Cultural Cognition, Climate Science Communication and the Measurement Problem – Public lecture by Professor Dan Kahan (Yale University)

Posted on: September 4th, 2014 by SamCB

Professor Kahan will deliver a lecture entitled, Cultural Cognition, Climate Science Communication and the Measurement Problem.


In studies funded by the National Science Foundation, Professor Kahan and his collaborators have investigated public conflict over climate change, public reactions to emerging technologies, and public understandings of scientific consensus across disputed issues. Articles featuring the Project’s studies have appeared in a variety of peer-reviewed scholarly journals including the Journal of Risk Research, Judgment and Decision Making, Nature Climate Change, Science, and Nature.

This Project is currently engaged in field research that tests evidence-based strategies for promoting public engagement with climate science in Southeast Florida.

About Dan Kahan

Dan Kahan

Professor Dan Kahan


Prof Dan Kahan is the Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor of Law and Professor of Psychology at Yale Law School. He is a member of the Cultural Cognition Project, an interdisciplinary team of scholars who use empirical methods to examine the impact of group values on perceptions of risk and science communication.




Lecture Details

Thursday, 14 August, 2014

6.00 – 7.00 pm


RMIT City Campus

Kaleide Theatre

360 Swanston St, Melbourne

Free event. All welcome. To RSVP please email:

More information

A link to lecture slides: Dan-Kahan Lecture slides

A link to Professor Dan Kahan’s reflections on his blog about the lecture: “What exactly is going on in their heads?” (And in mine?) Explaining “knowing disbelief” of climate change


The ‘Great Recession’ in the Baltic States – A Public Lecture by Professor Charles Woolfson

Posted on: April 10th, 2014 by melissa

In association with the Centre for Sustainable Organisations and Work, the Global Cities Research Institute is proud to present a free public lecture with noted international scholar, Professor Charles Woolfson, on Thursday, 3 July 2014 (3.30  pm – 5.00 pm).

Professor Woolfson will deliver a lecture entitled, The ‘Great Recession’ in the Baltic States: The Myth of ‘Successful’ Austerity and Some Wider Lessons. 

Together with Associate Professor Jeffrey Sommers (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Professor Woolfson is co-editor of the critically acclaimed book, The Contradictions of Austerity: The Socio-Economic Costs of the Neoliberal Baltic Model (2014, Routledge, London and New York).


The ‘Great Recession’ in the Baltic States: The Myth of ‘Successful’ Austerity and Some Wider Lessons

During the years of ‘the great recession’, the Baltic ‘Tiger’ economies of the mid-2000s experienced the most severe downturn not only in Europe, but globally. Now with economic recovery in sight, this paper examines the myth of the new Baltic ‘success’ story – that the imposition of radical austerity measures together with so-called ‘internal devaluation’ can be achieved with popular consent, and in a socially and economically ‘costless’ manner. Baltic-style austerity has now become a template for the European Commission and the international financial community more widely. This presentation will argue that, contra the myth of ‘success’, austerity has had significant social and economic costs which undermine the longer-run sustainability of societies which follow this path. Among these costs are large increases in poverty, growing social, political and industrial ‘disenfranchisement’, labour market segmentation, as well as unprecedented and continuing emigration of a new austeriat. The paper offers a cautionary message to austerity governments seeking to restore economic growth at the expense of labour in the aftermath of the financial crisis. 


About Professor Woolfson

Charles Woolfson is Professor of labour studies, Institute for Research on Migration, Ethnicity and Society (REMESO), Linköping University, Sweden. Between 1999 and 2009 he was resident in the Baltic states, and was for three years (2004-2007) a European Commission ‘Marie Curie Chair’ at the University of Latvia. Previously, Woolfson was professor of labour studies in the School of Law at the University of Glasgow, Scotland and an associate member of Centre for Research on Racism, Ethnicity and Nationalism, University of Glasgow. 

His main interests are the impact of labour migration on labour standards, working environment issues, trade unionism in post-communist EU Member States, and racism and xenophobia in Eastern Europe. Woolfson is also professorial visiting fellow, Industrial Relations Research Centre, Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales and has been an honorary visiting professor in International Employment Relations at the Sir John Cass Business School, City University London.


