Religion in the Public Sphere

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Join us for the first in a series of Conversations that Make a Difference. We will be exploring how our faith and beliefs can inform our engagements with public issues.

For our first conversation Andrew West (ABC Radio National), and Janet McCalman (UniMelb) will be discussing the place of religion in public discussions.

What role does religion play in society today? Is it still possible to talk about religion in public? How do we engage our religious convictions while listening to each other?

This event is an opportunity to listen in on a stimulating conversation, and in turn to begin one of our own. There will be opportunity to meet others and begin discussions. The conversations that matter are not the ones we listen in on, but the ones we participate in ourselves.

Refreshments provided.

For more information contact:
Matt Julius – 0402 739 407


Janet McCalman is a professor in the Centre for Health & Society, at the University of Melbourne. She is an historian who specialises in social history and historical population health. Born in Richmond, she channelled her experiences into her first book, Struggletown: Public and Private Life in Richmond 1900-1965 – for which she won several awards. And has since published dozens of excellent books, book chapters, and articles. Particularly notable of which are her two books, Journeyings, biographing a middle-class generation between 1920 and 1990; and her 1998 study Sex and suffering: women’s health and a women’s hospital: the Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne, 1856 – 1996. Prof. McCalman knows quite a bit about Australian society and its history, and is also a person of faith. Making her perfect for stimulating conversation about the role of Christian faith in Australian society.

Andrew West presents The Religion & Ethics Report on ABC Radio National. He has been a senior reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Sun-Herald and The Australian. Andrew has authored two books on Australian politics and culture, including a biography of former Foreign Minister and NSW Premier Bob Carr. A graduate of the University of Sydney, and Columbia University, New York, Andrew’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The South China Morning Post, The Monthly and The Christian Science Monitor. Andrew’s professional experience reporting on religion in Australia, and around the world, helps him to keep his finger on the pulse of the religious currents flowing through contemporary society.

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