Silvi Vann-Wall is an audio producer and podcaster with a strong journalism background. She loves making weird and wonderful audio and is usually found with headphones on. She has lived with a chronic illness for ten years and this informs her current work.
Queer performance is one space that queer identifying people will go to to be with their tribe, says Alyson Campbell, Associate Professor in Theatre (Directing and Dramaturgy) at the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, University of Melbourne. “Theatre is a way of collectively thinking through the world. We’re actually in a space together and something is in front of us and we’re kind of working our way through it together. “It’s actually trying to work in different ways from normative theatre. It’s about the processes of making and that is largely around collaboration and who else is in that team and is this being driven by this kind of commitment to challenging normative forms and structures as well as perhaps, say, telling gay stories.” In 2021, Alyson and Steve Farrier will lead a hybrid digital/face-to-face version of their Feral Queer Camp, hosting activities about what makes performance queer, and how we might develop a network of queer thinkers, all stemming from the performances in the Midsumma Festival in Melbourne. “Performance can teach us things about queerness and that we can speak back or have a dialogue with theory. It’s not that one has a hierarchical position above the others.” “I will just really strongly emphasise here that Steve and I might be facilitators, but we are learning as much from everybody who comes to the Feral Queer Camp as they are learning from us.” For more information, go to Feral Queer Camp. Episode recorded: March 22, 2021. Interviewer: Dr Andi Horvath. Producer, audio engineer, editor: Chris Hatzis. Co-producers: Silvi Vann-Wall and Dr Andi Horvath. Banner: Getty Images.
“All democratic constitutions, including ours, contain some protection of freedom of speech. It’s a really central democratic value and so that’s not surprising,” says Adrienne Stone, Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor and Director of the Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies at Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne. “Understandings of freedom of speech have for a very long time been dominated by the law and theory of the first amendment to the constitution of the United States,” Professor Stone says. But the Australian constitution addresses freedom of speech in a unique way. “Unlike most constitutions, it doesn’t have a provision that says there shall be freedom of speech, or everyone has the right to freedom of expression,” Professor Stone says. “Our constitution simply says that the two houses of parliament shall be directly chosen by the people, and that has formed the basis of a very interesting body of law, a lot like a right to freedom of speech. “The High Court has said, not at all unreasonably, that if we’re serious about having a parliament that’s directly chosen by the people, we ought to be able to be free to discuss political matters amongst ourselves and it’s developed something called the freedom of political communication.” “Any serious thinker, any serious judge, who has had to implement the principles always recognises that freedom of speech operates over a limited field and the task of determining the boundaries is the hard bit. Merely asserting a right to freedom of speech doesn’t make it true.” Professor Stone points out that many people think that there is a settled idea about what freedom of speech is. “But I can’t think of any area of political thought that is more contested than freedom of speech, so there isn’t a correct answer,” she says. “We need to be very careful about taking the view that there are positions that are so wholly unacceptable that they don’t receive the protection of freedom of speech. “But saying that we allow people to put out views about climate change, not getting vaccinated or strange views about COVID, for example, by saying that they’re protected by freedom of speech doesn’t necessarily mean that the idea is accorded any respect.” Episode recorded: February 4, 2021. Interviewer: Dr Andi Horvath. Producer, audio engineer, editor: Chris Hatzis. Co-producers: Silvi Vann-Wall and Dr Andi Horvath. Banner: Getty Images.
“When I get an idea, it comes to me as a still image,” says Dr Laura Jean McKay, winner of the 2021 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for her debut novel ‘The Animals In That Country.’Dr McKay is now a lecturer in creative writing at Massey University in New Zealand, after completing her PhD at the University of Melbourne focusing on literary animal studies.“This novel took seven years to write, but that image is very, very clear and stays very, very true the whole way and it really keeps me going through the whole writing process,” she says.Dr McKay says her initial inspiration was, what would happen if we could finally understand what other animals were saying?“Not with their mouths but really saying with their bodies and the way they are in the world, what are they saying to us and what are they saying to each other?” she adds.Her novel is an eerily-timed tale about a world in the throes of a pandemic, exploring other consciousnesses, and the limits of language.“It’s been a very, very strange time to launch this book into that world. On the one hand, it’s been really interesting to see what aspects of the novel are similar, but on the other hand, it’s really heartbreaking to see people suffering throughout the world.”On the process of writing, Dr McKay says it can be a very lonely activity.“When you’re doing it, you need to be alone. There can be a sense of isolation in creating a new work and something you really believe in but that nobody else really cares about until you publish it and hopefully it’s read,” she says.“I think the really surprising thing is the incredible connection that you can have with other people who read your work or who write work that really inspires you.”The Animals In That Country by Laura Jean McKay is published by Scribe.Episode recorded: February 16, 2021.Interviewer: Dr Andi Horvath.Producer, audio engineer and editor: Chris Hatzis.Co-producers: Silvi Vann-Wall and Dr Andi Horvath.Banner: Getty Images.
On Monday March 8th, International Women’s Day, Eavesdrop on Experts presents a special episode featuring Dr Laura Jean McKay - creative writing lecturer at Massey University in New Zealand, with a PhD from the University of Melbourne and winner of the 2021 Victorian Prize for Literature, for “The Animals In That Country,” her debut novel.
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Creator Details

Location
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Episode Count
131
Podcast Count
7
Total Airtime
2 days, 12 hours
PCID
Podchaser Creator ID logo 105238