Lecture Details

Thursday, 3 July 2014, 3.30 pm – 5.00 pm  

RMIT City Campus 

Emily McPherson Building - Multipurpose Room

RMIT Building 13, Level 3, Room 7

Corner Russell and Victoria streets, Melbourne


Free event. All welcome. To RSVP please email:  


Acclaim for ‘The Contradictions of Austerity’

‘This book promises to become the defining study on the impact of austerity in the Baltics, otherwise known as the ‘Baltic miracle.’ The Baltic miracle has been heralded by partisans of neoliberal austerity as demonstrating the success of their economic therapy, despite the pain for the affected populations.  As these carefully argued and well-documented studies reveal, if this “miracle” counts as success, one would hate to imagine what failure might be.  As the editors rightly argue, the import of these incisive inquiries is also “a stark warning” to the European Union, and the world, as the neoliberal assault steadily demolishes the social model that was Europe’s great contribution to modern civilization.’ Noam Chomsky

‘The crisis of 2008 put Europe’s Periphery in a state of civil war between those who had not caused the crisis, and were asked to pay for it, and the few who had caused it but insisted on remaining in power. The Baltic countries were the first battleground on which the powers-that-be fought for their survival wielding the lethal weapon of austerity. They “made a desert”, “called it peace”, and then exported it to Ireland and Europe’s South hidden behind claims of “success” in the Baltics. Never before has spectacular economic policy failure been so effectively re-packaged as “success” and pressed into service so as to enfeeble, humiliate and usurp a whole Continent. By deconstructing the “official version” of austerity’s effects on the Baltics, this book contributes greatly to those who care for Europe and for the truth.’ Yanis Varoufakis 



Click on this link for more information on the Centre for Sustainable Organisations and Work.

RMIT acknowledges the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nations as the traditional owners of the land on which the University stands, and respectfully recognises Elders past and present.

John Pilger Documentary Film Screening – Utopia

Posted on: January 7th, 2014 by melissa

The Global Indigeneity and Reconciliation Program, together with concerned Australians (cA), Arena Publishing and the Global Cities Research Institute is honoured to present the Melbourne premier of John Pilger’s new documentary film ‘Utopia’ on Tuesday, 4 February 2014 (6.30 pm – 9.30 pm).  Two years in the making, Utopia reveals a shocking national secret behind the postcard image of the “lucky country”.

To reserve your place email or phone 03 9415 7164 by 5pm, Friday, 31 January 2014.

This is a free public screening.



Utopia is a vast region in northern Australia and home to the oldest human presence on earth. This film is a journey into that secret country,’ says Pilger in Utopia. ‘It will describe not only the uniqueness of the first Australians, but their trail of tears and betrayal and resistance—from one utopia to another.’ Pilger begins his journey in Sydney, where he grew up, and in Canberra, the nation’s capital, where the national parliament rises in an affluent suburb called Barton, recently awarded the title of Australia’s most advantaged community. Barton is named after Edmund Barton, the first prime minister of Australia, who in 1901 introduced the White Australia Policy. “The doctrine of the equality of man,” said Barton, “was never intended to apply to those who weren’t British and white-skinned.” He made no mention of the original inhabitants who were deemed barely human, unworthy of recognition in the first suburban utopia. One of the world’s best kept secrets is revealed against a background of the greatest boom in mineral wealth. Has the ‘lucky country’ inherited South African apartheid? And how could this happen in the 21st century? What role has the media played? Utopia is both a personal journey and universal story of power and resistance and how modern societies can be divided between those who conform and a dystopian world of those who do not conform. Utopia draws on people and places Pilger first filmed 28 years ago during his long association with the indigenous people of his homeland. The evidence he produces is often deeply moving and shocking.

Utopia is produced by Dartmouth Films and released in association with Network Releasing.



