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Off the cuff and unfiltered, live talks are where you hear the content you can’t Google.

The UNSW Centre for Ideas presents a thought-provoking program of events and digital content from the globe's leading thinkers.  As we grapple with questions surrounding climate change, technological disruption and global politics, a program which provides a platform for public debate and the sharing of knowledge, that is also open to everyone, is crucial.

In 2019, the Centre for Ideas welcomed international best-selling author Margaret Atwood to the Sydney Opera House and former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard to the Sydney Town Hall. In venues at UNSW Sydney’s Kensington campus, the Centre has hosted public talks with psychologist Paul Bloom, artificial intelligence expert Toby Walsh, award-winning New York Times reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones, illustrious philosopher Daniel Dennett and former Australian of the Year and professor of quantum physics, Michelle Simmons.

Together with The Ethics Centre, the Centre for Ideas presented the Festival of Dangerous Ideas (FODI) in 2018. The Festival has been a champion of courageous public conversations and this commitment to provide a platform for debate of all kinds aligns perfectly with the Centre’s ethos. The 2018 FODI program featured provocative orators such as Germaine Greer, Stephen Fry and Pankaj Mishra.

In 2019, the UNSW Centre for Ideas launched UNTHINKABLE, a series of talks exploring the questions we haven’t asked, the futures we can avoid and the realities we are yet to consider. The series presented prominent international voices including, Monica Lewinsky, Reza Aslan and Mona Eltahawy.




In response to instructions from the Australian Federal Government due to COVID-19, the UNSW Centre for Ideas will be cancelling all in person events until further notice. Nothing is more important to UNSW than the health and safety of our community and we would like to do our part to reduce the risk of further spreading the virus. If you are practising social distancing, we encourage you to take this time to listen to the many podcasts from past events. Click here for more information on UNSW Sydney’s response to COVID-19.


To contact the Centre for Ideas, please call 02 9385 1000 or email


The Centre for Ideas strives to make every event as accessible as possible. Please refer to individual event pages for venue access details.

Where the wheelchair icon is displayed, the venue/location is wheelchair accessible. If this symbol is not displayed, access may be limited and assistance by venue staff may be required. To ensure the best possible experience, please discuss all access requirements with the venue before you book. 

To discuss your access requirements and to book selected access services, please call the Centre for Ideas on 02 9385 1000 or email

The Centre for Ideas is happy to receive phone calls via the National Relay Service. TTY users, phone 133 677, then ask for 02 9385 1000. Speak and Listen users, phone 1300 555 727 then ask for 02 9385 1000. Internet relay users, visit, then ask for 02 9385 1000.

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