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Melbourne gets its talk on

The big picture may seem all but lost to some, but Melbourne Conversations makes this concept a closer reality

Words by: Farah Beaini
Photography by: Mr LB

We all get to a point. A point where the red flashing light on your phone heralds 14 missed voicemail messages by 10 am and the chains on your desk are seemingly no longer metaphorical and the only real reading you get to do is either work-related or updates on your friend’s Candy Crush achievements. The point where you really just yearn for the ‘simpler days’ of pre-full time work; a time where you and your friends thrashed out and debated ideas. A time where your world views were only just being formed.

If you’re at this point rest assured, we have the perfect way to reconnect you with your inner news-hungry enthusiast.

Melbourne Conversations offers a forum for free public discussions and debates on themes that challenge your ideas and views on Melbourne’s intellectual culture, creativity, liveability and sustainability.

In the latest conversation, a panel of some of Australia’s most eminent scientists, including Sir Gustav Nossal, explored the question of whether Melbourne, long revered as Australia’s art, food and culture city – its sporting mecca – can also lay claim of being a “Science City”.

Aptly titled ‘Science City: Has Melbourne Got what it takes?’, what was striking about this conversation was the panels frank admission that we weren’t quite there yet. For Melbourne to truly be called a Science City, it was up to its scientists to overcome Australia’s tall poppy syndrome and aversion to risk and failure, which had so far deprived long-term funding for ground-breaking research. Scientists need to get out of their labs and into their community to promote just how internationally renowned its scientific research is, and how important science is to continue Australia’s economic prosperity.

I also could not help but observe how befitting the choice of venue was for this conversation. Once seen as ‘ugly’, an ‘eyesore’ and ‘out of place’, Federation Square has since grown to become the meeting place for many Melbournians.  Its very own playground for conversations, celebrations and a tourist destination in its own right. Likewise, while Melbourne still has quite a way to go, given the talent, passion and exceptional track record of Melbourne’s scientific community that was on display, it should come as no surprise that Melbourne can, with additional funding and support, one day call itself a Science City.

Melbourne Conversations runs throughout the year. More information about Melbourne Conversations and up-coming events can be found here.
Previous Melbourne Conversations can be watched here.

Food in pictures

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