The Best of Times, The Worst of Times – Navigating Life at the Crossroads
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of darkness.” – Charles Dickens, Tale of Two Cities 1859
Conversation at the Crossroads presents an innovative series to stimulate, inform and upskill. It combines lectures, presentations by world experts in their respective fields, Q&A, debates, role play, small conversation groups, brainstorming sessions and skilling workshops.
Hosted by Professor Joseph Camilleri, the series comprises seven 3-hour sessions run on consecutive Tuesdays from 26th April to June 7th 2022.
Participants are strongly encouraged to enrol in the series as a whole, and so fully benefit from the program, which is designed to:
- Make sense of the national and international challenges we face and how they connect at a time of unprecedented change.
- See how these challenges relate to everyday life, in personal relations, study, work, and community engagement.
- Explore the practical steps we can take – personally and collectively – towards a more promising future.
- Acquire the skills that facilitate respectful, informed and productive conversation with people of diverse backgrounds.
Program and key themes
A warming planet in COVID times: Lessons not yet learned
Black Lives Matter: The time of reckoning
Education and media: Vested interests vs the common good
The Anglo world vs Russia and China: Is conflict inevitable?
Captalism under mounting stress: Can we – should we – revive it?
Seeing the world through new eyes: The power of conversation
Politics and culture after the plague: Has the postliberal moment arrived?
Access series recordings
To purchase access to series recordings, please click below. Registrants who attended a session in-person or online have complimentary access to the recording.
Dates, Times and Venue
The series consists of seven consecutive Tuesday sessions, commencing 26th April and finishing 7th June 2022. Sessions begin at 6:00 pm sharp (AEDT) and conclude at 9:00pm (with a mid-session break).
Starting times for different time zones: London 7:00 am – Rome 8:00 am – Islamabad 12:00 noon – New Delhi 12:30 pm – Jakarta 2:00 pm – Kuala Lumpur 3:00 pm – Auckland 8:00 pm – Hawaii 9:00 pm – Los Angeles 11.00 pm.
Prior to the 6:00 pm start participants attending in person are encouraged to come early – from 5:40 pm onwards for beverages, finger food and conversation. This time can also be used for preparation of workshop discussions and assignments. Those attending online are asked to connect at least 10 minutes prior to the time of commencement. The series will be delivered in person at University College, University of Melbourne, 40 College Crescent, Parkville.
Expectations of Participants
Participants will be issued with discussion pointers, short reading materials, and links to thought-provoking podcasts, videos and other resources. Each session will have a varied program in both content, presenters and format. Participants should have a high degree of commitment to their participation in the series. The aim should be to:
- ATTEND ALL SEVEN SESSIONS
- Be present for the full duration of each session
- Prepare for each session
- Complete two short assignments
Conversation at the Crossroads is offering scholarships to young people under 30: five free tickets to attend the entire series in person and another five to attend the entire series online.
Applications must be submitted by Friday 15th April.
In person attendance for the whole series (catered): Full fee $255 / Concession $145
Online attendance for the whole series: Full fee $135 / Concession $95
In-person attendance per single session only (catered):‡ Full fee $35 / Concession $20
Online attendance per single session: Full fee $35 / Concession $20
* The fees set are at only a fraction of what comparable programs would cost if offered by a university or commercial establishment. They have been kept low to make the series accessible to as many people as possible, even though the fees may not be sufficient to cover the costs of the program. ‡ The fees for attendance at one or two sessions are much higher because we are actively discouraging registrations for just the odd session. The series is an integrated whole, and participants will be able to take full advantage of it if they are able to attend all sessions.