John Pilger

John Pilger is an multi-award winning Australian journalist based in London. Since his early years as a war correspondent in Vietnam, Pilger has been a strong critic of American, Australian and British foreign policy, which he considers to be driven by an imperialist agenda. Pilger has also been a staunch critic of Australia’s treatment of its indigenous population – the first Australians - and the practices of the mainstream media. In the British print media, he has had a long association with the Daily Mirror, and writes a fortnightly column for the New Statesman magazine.

Pilger has twice won Britain’s Journalist of the Year Award. His documentaries, screened internationally, have gained awards in Britain and worldwide. The journalist has also received several honorary doctorates.


Event Details

The screening of this film about Aboriginal Australia will incorporate the launch by Alastair Nicholson of ‘In the Absence of Treaty’, a new book edited by Michele Harris and published by concerned Australians. Joining Alastair on stage will be playwright, scriptwriter and musician, Richard Frankland. A member of the Gunditjmara people in Western Victoria, Richard has worked tirelessly for the Aboriginal Australian cause.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014
6.30 pm – 9.30 pm

RMIT City Campus
Storey Hall Auditorium (Level 5, Building 16)
342-344 Swanston Street
Melbourne  Vic  3000

To reserve your place simply email or phone 03 9415 7164 by 5pm, Friday, 31 January 2014. This is a free public screening.

Download the Event Flyer Here


Audio Recordings from the Event

With thanks to Barry Judd, Alastair Nicholson, Richard Franklin, Kutcha Edwards, Joshua Bond, Daniel Fox and of course Yothu Yindi!




NICTA / RMIT Discovery Lecture with Nigel Gilbert

Posted on: November 6th, 2013 by melissa

In association with NICTA (Australia’s Information Communications Technology (ICT) Research Centre of Excellence), the Urban Decision-Making and Complex Systems program and the Global Cities Research Institute is proud to present a Discovery Lecture with noted international scholar, Professor Nigel Gilbert on Thursday, 28 November 2013 (5.45 pm – 6.45 pm).

Professor Gilbert will deliver a lecture entitled Simulating Societies: A Computational Approach to Social Science.


About Professor Gilbert

Nigel is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Surrey, Guildford, UK, and has a special interest in computational social science. He was one of the first social scientists to use agent-based models, in the early 1990s, and has since published widely on the methodology underlying computer modelling, on basic issues in social science that can be addressed effectively using such models, and on the value of simulation for applied problems such as understanding commercial innovation and managing environmental resources. Professor Gilbert is also interested in the sociology of scientific knowledge, and manages projects on communication in pandemics, peer-to-peer collaboration, and the dynamics of extortion rackets. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and of the Academy of Social Sciences.


Simulating Societies: A Computational Approach to Social Science

Developments in simulation have offered a new way of doing social science: by conducting virtual experiments on artificial societies using agent-based models. Agent-based modelling is rapidly increasing in popularity as a way of modelling everything from ecosystems to economic systems. In this talk, I shall outline what an agent-based model is, show why agent-based simulation is a good way of understanding society, and provide a few examples of recent computational social science to demonstrate what can be achieved.


Lecture Details

Thursday, 28 November 2013
5.45 pm – 6.45 pm

Refreshments from 5 pm

RMIT City Campus
Swanston Academic Building (SAB)
Building 80, Level 1, Room 2
445 Swanston St Melbourne VIC 3000

To register Click Here



Click on this link for more information on the Urban Decision-Making and Complex Systems program.

RMIT acknowledges the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nations as the traditional owners of the land on which the University stands, and respectfully recognises Elders past and present.

Guest Professorial Lecture and Materclass with Noenoe Silva

Posted on: September 16th, 2013 by melissa

The Global Indigeneity and Reconciliation Program and the Global Cities Research Institute is honoured to host two upcoming events with noted Hawaiian scholar Noenoe Silva – a Public Lecture on Thursday, 26 September 2013 (6.00 – 7.30 pm) and a Global Indigeneity Masterclass on Friday, 27 September 2013 (10 am – 12 noon).  To reserve your place simply email by 5pm, Wednesday, 25 September 2013.


