The Best Talks, Exhibitions and Workshops Happening at the MCA's Conversation Starters This Year

Dive deep into climate change action and sustainable living with this weekend-long program of events.
Hudson Brown
Published on May 20, 2019

The Best Talks, Exhibitions and Workshops Happening at the MCA's Conversation Starters This Year

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Dive deep into climate change action and sustainable living with this weekend-long program of events.

The Museum of Contemporary Art's annual Conversation Starters program is all about getting us talking about the issues that really matter. And in 2019 Conversation Starters 2019: Temperature Rising, will feature another groundbreaking lineup of events as part of Vivid Ideas. The program will run across Saturday, June 1 and Sunday, June 2 — and, this time, it's focusing on climate change, in response to the MCA's current exhibiton Janet Laurence: After Nature. From talks and performances to film screenings and workshops, we've picked out just a few spectacular highlights that will have you chin-wagging about the environment for hours.

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    The best place to start is, of course, the exhibition that has inspired this entire program. For the last 30 years, contemporary Australian artist Janet Laurence has been exploring the interconnection of all living things, from animals and plants to organisms that exist on a microscopic level — and After Nature represents the first major survey of her work to ever take place. Across the MCA’s exhibition, you’ll come across sculpture, photography, installation and video work that comes together to delve into the age of the Anthropocene — our current period where humans directly influence the climate. Exploring this heady topic with great creativity and insight, After Nature reveals the challenging issues facing humankind today.

    Image: Jacquie Manning.

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    An array of young activists and strikers, including the MCA Youth Committee, will come together on Saturday, June 1 for a lively panel discussion to consider the overall opinions of Australian youths on climate justice. This conversation will explore the strategies these young leaders use to engage the government and work alongside their community. It’ll also discuss the climate crisis and the roadblocks in the way of achieving a brighter future, giving a voice to our next generation of leaders who will move us into that future.

    Image: Intothewoods7 via Wikimedia Commons.

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    Even when you put your mind to it, cutting down your kitchen waste can be a challenging undertaking. But with the help of Cornersmith, you won’t have a problem turning the sad looking vegetables at the bottom of your fridge into something hearty and delicious. Head along to this hands-on workshop on Saturday, June 1 and you’ll quickly find out the best way to make a rich stock made entirely from kitchen castaways. You’ll also learn how to make versatile apple cider vinegar that’s great for pickling or turning basic salads into something a little fancier. Once you’ve completed this 90-minute class, take home your hard work and find a new appreciation for your downtrodden produce.

     Image. Steve Woodburn.

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    Discussing complex issues like climate change can be difficult even for the most skilled orators. But, if we are going to make a difference when it comes to sustainability, more of us are going to need to speak up. This class welcomes prominent author and climate campaigner Anna Rose, who’ll provide you with the necessary tools to not only feel comfortable talking about climate issues but also use your own power to affect real change. Across this interactive session, you’ll learn the strategies that work best when you need to motivate people in your life to get engaged with climate science. Plus, you’ll be encouraged to stay in contact with your fellow attendees to put your newfound skills into action.

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    You might not realise it, but fungi are pretty central to life on Earth. Mushrooms and mould have been credited with bringing life back to the planet after the last mass extinction. The documentary, The Kingdom: How Fungi Made the World, delves into the world of these underappreciated organisms and explains the endless ways that fungi play a vital role in our day-to-day lives. Following the 52-minute screening, artist and naturalist Diego Bonetto will host a Q&A where he’ll explore the ideas presented in the film and how individuals can help their communities in a time of climate crisis. It’s one of four free films about the environment screening over the weekend.

    Image: Art Film ‘The Kingdom’.

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    With over 85 percent of textiles bought in Australia ending up in landfill each year, the environmental impact of this wastefulness cannot be underestimated. Join in on this free workshop and you can learn how to turn your tatty t-shirts into an awesome tote bag or plant hanger as this drop-in class provides you with all the required know-how. Led by an expert team of artist-educators, bring your own t-shirt or use one that’s been saved from landfill. There’s no finicky gluing or sewing involved, either. Free yourself from consumer habits and learn about the impact of the textile industry at this fun and creative workshop.

    Image: Sandra via Flickr

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To see the full program for Conversation Starters 2019: Temperature Rising, head this way

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