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Planet Talks. Listen Up.


Planet Talks. Listen Up.

Caitlin Tait

Between the seemingly hundreds of things to do in March each year in Adelaide, one thing always stands out in the crowd: WOMAD.

WOMAD’s Planet Talks program for 2017 has been released, and if you’re looking to help create difference – this line up is for you. There are guests from near and far involved, including university lecturers from Sydney, Hawaiians ready to move to Mars, CEO’s and journalists.


Planet Talks will be tackling topics such as climate change; colonising Mars (!!!); and valuing, preserving and learning from Indigenous knowledge and languages.

Next year marks the 25th anniversary of WOMADealaide, and festival Director Ian Scobie has given us reason enough to celebrate, saying that presenting an important discussion forum on an international stage symbolises the inclusiveness and breadth of the festival.

‘Planet Talks will again focus on some of seminal issues facing humanity today… and it is a testament to the event that we are again able to offer audiences the opportunity to listen to internationally leading voices on a variety of subjects across the festival weekend.’


Interested on life on Mars? (Not just the Bowie song.) Carmel Johnston is heading down under from America and at the forefront of researching the social dimensions of human life on Mars. Johnston and five others simulated living on Mars for on year in Hawaii as a collaborative study with the University of Hawaii and NASA. In a session led by ABC Science Broadcaster, Robyn Williams, Johnston will be discussing how colonising Mars will benefit the Earth. Also joining will be the remaining Australian candidate on the shortlist for Mars One (where you live and die on Mars for #science), Josh Richards. Out of this world.

Ever the environmentally conscious dream that WOMAD is, there will be a discussion about the ‘I’ in climate change with a whole gang of intelligent, amazing people including the ABC 891’s Sony Feldhoff, Planet Ark founder Jon Dee, cCHANGE founder Karen O’Brien and more.

Providing another perspective to climate change, is Father Bob Maguire, who has been dubbed ‘Australia’s favourite Catholic’ – and not without cause. Father Bob is fantastic. Leading the talk, Father Bob is discussing religion and climate change with UniSA’s Professor Mohammad Abdalla, Rabbi Johnathan Keren-Black and Phillppa Rowland, allowing the conversation to have a variety of perspectives from different faiths and backgrounds.

That’s the WOMAD we know and love.


There are talks for everyone spread over the course of WOMAD weekend, so even if you’re only going in for one day, Planet Talks is worth visiting between your fix of grooving, eating, and soaking up the good vibes.


What: WOMADelaide Festival

When: 10-13 March, 2017

Where: Botanic Park, Adelaide

Tickets: Available here


All images via WOMADelaide's website