Professor Noenoe Silva

Professor Silva was born on O‘ahu (Hawai’i) of Kanaka Maoli descent and teaches courses in indigenous politics at the University of Hawai‘i. Her first book, Aloha Betrayed: Native Hawaiian Resistance to American Colonialism (Duke University Press, 2004), received the “Most Influential Book in Native American and Indigenous Studies in the First Decade of the Twenty-First Century Prize” at the Annual meeting of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association in Sacramento in 2011.

Aloha Betrayed is a ground-breaking critique of Hawai’i’s colonial history and has been described by scholar J. Kehaulani Kauanui as “a superb contribution to the ongoing process of decolonization, recovery, and overcoming the suppression of Kanaka Maoli knowledge.” Professor Silva is currently working on her second book which focuses on Hawaiian intellectual history.


Public Lecture – Towards Kanaka Intellectual History

Drawing on the literary biographies of two important albeit relatively unknown authors, this lecture sketches the long intellectual history and traditions of the Hawaiian Kanaka. The first author to be profiled, Joseph Hoʻonaʻauao Kānepuʻu, was a schoolteacher from Kalaupapa, Molokai, who lived his adult life on Oʻahu and contributed to a wide variety of writing to the Hawaiian-language newspapers. He was a strong advocate for the newspapers, the native language, and native ontologies and epistemologies.  He published between about 1856 and about 1883. The second author, Joseph Mokuʻōhai Poepoe was an attorney, writer, editor, and politician from Kohala, Hawaiʻi, who also lived his adult life in the capital of Honolulu.  He published, starting with translations of European tales, from about 1870 to about 1910. Both were committed to the vitality of our native language, literature, and people. They are but two of hundreds of intellectuals who wrote in Hawaiian in newspapers between 1834 and 1948.

Lecture Details
Thursday, 26 September 2013
6.00 – 7.30 pm

RMIT City Campus
Emily McPherson Building (13)
Multi-purpose Room, Level 3, Room 7
Cnr of Russell and Victoria Streets
Melbourne  Vic  3000

RSVP to by 5pm, Wednesday, 25 September 2012.


Global Indigeneity Masterclass

This Global Indigeneity Masterclass is open to all Honours, Masters and PhD students, and Early Career Researchers across RMIT. It will focus on Professor Noenoe Silva’s areas of expertise including indigenous languages and concepts, indigenous expressions of culture, pre and post-colonial political histories, and contemporary indigenous politics in Hawai‘i and Oceania.

Lecture Details
Friday, 27 September 2013
10.00 am – 12 noon

RMIT City Campus
Emily McPherson Building (13)
Level 1, Room 2
Cnr of Russell and Victoria Streets
Melbourne  Vic  3000

RSVP by 5pm, Wednesday, 25 September 2013.



Click on this link for more information on the Global Indigeneity and Reconciliation Program.

RMIT acknowledges the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nations as the traditional owners of the land on which the University stands, and respectfully recognises Elders past and present.

Musical modernities: Princess Siti and the particularities of post islamist pop – Dr Bart Barendregt

Posted on: October 30th, 2012 by melissa

Free Public Lecture, Melbourne – 22 November 2012

For decades Malaysia has been known as the home of contemporary nasheed, a musical approach that addresses questions about what it is to be a modern Muslim youth in Southeast Asia and how to reconcile piety with a ‘funky but shariah’ consumerist lifestyle. The popular song You Came to Me, performed by global Muslim celebrity Sami Yusuf and Malaysian singer Siti Nurhaliza, triggered fierce debates about he limits of pious stardom. Siti Nurhaliza shot to fame and transformed herself from ‘girl next-door’ to Southeast Asia’s number one pop princess. Her story highlights the ambiguities modern Malay Muslim performers now face, caught as they are between the global entertainment industry and the transnational Islamic community.

Dr Barendregt examines how modernity is musically articulated in a Muslim Southeast Asian context and how such articulations have challenged the secular public sphere. Islamic popular music stirs controversy among both orthodox Muslims and the Malaysian entertainment industry. Muslim Malay female artists are a particular target of public debates, but they are also key agents in defining an emergent Islamic chic.

