The Festival of Questions

 Cheryl Strayed and Meghan Daum

Cheryl Strayed and Meghan Daum

 Kenan Malik, Rita Panahi, George Megalogenis, Sally Warhaft, Lauren Duca, Shen Narayanasamy and Tim Wilson

Kenan Malik, Rita Panahi, George Megalogenis, Sally Warhaft, Lauren Duca, Shen Narayanasamy and Tim Wilson

As Head of Programming for the Wheeler Centre, I lead the conception, curation and delivery of the biennial Festival of Questions, an international ideas festival dedicated to curiosity.

In 2015, the project was known as The Interrobang, and its entire programme was crowd-sourced and co-curated with our audience. A fascinating experiment, at times a bit unruly, the approach nonetheless engendered a wonderful spirit of collaboration and generosity amongst speakers in their communication of their own expertise; and shifted the position to one of humble enquiry. In the often hyperbolic world of public conversation, this was a unique and lovely gathering. Featured speakers included Cheryl Strayed, Rob Delaney, Benjamin Law, Sammy J, Jane Caro, Adam Liaw, Geraldine Brooks, Nakkiah Lui, Alan Brough, Alan Duffy and Abdul Abdullah.

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2017 10 15 FOQ What is Right What is Left (2 of 15).jpg

The 2017 Festival of Questions took place over one full day at the Melbourne Town Hall, in partnership with Melbourne Festival. A highlight for me was the conception of a timely large-scale ideological debate titled What is Right? What is Left?, featuring a successful new format for discussion between conservative MPs and right-wing columnists, centrist economists and philosophers, Teen Vogue writers and human rights activists. We also staged a national events programme in the lead up to the Festival to explore the crucial questions facing the nation, to determine the Melbourne edition’s programme. This series - Questions for the Nation - was developed in consultation with social researcher Rebecca Huntley, and delivered in partnership with Perth’s Disrupted: Festival of Ideas (State Library WA), Darwin Festival, Brisbane Writers Festival and the National Young Writers Festival. Featured speakers included Lauren Duca, Deborah Frances-White, Geoffrey Robertson, Gareth Evans, Julian Burnside, Tim Wilson MP, Jordan Raskopolous, Celeste Liddle and Quinn Eades.