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WOMAD Announce 2018 Planet Talks Program


WOMAD Announce 2018 Planet Talks Program

Ellie Stamelos

WOMADelaide have just announced the full program for The Planet Talks, and it’s pretty darn incredible. The Planet Talks are an integral part of the WOMAD festival, and consist of a series of thought-provoking political, social and planetary discussions.

2018’s discussion panels will be book-ended by two featured talks. Opening the program will be Tim Flannery, a world-renowned environmentalist and chief councillor of the Australian Climate Council. Joining Flannery in conversation will be Australian science broadcaster Robyn Williams; together, the pair will explore ways in which to have a sustainable relationship with the planet.  

The second feature talk will take place on the Monday, and will feature award-winning foreign correspondent Peter Greste. Best known for campaigning for freedom of press after spending over 400 days in a Cairo prison, Greste will discuss Press Freedom in the modern world, and its implications for democracy. Greste’s talk will be followed by a conversation with Guardian journalist Ben Doherty.

WOMADelaide director Ian Scobie says, “our ambition for The Planet Talks is to provide a civilised forum for informed discussion and debate about many of the key issues which confront humanity. This year’s extraordinarily diverse array of panels and topics will haven the opportunity to listen, think, engage and, at the conclusion of the event we hope, feel informed and positive about our future.”

I mage via WOMADelaide website archives

Image via WOMADelaide website archives

The 2018 program will also include New York Times environment writer and nature author Jim Robbins, comedian, producer, television / radio host and Vice President of Flora and Fauna International Rove McManus, and scientific director and professor of animal behaviour at Flinders University Sonia Kleindorfer. Together with Robyn Williams, Kleindorfer will host a unique session titled The Wonder of Birds. Here, you’ll be able to gain a rare insight into the lives of birds, and comprehend the surprising ways in which birds have shaped both human life and our understanding of the wider world.

Opening The Planet Talks discussions on Sunday will be ABC’s Eleanor Hall, who will discuss Artificial Intelligence and their potentially disruptive impact on our sustainable relationship with the planet. This session will also feature Genevieve Bell, one of the world’s leading technologists, internationally recognised A.I. researcher Toby Walsh, and Director of UniSA’s MOD, Kristin Alford. This talk will feature as a special edition of the Techtopia segment on ABC program The World Today.

The Sunday afternoon session will be led by Ursula Rakova. Rakova is Executive Director of Tulele Peisa, an organisation in PNG’s Carteret Islands that assists in relocating island communities that have been impacted by rising sea levels due to climate change. A plethora of experts will join Rakova in this moving discussion, including poet and human rights activist Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner, human rights lawyer Julian Burnside, leading authority on global poverty Tim Costello and Guardian correspondent Ben Doherty.

Editor-at-large of Marie Claire and one of the country’s leading ethical fashion writers Clare Press will join 2018’s Planet Talks panel, discussing the real but often hidden costs of fast fashion in a live edition of her podcast, ‘Wardrobe Crisis’. Joining Press will be Gab Murphy and Megan O’Malley, two individuals who walked a whopping 3500 km across Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, meeting, learning and documenting the stories of those they met who were creating fashion in positive and sustainable ways.

The 2018 program will be rounded out with a discussion panel who will delve into the question, “is plastic pollution as great a threat to humanity as climate change?” The panel will consist of UNSW micro-plastic researcher Vivian Sim, Chief Executive of Green Industries SA Vaughan Levitzke and Sustainable Marketing academic Anne Sharp.

For more information and to grab tickets, head to

Header image via WOMADelaide Facebook Page.