Empathy in Australia

Melbourne Town Hall, 90-120 Swanson Street, VIC, Australia

Imagining what it is like to be someone other than yourself is at the core of our humanity, it is the essence of compassion and it is the beginning of morality.

- Ian McEwan, Novelist

Empathy is the imaginative act of stepping into the shoes of another person and looking at the world from their perspective. It’s seemingly on everyone’s lips – from the Dalai Lama, Angela Merkel and Barack Obama, to our own Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Yet, we are simultaneously witnessing a global refugee crisis, the seemingly unending threat of global conflict, and the continued rise of individualism in western society.

Are we as individuals and as a community failing to meet our empathic potential? How can we expand the limits of our empathy to meet current and future social challenges? How might empathy transform our lives and our societies?

This major event will feature a diverse panel of prominent Australians from the media, arts, business, sport and government. Led by cultural thinker and internationally acclaimed empathy expert Roman Krznaric, we will explore key issues in modern Australian society and how we might turn our empathic potential into a powerful tool for positive impact.

We will hear insights from prominent Australians and learn practical ways to use empathy as a tool for change in our lives and in Australian society. Between panel discussions, audience members will have the opportunity to discuss key issues and ideas raised by the panel. Join us for an ambitious conversation about empathy and the future of Australia.

Empathy In Australia is presented in association with The Guardian, Wired For Wonder, The Conversation and Dumbo Feather. Proudly supported by Eventbrite.

Empathy In Australia Partners


Roman Krznaric is a cultural thinker and writer on the art of living and social change. His books, which include Empathy, The Wonderbox and How to Find Fulfilling Work, have been published in over 20 languages. He is founder of the world’s first Empathy Museum and of the digital Empathy Library. He advises organisations including Friends of the Earth on using empathy and conversation to create social change and runs empathy awareness training for Britain’s top judges. He is also a founding faculty member of The School of Life and on the faculty of Year Here, and holds a PhD in political sociology. Roman has been named by The Observer as one of Britain’s leading popular philosophers. He grew up in Australia and now lives in the UK. For further information visit www.romankrznaric.com.




Susan CarlandDr Susan Carland has a PhD from Monash University’s School of Social Sciences where she researched the way Muslim women fight sexism within the Muslim community, and is a lecturer and researcher at Monash University’s National Centre for Australian Studies. Her other research and lecturing specialties are gender, sociology, politics, and the Australian Muslim experience.

Susan hosted the “Assumptions” series on ABC’s Radio National, and in 2012 she was named on the 20 Most Influential Australian Female Voices list by The Age. She has also been listed on the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World list, and as a “Muslim Leader of Tomorrow” by the UN Alliance of Civilizations.


Tara MossTara Moss is a novelist, journalist, TV presenter and outspoken advocate for the rights of women and children. She has written 10 bestselling books, including her first non-fiction book The Fictional Woman, published in May 2014. Her next book, Speaking Out launches this year.

Moss has made a broad contribution to a range of humanitarian and social causes. She has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2007, UNICEF Australia’s National Ambassador for Child Survival since 2013 and since 2015 was also announced as Patron of the Full Stop Foundation for Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia.

Photograph: Toby Dixon


Chris JuddChris Judd is a former professional AFL footballer, widely recognised as one of the greatest in the modern game. In his fourteen year football career, Judd captained the West Coast Eagles to premiership victory in 2006, won the Brownlow Medal twice and was twice awarded the Leigh Matthews Trophy for the AFL Players’ Association Most Valuable Player. In 2015 Judd published an autobiography Inside, reflecting on his football career.

Today, Judd works at Impact Investment Group, a Melbourne based, private investment group that focuses on commercial investments that have environmental or social impact.


Deborah CheethamDeborah Cheetham is a Yorta Yorta woman, soprano, composer and educator. She is passionate about the development of Indigenous opera singers and artists, and believes that the arts have a crucial role to play in turning around racist attitudes in the Australian community.

After serving as Head of the Wilin Centre for Indigenous Arts and Cultural Development from 2011 to 2014, Cheetham was appointed as Associate Dean of Indigenous Development at the Faculty of the VCA and MCM, University of Melbourne. In 2014 Ms Cheetham was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), for “distinguished service to the performing arts as an opera singer, composer and artistic director, to the development of Indigenous artists, and to innovation in performance”.

Photograph: Kristina Kingston


18.00     Doors Open
18.30     Welcome and Introduction
18.40      A Cultural Introduction to Empathy
19.00      Panel Discussion – Part One
19.30     Audience Discussion
19.40     Panel Discussion – Part Two
20.10     Audience Q&A
20.30     Event Ends

Please note that this event will be filmed and photographed. 

This event includes Auslan interpretation.


Full price: $30.00 inc gst + BF
Concession: $25.00 inc gst + BF

Gift vouchers are available for purchase from The School of Life cafe or by calling +61 (03) 9077 8724


Melbourne Town Hall
90-120 Swanston Street
Melbourne VIC 3000

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