Festival of dangerous ideas


Festival of Dangerous Ideas, 3-4 November 2018, Cockatoo Island

Entering its ninth year, the Festival of Dangerous Ideas (FODI) returns this November, choosing a commanding new location to call home; Cockatoo Island, a place ‘off-limits’ to the public for over 100- years.

“Cockatoo Island is a significant location for so many cultural and creative moments. It’s a perfect match for FODI; an evocative place to discuss our most dangerous ideas,” said Danielle Harvey, Festival Director, FODI.

“FODI is the original disruptive festival, known for taking people on unexpected and confronting journeys, and in heading to Cockatoo Island, audiences can think, engage and explore deeply - it’s the festival so dangerous it’s left the mainland!” said Harvey.

Taking place over two days, the Festival - a collaboration between The Ethics Centre (TEC) and UNSW Centre for Ideas - will explore themes of trust and truth, pushing our public and personal boundaries, encouraging intellectual debate and taking ideas to the limit.

“Knowing who to trust and what to believe has never been so complicated. FODI has a legacy of exploring polarising ideas and making bold curatorial choices. These dangerous conversations are even more critical when truth and clarity are hard to find,” continued Harvey.

The festival is being brought to life by longstanding FODI curators Simon Longstaff AO (Executive Director, TEC), Ann Mossop (Director, Centre of Ideas, UNSW) and Danielle Harvey (Festival Director, FODI).

“This is a new arena for UNSW, but both organisations have a strong commitment to freedom of inquiry, freedom of speech and knowledge exchange for the public good. By presenting the festival together, we can bring these values to life,” said Mossop.

“We need to foster critical thinking and the ability to disagree. These are the tools that the next generation needs in order to engage with the most difficult issues of our time and avoid a dystopian future,” continued Mossop.

“Surrounded as we are, by dangerous ideas, FODI has never been to everyone’s taste. That’s why FODI demands a measure of courage - if only to immerse yourself in something strange and disagreeable,” said Longstaff.

“The Harbour Trust is delighted to host The Festival of Dangerous Ideas on Cockatoo Island. Cockatoo Island is now firmly established as Sydney’s place to explore creative and cultural boundaries and a sanctuary to realise ambitious ideas,” said Harbour Trust CEO Mary Darwell.

Since inception FODI has presented 239 individual sessions, sold over 157,000 tickets and reached even more via its satellite event program and digital content.

Previous thought leaders include; Christopher Hitchens, Julian Assange, Mona Eltahawy, Alicia Garza, Sir Salman Rushdie, Germaine Greer, Pussy Riot, Tariq Ali, Paul Krugman, Sam Harris, Vandana Shiva, Naomi Klein and Stan Grant.

Just a few of the dangerous ideas explored over the festival’s history include;

  • Open the borders
  • Let banks fail
  • A foetus is not a person
  • Engineer humans to stop climate change
  • Is torture necessary?
  • The end of men
  • Surrogacy is child trafficking
  • A killer can be a good neighbour

Program to be announced soon. Be the first to see the festival program by signing up here