. Many Ukrainians from around the world, and from Australia, participated in the revolution, artists and young people were among the first to react.

3 September





Eid al-Fitr and Return of Lost Souls

The Sydney Fringe Festival and Sydney Democracy Network will screen two documentaries Eid al-Fitr and Return of Lost Souls looking at the lives of people on the margins of China, and host question and answer sessions with the film-makers Xiangchen Liu and Nina Ningtong Wang at the Verona Cinema in Paddington. Supported by the China Studies Centre, the University of Sydney.
Tickets: $16, includes post-screening reception.

5 September



On the Margins of China

Visiting documentary filmmaker Xiangchen Liu will discuss his films and the history and culture of Xinjiang province, with a focus on the Chinese Muslim minority groups, the Kyrgyz and Uyghur peoples.

Xiangchen Liu is widely regarded as one of China’s leading documentary filmmakers.His latest film, screened for the first time in Australia, is Eid al-Fitr. Based on many months’ fieldwork and filming among the Kyrgyz people of Xinjiang, it examines in detail the lives of China’s Muslims during the Eid al-Fitr festival that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting.

6 September




Populism, Race and Democracy

Western democracies have seen a resurgence in far-right populist movements. Alongside disaffection with mainstream political parties, there has been agitation against immigration and multiculturalism. How are we to make sense of these developments? What do they mean for race relations? And what implications do they have for our democratic future?

Join us in celebrating the 10 year anniversary of Sydney Ideas and its contribution to public debate on democracy and human rights with special guest Tim Soutphomassane, Race Discrimination Commissioner at the Human Rights Commission.

7 September



Political Alliances and Priorities in an Age of Bleaching and Leaching

This year has seen the unprecedented bleaching of our Great Barrier Reef as a consequence of climate change.  At one level the biological reality of what is happening on the Reef represents the consequence of the maladjustment of Australian politics and political economy.

These times of leaching and bleaching represent both immense crisis and great opportunity. Reflecting on current events and trends in popular analysis, this session will present a participant’s analysis of what is actually happening in Australia now, political priorities going forward and scope for deeper strategic alliances.

7 September





Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy: Old Visions, New Realities

For several decades after the Second World War, capitalism regulated by democratic
politics proved successful. Rapid growth and equitable distribution supported by open markets ended the pessimism about instability and inequality that permeated Joseph Schumpeter’s classic Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (1942) written during the war against Fascism.

Now doubts are rising again: in the developed countries, incomes have stopped growing for most people. Inequality is increasing. Vested interests are blocking stabilising interventions. Democracies are rejecting international exchange. And all this is happening at the very moment market authoritarianism in China is breaking the link between high incomes and democratic government. Ross Garnaut’s public lecture probes these trends, and the new forces shaping the major global developments of our time.




september 1 (Thursday) - 7 (Wednesday)


Various venues


Sydney Democracy