More dates

    Uncivil Society – polarisation and breakdown in our conversations today

    This event has passed Get tickets

    Event description


    polarisation and breakdown in our conversations today

    What has happened to civil debate and the reasonable exchange of competing ideas in public, to conversations that might lead to productive compromise or simply agreeing to disagree? 

    In a culture of winners and losers, right and wrong, there is a lack of tolerance and depth with people expressing themselves in a partisan rage or condescending to correct others for their stupidity. 

    A polarised mainstream media encourage these bubbles of arrogance, offering up feeble resistance and thin analysis or op-eds disguised as hard news. Social media and keyboard warriors online meanwhile trade in conspiracy, fake news, and ‘angertainment’ assertions. 

    Amid all this noise and resentment an awful energy grows… many people self-censor for fear of the pile-ons, while others opportunistically exploit toxic cultural conditions that hint at totalitarian shadows and a complex breakdown in community values. 

    Why has this happened? What is going on? Can we fix it? Or are such concerns an over-reaction to a new mode of civil and technologically energised discourse that is yet to settle and clarify itself?

    Come hear 

    Dr Chris FlemingLucinda HoldforthMichael West, Sheila Ngoc Pham and Mark Mordue 

    discuss these issues @Addi Road’s Greek Theatre

    Panel conversation will last one hour followed by a 30-minute audience Q+A.

    6pm for 6.30pm

    Wednesday, 25 October

    Greek Theatre @ Addi Road

    142 Addison Road, Marrickville

    Free entry for all or $10 donation appreciated.

    All monies raised go to Addi Road food relief programs.

    More on Addi Road here:

    Dr Chris Fleming is a highly regarded writer whose work has appeared in both the scholarly and popular media, including, mostly recently, The GuardianSPIN, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He is the author or editor of ten books, including Modern Conspiracy: The Importance of Being Paranoid (Bloomsbury, 2014) and the acclaimed memoir On Drugs (Giramondo 2019). As well as theoretical work, translations, and journalism he has also published fiction, graphic stories, and visual art in places such as Westerly and The Saturday Paper and was recently shortlisted for the Island Nonfiction Prize. He is currently Associate Professor in Humanities and a Member of the Writing and Society Research Centre at Western Sydney University.


    Dr Lucinda Holdforth is a speechwriter and author. She worked for the Hawke-Keating government and has written speeches for government agencies, corporates and not-for-profit organisations. She taught public communications at UTS and Sydney University. In 2016 she was a volunteer Primary Ethics Teacher at Crown St Public School.  Her most recent book is 21st Century Virtues: How they are failing our democracy (Monash University Publishing).


    Sheila Ngoc Pham is a writer, editor, producer and curator working across public health, media and the arts. She writes for literary and mainstream publications, was a finalist for the 2021 Pascall Prize for Arts Criticism, and serves on the Advisory Board of Sydney Review of Books. Sheila has held editorial roles at the ABC, independently produced for Radio National, and recently co-produced the award-winning SBS podcast My Bilingual Family (2022). Sheila is currently co-Artistic Director for Addi Road Writers' Festival and has also been a curator for TEDxSydney and an independent talks producer for Writing NSW, public libraries across Sydney, and festivals including Vivid Ideas and Sydney Writers’ Festival. Her day job involves cross-party parliamentary engagement and she is currently completing a PhD focused on healthcare experience.


    Michael West spent two decades working as an investigative journalist, stockbroker, editor and finance commentator before striking out on his own in July 2016 to found The independent news website is dedicated to covering the rising power of corporations over democracy. MWM is non-partisan, does not take advertising and is funded by thousands of devoted readers. Its investigations focus on big business, particularly multinational tax-avoiders, financial markets, and the banking and energy sectors. Publications Michael has previously worked for include the Australian Financial ReviewThe Australian and the Sydney Morning Herald. He is a Walkley-award winner and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Sydney’s School of Social and Political Sciences as well as Editor and Founder of Michael West Media.


    Mark Mordue is a Sydney-based writer and journalist. After establishing himself as a rock journalist on Sydney’s post-punk music scene in the 1980s, his career grew to embrace poetry, travel writing, feature interviews and arts criticism across mainstream, literary and counter-culture media. He is the winner of a 1992 Human Rights Media Award and the 2010 Pascall Prize: Australian Critic of the Year. He has also been the editor of three independent national publications: Stiletto (1984-1985); Australian Style (1992-97); and Neighbourhood (2016-2018). His most recent book is the acclaimed biography, Boy on Fire – The Young Nick Cave (HarperCollins, 2020); Atlantic Books UK, 2021). His novel There's No Telling is slated to appear in mid 2024.

    Main image: Thylacine / Tasmanian Tiger specimen at the Natural History Museum in Vienna. Photo by GoleGole, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

    Powered by

    Tickets for good, not greed Humanitix dedicates 100% of profits from booking fees to charity