Island of Ideas

Public Talks Series

Island life changes, but ideas don't stop flowing.

Island of Ideas is a series of public talks designed to ignite conversation and curiosity in our community. The program is guided by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and explores a diversity of current issues and events.

Our University has a proud history of sharing ideas, and each year we present hundreds of talks, forums, seminars and workshops free of charge to our students, alumni and wider community, including displaced people and refugees. We deliver these events to you in-person and online, in collaboration with partners and experts, as part of our dedication to living in an Island of Ideas.

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Upcoming events

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Developing Health Literacy for a Better Tasmania

Dr Rosie Nash believes health literacy could be the answer to better health outcomes, less inequity, improved educational attainment, and more productive Tasmanians. Join Rosie to discover how Tasmania is leading internationally, and where we have a lot more work to do.

Broadcast  21  November 2023.

Do Children Matter in Australia?
Did you know that Australia ranks a low 32 out of 38 OECD countries on child wellbeing? Why is this? Do Australia’s children really matter? Join the conversation with the National and Tasmanian Children’s Commissioners as they discuss the challenges we must overcome to ensure our children lead happier, healthier, and fairer lives.

Broadcast 8 November 2023.

Life in Ancient Australia

Have you wondered how the first people arrived on Australia's rugged shores and thrived for tens of thousands of years? What wild creatures did they encounter, and what conditions shaped the unique creatures we see today?  Journey with us to the past and hear from the experts about the challenges and triumphs of those who walked this land long before us.

Broadcast 7 November 2023.

Voice to Truth: Hope or hype

As the referendum draws near, the debate surrounding it becomes increasingly complex. Join two of Tasmania’s most experienced Aboriginal leaders as we critically consider the ideas and arguments that have formed the debate, and ask where the outcome of the Referendum will take us as a nation.

Broadcast 25  September 2023.

Embracing Diversity: Creating vibrancy

As the new layers in our social fabric change, challenges are thrust upon new arrivals and marginalised groups as they adjust to the Tasmanian way of life. Join John Kamara, Tasmanian Australian of the Year, refugee and humanitarian, for this passionate discussion about how we might help new arrivals overcome systemic disadvantage and contribute to a better Tasmania.

Broadcast 20 September 2023.

Does an Apple a Day Keep the Doctor Away?

Other than apples, there are many determinants preventing us from accessing the care and services we need. The Deputy Chief Medical Officer and Medical Director of General Practice & Primary Care in the Department of Health says that our health barriers call for innovative systemic solutions and a patient-centred approach that can adapt to the health needs of our communities, all within the confines of limited resources. But what does this look like for Tasmania?

Broadcast 19 September 2023.

The Indigenous University: Can it now be achieved?

The Australian University’s Accord Panel recommends “First Nations students, culture, knowledge, research and communities should be at the heart of the Australian system of higher education”. Can Australian University’s do this and remain globally relevant?  What do proposed changes mean for the future transformation of higher education in Australia?

Broadcast 13 September 2023

Held Hostage: National values, diplomacy and friendship

Even before Professor Sean Turnell spent 650 days of wrongful imprisonment in Myanmar, his story was remarkable. Listen to his extraordinary story of hope, resilience, and the power of friends. What unfolds in this conversation will be more than just personal reflections, but also deep insights into the dynamics of international relations, the role of civil society, and the power of unity in promoting democratic values worldwide.

Broadcast 7  September 2023.

Voice to Truth: Journey to the Referendum

How did we arrive at this referendum? Why is this happening now, and is it necessary? Learn about the journey from the Uluru Statement from the Heart to The Voice Referendum and the history of the struggle for Indigenous justice, equality and representation. Discover why some believe it may help create a more just Australia, and why others believe it will not.

Broadcast 31 August 2023.

Generation Next: Reimagining a better Australia

It's no secret that young people are facing tough times. A changing climate, high house prices, and declining real wages risk leaving a generation worse off than their parents.
Is this something that governments can change? Join Grattan Institute CEO Danielle Wood, and reimagine the future of education, housing, and climate policy in shaping a better Australia for the next generation.

Broadcast 30 August 2023.

Unsung Heroes: Southern Ocean vs. climate change

Secrets of the natural world often lurk in places we could never dream of going ourselves. These secrets are crucial in the unfolding battle against climate change. Discover how the Southern Ocean is keeping the planet from overheating and how our scientists find out this hidden crucial information from the plants and animals living in the extraordinary world of the Southern Ocean.

Broadcast 22 August 2023.

Connecting for Climate Action in Tasmania

Explore Tasmania's new Climate Action Plan and hear from the experts as they discuss its community rollout, alignment with global climate change communication strategies, and the active involvement of young people. This event was produced in collaboration with the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society.

Broadcast 16 August 2023.

Feeding Tasmania: Our food future

With the world population estimated to reach 10 billion by 2050, there is an urgent need to address the growing demand in food production. But how do we feed a growing population while maintaining or improving Tasmania’s land and water quality for future generations? Discover how leaders in the Tasmanian food industry are innovating to build a resilient food system.

Broadcast 3 August 2023.

The Future Battlefield: Is there a place for humanity?

In a world marred by the horrors of armed conflict, the laws of war have never been more crucial.  In the 2023 Red Cross Oration, Dr Helen Durham AO explores how  we might strive to preserve humanity amidst the complexities of modern warfare, responding to the rapid changes in technology and need to protect the natural environment.

Broadcast 27 July 2023.

Voice to Truth: A voice for generations

What does our future look like after the Voice to Parliament Referendum? The public debate on a Voice to Parliament and the forthcoming referendum is an opportunity for the next generation to take their place in this ongoing movement for positive change and to bravely reimagine a better Australia. Join these emerging leaders as they explore visions and aspirations for our collective future.

Broadcast 26 July 2023 AEDT.

Beyond Earth: Our future in space

Stars have captured the imagination of humans for millennia. But beyond curiosity and wonder, why do we continue to fund and fuel the space industry? Why do Elon Musk, the Australian Government and countless others contribute huge funds to space-related projects and capabilities? Find out in this talk.

Broadcast 7 June 2023 AEDT.

Tasmania’s Injustice: Foodless in the food bowl

One in two Tasmanians are food insecure. Let that sink in. Tasmania exports 5.5 times more food than residents consume, yet many households struggle to put food on the table. Despite the growing need, only 10 percent of those in severe food stress are accessing emergency food relief. Why is this?  Tune-in to this conversation to find out how we might put food on the table for all Tasmanians.

Broadcast 16 May  2023  AEDT.

What Hope for Humanity?

You are forgiven for thinking that the world is a scary place. Russia’s gone rogue and Tehran has escalated its nuclear program. Xi Jinping brings pressure to a world economy overly reliant on China, and the rapid progression of artificial intelligence adds tension to a world already threatened by geopolitical unrest. But is there hope for us?  Join our experts online for this compelling conversation and discover why all is not lost.

Broadcast 30 March 2023 AEDT.

Resurrecting our Native Icons

Have you wondered what it would be like to encounter a Thylacine or Tasmanian Emu in the wild? Experts say we could bring them back from extinction. But is this a good idea? What are the potential benefits and risks? What would the ethical, cultural, and ecological implications be?

Broadcast 21 March 2023 AEDT.