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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Stephen Fry and an Ex-Westboro Baptist Church Member Will Speak at the New-Look Festival of Dangerous Ideas

After a year off, FODI will return to Sydney for two days of thought-provoking discussion in a new harbourside venue.
By Samantha Teague and Marissa Ciampi
September 04, 2018
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Stephen Fry and an Ex-Westboro Baptist Church Member Will Speak at the New-Look Festival of Dangerous Ideas

After a year off, FODI will return to Sydney for two days of thought-provoking discussion in a new harbourside venue.
By Samantha Teague and Marissa Ciampi
September 04, 2018
  shares

After the Sydney Opera House replaced its Festival of Dangerous Ideas with Antidote last year, we didn't think we'd see it again. But the festival is about to rear its head for its ninth iteration, this time trading in its Bennelong Point digs for a space at Cockatoo Island.

Co-founded by The Ethics Centre (TEC) and the Sydney Opera House back in 2009, FODI 2018 won't just have a new venue, but a new partner as well — teaming up with the UNSW Centre for Ideas for the first time. But the concept will remain the same, again bringing together thought leaders and creative thinkers for a weekend of critical discussion around the most important global issues of today.

This year's festival, curated by Festival Director Danielle Harvey and UNSW Centre for Ideas Director Ann Mossop, will examine the theme of Trust and Truth, and will aim to incite debate, push boundaries and inspire intellectual freedom. And it has some big names on its bill.

Stephen Fry — the Englishman with many hats: writer, comedian, actor, activist — will be holding a talk on the art of furious oration at Sydney Town Hall, entitled The Hitch after the festival's inaugural speaker: the controversial author and critic Christopher Hitchens. On the topic of controversy, activist Megan Phelps-Roper will be taking the stage to discuss her time at the Westboro Baptist Church.

The festival's international lineup also includes Israeli-American writer Ayelet Waldman discussing the benefits of microdosing LSD, and Angela Nagle, author of Kill All Normies, exploring the culture clash between the alt-right and the left. Locally, feminist and author Germaine Greer, who's latest novel On Rape just hit the stands, will chat about outrage, while activist Mick Dodson argues the existence of modern-day European colonialism.

A heap of thought-provoking panels are also on the program, including discussions on sex robots, the Australian media, nationalism and whether or not inequality is always bad. Those wanting to experience something a bit different can head to a part monologue, part striptease with artist Betty Grumble — called Sex Clowns Save the World — philosophy workshops and a Counterstrike LAN party (basically, a gaming party), where an electronic sculpture shoots "blood" at gamers.

As this year's festival is located on an island, you'll need to catch a ferry across to the insightful talks. Thankfully, festival passes include ferry transport to Cockatoo Island — and start at $89.

The 2018 Festival of Dangerous Ideas is coming to Cockatoo Island, with Stephen Fry's The Hitch taking place at Sydney Town Hall, on November 3 and 4. Tickets will go on sale at midday, Tuesday, September 4. You can buy tickets and check out the full lineup at festivalofdangerousideas.com.

Images: Yaya Stempler

Published on September 04, 2018 by Samantha Teague

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