Speaking from the South

Speaking from the south

An inspirational collection of writers and thinkers focused on the Global South

JM Coetzee

John M. Coetzee

What does it mean to speak from the South? What unique perspectives does this vantage point offer on the pressing issues currently facing the world? These are questions which have driven a recent interest in ‘Southern Theory’ – an approach which critiques the dominance of Western models that centre on European and North American experiences and perspectives. It shows how Northern-produced theories, concepts and models are often unable to describe and respond appropriately to the Southern situations into which they have been introduced. Southern Theory seeks to empower thinkers beyond the traditional centres and focus on issues which affect them.

In recent years, Adelaide’s own Nobel Laureate John M. Coetzee has affected a radical realignment, shifting the centre of world literature, political philosophy, and the creative arts toward the South. Featured as part of the University of Adelaide’s 150th Year Celebrations in 2024, the University will be bringing together Coetzee alongside with some of the most profound and exciting thinkers for Speaking from the South - a first of its kind, multi-day public event which will both celebrate and build upon Coetzee’s legacy as it generates conversations grounded in the unique environments of the South that have global importance and impact.

Speaking from the South will host writers and thinkers from across the Global South and the Southern Hemisphere to reflect on and propose pathways out of the difficult problems that confront the world today, such as inequality, the growing use technology in everyday life, climate change, and the mass displacement of people. While grappling with the ongoing impact of colonialism in shaping our current world, the speakers will draw on local knowledges and experiences to inform future visions and practices for sustaining life on earth.

Speaking from the South

Abdulrazak Gurnah

Joining Coetzee for public readings will be Abdulrazak Gurnah – both of whom are part of a collection of only 15 writers from the South to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in its 120-year history. Speaking from the South will also feature an impressive rollcall of international and Australian writers, thinkers, and poets participating in a series of high-profile public panel discussions, readings, talks, masterclasses, and an exhibition, with a strong focus on featuring Indigenous voices from the South.

Full program on sale now!

Sessions and tickets

Opening Panel Discussion

This opening panel will explore the profound perspectives emerging from the global South on vital issues like inequality, climate change, and colonialism. Panellists include Abdulrazak Gurnah, Kim Scott, Intan Paramaditha, Fabián Martínez Siccardi, Patricia Grace, and Alexis Wright and moderated by Nicholas Jose. Following the panel discussion, Nobel Laureates John M. Coetzee and Abdulrazak Gurnah will hold public readings of their works.

Date: Fri 31 May 2024, 6pm - 8pm
Location: Bonython Hall
Cost: $1 - $10

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The Power of Movements - Resistance, Revolution and Transformation

Jane Sloane will present this public lecture highlighting stories of worldwide movements from a girl-led movement in Zambia advocating for girls' education rights to a youth-led initiative in India addressing gender-based violence. Featuring musical accompaniment by Nick West.

Date: Sat 1 Jun 2024, 1pm
Location: Bonython Hall
Cost: $1 - $10

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Public Lecture: Achille Mbembe

Join us for this public lecture presented by Achille Mbembe as he discusses his latest work, exploring how our current crisis results from a failure to grasp that technological progress often comes with devastating consequences, ‘to the point where we no longer hesitate to say that humanity is at war with nature, environments, and territories.’

Date: Sat 1 Jun 2:30pm
Location: Bonython Hall
Cost: $1 - $10

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Panel Discussion: Exploding the Archive

Hear from powerful voices of First Nations creative artists from Australia and the Pacific as they respond to the relentless archiving of their lives, bodies, and culture through archival institutions through poetry, song, ceremony, dance, film, and storytelling. South Australian Museum curators will discuss the vital process of indigenizing archives. Speakers include Daniel Riley, Natalie Harkin, Dan Taulapapa McMullin, Kim Scott, Jared Thomas and John Carty.

Date: Sat 1 Jun 2024, 5pm
Location: Bonython Hall
Cost: $1 - $10

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Film Screening: First Nations Interrogation of the Archive

This double film screening will creatively explore the representation of First Nations peoples in colonial archives.

WINHANGANHA (Wiradjuri language: Remember, know, think) is a feature length lyrical journey of archival footage and sound, poetry, and original composition by Wiradjuri artist Jazz Money.

100 TIKIs is a 44 minute film/video appropriation art piece, part of an ongoing installation of works on the intersection of tiki kitsch and indigenous sovereignty by Dan Taulapapa McMullin.

Date: Sat 1 Jun 2024, 10am
Location: Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas, 3 Cinema Pl, Adelaide, SA 5000
Cost: $1 - $10

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Masterclass: Poetry as Activism

This masterclass brings together a group of critically acclaimed poets from the southern hemisphere to explore the extent to which their writing practice and work might be labelled activism. This two-hour masterclass will focus on the craft of writing, is appropriate for writers of all career stages, and features Ali Cobby Eckermann, Evelyn Araluen, Michelle Cahill and Dan Taulapapa McMullin.

Date: Sun 2 Jun 2024, 11am
Location: Barr Smith South 2042, The University of Adelaide
Cost: $1 - $20

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Masterclass: The South As Home - Writing from Where We Are

This two-hour creative writing masterclass features critically acclaimed international and Australian authors sharing the ways in which they write the South as home. The masterclass will focus on the practice of writing, and each author will speak and share practical exercises, before an open discussion and participant Q&A. Speakers include Gail Jones, Fabián Martínez Siccardi, Intan Paramaditha, Jennifer Mills, and Kim Scott.

Date: Sun 2 Jun 2024,  11am
Location: Barr Smith South 2040, The University of Adelaide
Cost: $44

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Public Lecture: Abdulrazak Gurnah - Somewhere in the South

Join us for this public lecture presented by Nobel Laureate Abdulrazak Gurnah as he considers the idea of the South and why it has become important.

Date: Sun 2 June 2024, 2:30pm
Location: Bonython Hall
Cost: $1 - $10

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Panel Discussion: Speaking for Tomorrow

How do we face the future? What does the South have to offer the planet that might give us hope and direction? What is the role of literature in bringing clarity, vision or solace to writers and readers? Join an extra-ordinary panel of award-winning poets and writers, as they reflect on these questions and read from their works.

Date: Sun 2 Jun 2024, 5pm
Location: Bonython Hall
Cost: $1 - $10

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