Vibrant voices speak from the south

The University of Adelaide is launching Speaking from the South, a unique multi-day public event and gathering of some of the world's most celebrated writers and thinkers from the southern hemisphere.  

JM Coetzee

Professor John M. Coetzee, Professorial Research Fellow in the University’s School of Humanities

From 31 May to 5 June 2024, the event will bring a stellar lineup of speakers together as part of the University’s 150th Year Celebrations in 2024, including Nobel Laureates in Literature Abdulrazak Gurnah and Professor John M. Coetzee, to explore some of the most pressing issues of our time. 

Featuring a dynamic program of talks, readings, masterclasses, film screenings, and panel discussions, Speaking from the South will explore the impacts of colonisation, inequality, and climate change, as well as the enduring power of literature, and the importance of Southern perspectives. 

One of the program’s key events is In Conversation: John M. Coetzee with Fabián Martinez Siccardi on 2 June, with a rare appearance from Professor Coetzee who is a Professorial Research Fellow in the University’s School of Humanities. Professor Coetzee will interview Argentinian writer Siccardi about his fiction, translations and journalism, which focus on Patagonia, the southern-most region of South America. 

Another highlight of the program is Film Screening: First Nations Interrogation of the Archive on 1 June, with a double film screening which creatively explores the representation of First Nations peoples in colonial archives.  

Associate Professor Mandy Treagus from the School of Humanities at the University of Adelaide says the event offers the opportunity to engage with some of the most important voices of our time. 

Speaking from the South will highlight voices from places that are not often heard in the clamour of voices from the North,” Associate Professor Treagus says. 

“It will raise some of the biggest challenges facing the planet, including the climate crisis, the world refugee crisis, and the role of the arts in addressing these.  

“It will feature leading Indigenous creatives from Australia and the region, including Jared Thomas, Natalie Harkin, Daniel Riley and Dan Taulapapa McMullin.”  

The event also promises a vibrant range of voices with renowned authors from across the south, including Kim Scott, Intan Paramaditha, Fabián Martínez Siccardi, Patricia Grace, Gail Jones, Evelyn Araluen, Ali Cobby Eckermann and Nicholas Jose, reading and conversing. 

The event series uncovers 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. 

For more information and to purchase tickets, see the University of Adelaide’s online program

Tagged in featured story, Speaking from the South