Wilful Ignorance

Wednesday 24 February 2021
6.00 - 7.30pm

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Hybrid Event:
Online (Zoom Webinar)
ABS LT 1040, Abercrombie Building (H70), University of Sydney


The Living Room Theatre
City of Sydney

Drawing on the systemic mechanisms of violence they see emerging in their fields, an interdisciplinary panel, including award-winning journalist Jess Hill, will share their insights into the ways that cycles of violence endure within our society.

“Just as the impacts of evil are borne by all of us, so too are solutions borne of all of us.” – Grace Tame

To understand and dismantle human and non-human experiences of violence we must begin by addressing the broken systems and structures that not only perpetuate unchecked violence but allow us to remain largely in denial of its insidiousness. The heart of this work lays in recognising the legacies of injustice carried by the landscapes and people that surround us, regardless of the discomfort it invokes. In shedding light on the experiences of survivors, and rendering the invisible visible, we can begin to identify a path where the burden of that violence can be shared and lifted.

Join investigative journalist Jess Hill – author of the prize-winning non-fiction work documenting domestic abuse, See What You Made Me Do – in conversation with expert on war and gender Professor Megan Mackenzie, multispecies justice scholar Professor Danielle Celermajer, and theatre practitioner Michelle St Anne, as they apply their unique experiences and perspectives to explore the societal pressures, legal frameworks and media cycles that allow violence to spread around us, hidden in plain sight.


Danielle Celermajer is a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Sydney, Deputy Director (Academic) of the Sydney Environment Institute and convenor of the Multispecies Justice Collective. While her professional and academic background have been in human rights, in recent years, she has shifted her focus to the interface between environmental, animal and human ethics and justice. Her books include Sins of the Nation and the Ritual of Apology and The Prevention of Torture: An Ecological Approach (both with Cambridge University Press) and Summertime, a book about the experience of climate catastrophe in an intentional multispecies community with Penguin Random House.

Jess Hill is an investigative journalist who has been writing and researching about domestic abuse since 2014. Before that, she was a producer for ABC Radio, a Middle East correspondent for The Global Mail, and an investigative journalist for Background Briefing. She was listed in Foreign Policy’s top 100 women to follow on Twitter, and also as one of 30 most influential people under 30 by Cosmopolitan magazine (two publications rarely listed in the same sentence). Jess’ reporting has won two Walkley awards, an Amnesty International award and three Our Watch awards. Her latest book, See What You Made Me Do, won the Stella Prize.

Megan Mackenzie is Professor and Simons Chair in International Law and Human Security in the School for International Studies at Simon Fraser University. Her research is broadly aimed at reducing war; it bridges feminist theory, critical security studies, and critical/post development studies. Megan has contributed research on topics including sexual violence in war, truth and reconciliation commissions, military culture, images and international relations, and women in combat.

Michelle St Anne is a practising multidisciplinary theatrical artist with over twenty years of experience. She is the co-founder and artistic director of The Living Room Theatre and the Deputy Director of the Sydney Environment Institute where she currently leads the multidisciplinary project, ‘Sites of Violence’, which merges artistic and academic understandings of human and non-human experiences of violence, and the processes, emotions, and meaning that this violence makes manifest.


Mary Rapp is a multidisciplinary musician, composer and sound designer. She has a performance degree with honours in double bass and cello from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and is trained in the Korean Pansori singing tradition. Her primary interests lie in improvisational constructs. Pansori is a uniquely passionate narrative song dating from the 17th century. It is originally linked to shamanism and uses huge volume, texture and tone to “share emotion”. UNESCO recognises it as a “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” and the South Korean government considers Pansori singers to be “living national treasures”.

This event is in partnership with The Living Room Theatre and forms part of the Institute’s Sites of Violence research project, supported by the City of Sydney. It speaks to the upcoming theatre work the ‘foul of the air’. More Here.

Please Note: this event will be run in-person and online via Zoom. Due to limited capacity, if you would like to attend in-person please email sei.events@sydney.edu.au. This event will be run in accordance with the University of Sydney’s COVID-Safe Guidelines.