About the speaker:

Dr Barendregt is an anthropologist at Leiden University in the Netherlands. He is affiliated with the Royal Institute for Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV-KNAW) where he is coordinating a four-year project funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO).

This project, Articulation of Modernity, focuses on societal change through the prism of popular music, emphasizing the appeal of modernity rather than that of the nation-state. If offers a new way of studying Southeast Asia that foregrounds the movement of people, music, ideas, and technologies among the region’s cosmopolitan centres.

Date:  Thursday 22 September 2012

Time:  6.00pm-8.00pm

Venue:  RMIT City Campus, BMIT Building 80, Level 1, Room 2, 445 Swanston Street, Melbourne

RSVP:  by email to by 15 November 2012 (the lecture is free but bookings are essential)


Why poverty persists: Poverty dynamics in Asia and Africa – Associate Professor Bob Baulch

Posted on: October 28th, 2012 by melissa

Free Public Seminar, Melbourne – 21 November

Why are some people trapped in chronic poverty, while others are able to escape it? This presentation will provide an overview of the major findings and policy recommendations from a recently published book on poverty dynamics in Asia and Africa: Why Poverty Persists: Poverty Dynamics in Asia and Africa (Cheltenham, UK and Northhampton, USA: Edward Elgar, 2011).

The common factors which trap people in chronic poverty, together with what allows and what prevents them from escaping it, will be analysed using panel surveys from six Asian and African countries. The distinguishing feature of these studies (from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nepal, Pakistan, South Africa and Vietnam), which were commissioned by the Chronic Poverty Research Centre, is they span longer periods or have more survey waves than most developing country panels. Careful attention is paid to the difficult issues of attrition, measurement error, and tracking. The studies show that the processes which enable people and households to escape chronic poverty are gradual, and often interrupted by short-term set-backs, while the causes of improvements for some are causes of decline for others. It will be argued that reducing chronic poverty requires a transformative approach to development in which equitable access to employment, broad-based investments in human capital, and effective social protection all have central roles.

About the speaker

Bob Baulch was Coordinator of the Poverty Dynamics and Economic Mobility Theme at the Chronic Poverty Research Centre from 2006 to 2011 and is now Associate Professor of Economics at RMIT International University Vietnam and Adjunct Professor of Economics at Tan Tao University.  He was educated at Oxford, Sussex and Stanford universities and has worked in more than 20 developing countries.

Seminar details

Wednesday 21 November 2012
9.30 am –11.00 am

RMIT City Campus
Swanston Academic Building
Building 80, Level 10, Room 16
Corner of Swanston St & A’Beckett St
Melbourne   Vic   3000

RSVP by 14 November 2012 to

Beyond behaviour: Social theory and climate change policy – Professor Elizabeth Shove

Posted on: October 28th, 2012 by melissa

Free Public Seminar, Melbourne 15 November 2012

Hosted by the Centre for Design and the Sustainable Urban Regional Futures (SURF) Program, Global Cities Research Institute.

Professor Elizabeth Shove is a pre-eminent sociologist who has dedicated her career to studying everyday life, inconspicuous consumption, and social change. In her most recent three year UK Economic Social Research Council (ESRC) fellowship, Transitions in practice: Climate change and everyday life, Elizabeth engaged UK academics, policy makers and program deliverers in understanding and rethinking this major social and environmental challenge from new theoretical perspectives.

In this presentation, Elizabeth will outline the pervasive ABC – Attitudes, Behaviour, Choice – model permeating policy making and program delivery, and introduce new theoretical perspectives that reframe the major sustainability challenges of our time. She will provide novel examples of how everyday life is changing, how policy makers are already intervening, and how they might seek to reorient normal ways of life. Elizabeth has published and (co)authored many books, including Comfort, Cleanliness and Convenience (2003), Infrastructures of Consumption (2005), The Design of Everyday Life (2007), Time, Consumption and Everyday Life (2009), Comfort in a Lower Carbon Society (2009), and The Dynamics of Social Practice (2012).

