Speakers and Ideas programme

Michael and Ludmila Doneman are two people who are absolutely passionate about new ideas, relentlessly in their interrogation of the status quo, and constantly seeking out ways to ensure everyone has a seat at the table. They’re our new Speakers and Ideas programmers, and you’ll see their influence in the programme they’ve created this year. Relationships nurtured by Jillian Rossiter and Mandi McIntyre continue to flourish. Along with Folk Medicine producer Dominique LivKamal and World Folklines coordinators Pat and Sim Symons, the Donemans have brought together over 100 speakers on a range of topics that will make your head spin and open you up to new information: challenging, insightful, exciting, useful, enraging and inspiring by turn.

Julie-Ann Lambourne

We want to say how much we appreciate that Woodfordians are curious, engaged and articulate – and willing to have those conversations. Our speakers know that no matter who they are, they will be received with open ears, and that the opinion or feedback on their topics will be offered respectfully and with genuine curiosity. This spirit allows our programme team to extend invitations to a myriad of speakers. We hope you’re looking forward to meeting them as much as we are.

And now that we’ve set the scene… if you’ve ever fantasised about your ideal dinner party companions – and added an audience of 200 – 2000 people, your fantasy is about to become a reality. In a mixture of practical science and rolled-sleeves mucking in, Woodfordian convert Dr Karl returns, joined by first-timer Costa for discussions on soil (Soils Ain’t Soils) and Gardening for A Good Earth. Karen Middleton hosts ex-Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in a discussion on disillusionment in Australian politics. Professor Ian Lowe invites you to be inspired to reacquaint yourself with – or pick up for the first time – Rachel Carson’s ground-breaking 1962 publication ‘Silent Spring’ so that you can be part of the first ever festival book club. ABC’s Geoff Wood continues his wonderful Music of the Spirit series, with interviews and performances from our WorldFolklines programme. We are joined for the first time by the hilarious, touching and far reaching Canadian live event and podcast ‘Grown Ups Read Things They Wrote as Kids’, where Woodfordians can dig up their old poetry, letters and diaries to share with a live audience.

Xavier Rudd

Rhoda Roberts’ Ancient Cultures, New Conversations series returns with guests musician Xavier Rudd, artist Vernon Ah Kee and the Urapunga Weavers to discuss the way that Indigenous heritage influences artistic output, and the reception that their work receives from community and in broader society. Federal Labour MP Linda Burney talks about how to enter politics as an Indigenous person, as well as the alarming statistics around Indigenous youth in juvenile detention. Business owner, educator and Director of Iscariot Media, Leesa Watego discusses signal boosting Indigenous voices via social media, and also joins remarkable businesswoman Julie-Ann Lambourne in a discussion on female Indigenous entrepreneurs. Indigenous rights activist, the subject of theatrical production Bukal, Associate Professor Henrietta Marrie provides insight into her extraordinary life that includes a position with the United Nations as the Secretariat of Biological Diversity.

Linday Burney

Former ‘Time Off’ publisher Sean Sennett discusses the future of Australia’s Street Press.

New Woodfordia regulars Dr Brian Von Herzen (USA) and Arief Rabik (INDO) will speak on environmental innovations and bamboo building. Tim Sharp and Judy Sharp discuss the unexpected success of Laser Beak Man, inclusion and the benefits of artistic collaboration, themes that are echoed in panels of social entrepreneurship with Magpie Goose and Reverse Inclusion with Suncoast Spinners.

David Engwicht, the inspirational creator of the Walking School Bus and the 7 Day Makeover, leads a session on Deep Change for Individual, Community and World, and communities can be further galvanized in John Waldron’s discussion on the Samford Commons Project.

Dr Brian Von Herzen

Environmental explorations include: Dr Barry Trail’s update on the Kimberley World Heritage status; Professor Marcus Foth’s solution to the situation critically endangering wombats; Rob Knagg’s beautiful cello compositions for the animals of the frozen Arctic; radical environmentalism with Dominic Hyde; Helen Schwenke’s Maintaining Biodiversity; and a session on natural education from Wildlings Forest School, who’ve recently started a Children’s Playgroup at Woodfordia. Professor Ian Lowe proposes a responsible approach to Solving the Trilemma of Cheap, Clean and Reliable Power, and also takes part in a special session on January 1st Oceans Forum with Dr Karl and Dr Brian Von Herzen.

Full talks programme will be available online on Wednesday 19th September.