Ideas Exchange

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Ideas Exchange

Thinking critically about the big ideas that shape our everyday.

Ideas Exchange (formerly the Woollahra School of Philosophy) is a series of quarterly forums aimed to encourage informed community discussion and a robust exchange of ideas between scholars, pioneering minds and the local community. This initiative is about fostering philosophical and ethical conversation at the community level, covering a variety of relevant topics.

Topics explored in the past include; the moral challenge of climate change, death and dying, artificial intelligence, and freedom of speech. The discussions are co-produced and moderated by interviewer and facilitator Michaela Kalowski. Stay tuned for news of the next discussion in the series.

A philosophical discussion on The Moral Challenge of Climate Change.

Each event will be hosted at the Woollahra Library in Double Bay during the evening, starting with a brief presentation by the panellists before opening up the discussion via questions and answers facilitated by a moderator.

The Power of Storytelling

Telling stories and seeing stories in everything is a deeply human trait. Neuroscientist Beau Lotto says the world we perceive is not actually the world itself - it is our own story of the world, based on our knowledge and what we have learned from others. "Stories are our powerful means of navigating a sometimes shocking or uncertain world...and finding our place in it." So what can master storytellers, and people who listen to stories all day, help us understand about the uses of stories and how the way we tell them shapes our reality and informs our choices?

Racism: Bridging Difference in a Pandemic World

One in five people living in Australia has experienced racist abuse*. The pandemic has shown deep cracks and inequality in our society, and has been the framework for a steep rise in xenophobia and racist attacks.

In a multicultural country like Australia, and in a world redefined by covid-19, how is racism evolving? How far has Australia come in recognising racism and developing responses to it? And what are different communities doing to combat it?

In this timely conversation, moderated by Michaela Kalowski, community and industry leaders will share insights from their work about how they bridge differences between groups and how people can stand up to racism and prejudice.


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Addiction today is epidemic. We can be, and are, addicted to everything in front of us. From drugs and alcohol to gambling; to online shopping and checking our social media.

Have we been thinking about addiction all wrong? Whose brains have we been studying? Is there a ‘cure’ for addiction and what might it look like? Join Michaela Kalowski as she speaks with two world-leading thinkers - Judith Grisel and Adam Alter on the topic of addiction.

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Ethical Consumerism

Can we shop our way to a better world? There is growing pressure to make sure we are buying products that are not harmful to the environment or society.

Michaela Kalowski along with Matthew Kearnes and Judy Friedlander discuss this curly topic in light of our current collective experience living through a pandemic.

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Become a partner

If you're a local organisation interested in partnering with a project like this, please contact Woollahra Libraries on 9391 7100 or email


For more information, please contact:

Woollahra Libraries
Telephone: 9391 7100