The presentation will be introduced by Dr Yolande Strengers, a SURF researcher based in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, where she leads the Beyond Behaviour Change research area. The presentation will be followed by a facilitated discussion led by SURF Research Leader, Professor Ralph Horne, Director of Research and Innovation, College of Design and Social Context.

Elizabeth Shove’s travel is supported by an RMIT Foundation International Visiting Fellowship.

Seminar details

Thursday 15 November 2012
4.30 pm – 6.00 pm
followed by refreshments

RMIT City Campus
Swanston Academic Building
Building 80
Level 4, Room 6 (Interactive Theatre)
Corner of Swanston & A’Beckett Sts
Melbourne Vic 3000

All enquiries to

Sustainability in the Nepal Himalayas: Challenges and opportunities – Dr Hum Gurung

Posted on: October 25th, 2012 by melissa

Free Public Seminar, Melbourne – 9 November 2012

Hum Gurung is former Chief Executive Officer of Bird Conservation Nepal and has recently formed the Himalayan Sustainable Future Foundation.  Dr Gurung is a member of IUCN’s Commission on Education and Communication (CEC), Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEEP) and World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA). He has been associated with the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) of the National Trust for Nature Conservation, Nepal from 1986 to 1996 as Conservation Officer, and Conservation Education and Extension Officer. He worked for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as National Programme Manager of the Sustainable Community Development Programme, known as Nepal Capacity 21, from 1997–2004. His research interests include participatory action research and community-based approaches for environmental education, sustainable development, climate change, biodiversity, sustainable tourism management and ecosystem services.  Hum has also provided consultancy services the United National Development Programme (UNDP); the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN); World Wildlife Fund (WWF); and the Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre (STCRC).

The Nepal Himalayas are dynamic with outstanding natural beauty and provide valuable ecosystem goods and services to support livelihoods of more than 1.8 million people – directly and indirectly.  However, in recent years the mountain communities have also witnessed increased snow and glacial melt and the frequency of extreme events have exacerbated the livelihood risks resulting from increasing poverty, food insecurity, natural hazards and social inequities.

Building capacities of local communities with introduction of environmentally appropriate technologies and education for sustainability is the key element to promoting sustainable mountain development. This presentation will highlight the plans and strategies of the Himalayan Sustainable Future Foundation (HSFF). HSFF is committed to helping people build skills and choices that are compatible with communities’ aspirations, sharing eco-friendly methods with other communities throughout the world and serving as a living laboratory for sustainable future.

This is a free seminar hosted by the Sustainable Urban Regional Futures (SURF) Program, Global Cities Research Institute.

Seminar details

Friday 9 November 2012
10.00 am – 11.30 am

RMIT City Campus
Building 15, Level 3
Room 3 (Fig Tree Room)
Seminar 2
Enter via Bowen Lane
Melbourne Vic 3000

RSVP by 5 November to


Climate Change Adaptation Toolkit Launch – Hartmut Fünfgeld

Posted on: October 15th, 2012 by melissa

Melbourne – 25 October 2012


Net BalanceRMIT and the City of Greater Geelong invite you to attend the launch of the Climate Change Adaptation Toolkit.

The Toolkit has been developed to integrate climate adaptation into processes and decisions (i.e. mainstream climate change adaptation) and support robust decision making in the face of uncertainty. The Toolkit is relevant for government and organisations currently considering the impacts of climate change to their business/services/community.

The Climate Change Adaptation Toolkit has been developed in partnership with RMIT University and the City of Greater Geelong. It will be free for download and use.

The launch will include presentations by Burke Renouf, Coordinator Sustainability from the City of Greater Geelong and Hartmut Fünfgeld, Research Fellow with the Climate Change Adaptation Program at RMIT University.


Thursday 25 October 2012
8:30am – 10:00am
Level 4, 460 Bourke Street
Melbourne CBD, VIC 3000

Places are strictly limited, reserve your place now and RSVP to Amanda O’Sullivan at

If you are unable to attend and would like further information, please contact Fiona Silke at