FAT ideas brewing

250x166-CS30631-BigFatIdeas-onwhite-highcontrast-V4Five La Trobe academics will stir up these issues in front of a live audience this Wednesday 13 June.

These questions and more will be answered at La Trobe’s third Big FAT Ideas program. Big FAT Ideas presents Focused, Ambitious and Transformative talks by La Trobe academics. Each presentation will inspire and challenge the audience to think differently about an issue of local, national or global significance.

Students, staff and other guests can attend the live presentations which will be made available to the world via YouTube, iTunesU and the Big Fat Ideas La Trobe website.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Dewar said the program will create conversations around new ideas, ‘Big FAT Ideas aims to encourage audiences to engage with issues and concepts they hadn’t explored before, or see familiar issues from a different point of view.’

‘Big FAT Ideas is another way for La Trobe University to share innovative thinking with Australian communities and beyond,’ Professor Dewar said.


What:  La Trobe Big FAT Ideas Series Three
When:  Wednesday 13 June, 12.00 pm – 2.00 pm
(Interviews can be scheduled with prior notification), contact Warrick Glynn 9479 6534 or Nicole Humphreys 9479 6533
Where: HuEd Lecture Theatre, La Trobe University, Kingsbury Drive, Bundoora

12.10 pm - Risk and fear, and why parents don't let their children go places by themselves
Julie Rudner, Lecturer – Urban, Rural and Environmental Planning
Why do we often restrict what children can do or where they can go by themselves?  Are Australian kids less competent than kids in other countries?  Julie will challenge the audience to think about ‘risk’ and what it really means.  While international statistics show Australia is a safe country, our notions of risk and what might happen to children if they do things or go places on their own tell us a different story.

12.30 pm - The challenge of neglected diseases in the developing world
Associate Professor Warwick Grant, Head of Department – Genetics
Economic and social development, not to mention quality of life, in developing countries are constrained by many factors, including disease.  For many of these diseases there are effective interventions that would alleviate much or most of the disease – we know how to help but choose not to.  For those diseases where there are no or poor interventions available, the pharmaceutical and medical technology industries have chosen not to develop new and better interventions because there is no money to pay for them – no profit. In both cases, not helping is a deliberate choice based on self-interest in the developed world.

12.50 pm - The media on climate change: a perfect storm of miscommunication
Dr Mary Debrett, Senior Lecturer – Strategic Communication Program
We are now in the middle of perfect storm of miscommunication about climate change. Various factors have converged to confound rational public conversation. Public opinion polling indicates that although there is widespread acceptance of climate change resulting from human activities, the public’s preparedness to pay for action to mitigate climate change is actually declining - even as climate scientists warn of the increasing urgency for action.  These results signal a serious problem in the public communication of climate change.  They reflect this perfect storm – where tensions between the media, politicians and various lobby groups have made it impossible for scientists, and others with appropriate expertise, to cut through.

1.10 pm - Giving Sudanese-Australians a voice in the media
Professor Timothy Marjoribanks, Head – Department of Management, La Trobe Business School
The Australian Human Rights Commission has highlighted the discrimination experienced by African-Australians in contemporary Australia - through media representations, and the adverse effects of such discrimination.
A critical challenge for any society is the search for social justice, a core dimension of which concerns the promotion of belonging, a sense of feeling a part of society. An innovative research based journalism training initiative for Sudanese-Australians has been developed to seek to promote social inclusion and belonging through mobilising the communicative power of the media.

1.30 pm - Science and society: Transforming the curriculum
Dorothy Smith, Lecturer in Education
Science is seen as a necessary part of school education for all students but Australian students are turning away from studying science, and have been for at least twenty years. Most recommendations for fixing this situation focus on teaching better, and don’t consider the substantial changes in science, society and the relationship between science and society that have happened over the past decades. We need a different type of science education in schools, one that encourages an attitude of productive social engagement with science.


Warrick Glynn, Media and Communications Unit
T: 9479 6534 E: w.glynn@latrobe.edu.au

Nicole Humphreys, Media and Communications Unit
T: 9479 6533 E: n.humphreys@latrobe.edu.au