Who gets to choose which thinkers are given a platform to share their ideas with the world? And who gets to decide when someone’s thoughts be buried and their voice
Who gets to choose which thinkers are given a platform to share their ideas with the world? And who gets to decide when someone’s thoughts be buried and their voice unheard?
Festival producers book thinkers and writers to appear on literal platforms. Social media users and protestors are often outraged by their choices citing harm, offence, and bigotry as reasons to no platform and cancel talent. ‘Disinvitations’ attract just as much criticism for suffocating free speech. Controversy erupts and sponsors get cold feet. How do festival programmers balance this with their editorial priorities?
From the unpopular to the offensive and the downright abhorrent, what thinking should be explored, debated and challenged in the light of day? When should a festival programmer concede to a protest and when should they stand strong and defend their billed talent?
Ann Mossop is the Co-Curator of the Festival of Dangerous Ideas and Director of UNSW’s Centre for Ideas. A leading figure in the talks space, she is no stranger to the ethical tensions in producing public conversations that push boundaries. You can follow her on Twitter via @annmossop
Bob Carr is the author of Run for Your Life, the director of the Australia-China Institute at UTS and served as Premier of NSW from 1995 to 2005. He was recently no platformed or ‘disinvited’ from the Brisbane Writers Festival. You can follow him on Twitter via @bobjcarr
Shona Martyn is editor of Spectrum in the Sydney Morning Herald. She was publishing director of HarperCollins for 17 yearsand board member of Sydney Writers’ Festival for eight. She was Lionel Shriver’s publisher during the Brisbane Writers Festival controversy. You can follow her on Twitter via @ShonaMartyn
Kym Middleton is head of editorial and events at The Ethics Centre. She produces live programming, is editor of online content, and executive producer of IQ2. She is a multi-award winning journalist with a background in news and current affairs. You can follow her on Twitter via @kymmidd
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