The Capitol acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. We respectfully acknowledge their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. We also acknowledge the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.

Nazanin Boniadi: The 2023 Sydney Peace Prize Lecture

Iranian-born actress Nazanin Boniadi has had an impressive onscreen career, including leading roles in the Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power and Homeland 

But it’s her major role as a human rights advocate that has led to her most recent recognition. Over more than two decades, Boniadi has worked tirelessly to elevate the voices and struggles of Iranians citizens and activists, fighting for the country’s democracy and freedom – particularly for women and children. She has advocated at the highest levels, including at the UN Security Council, the US Senate Human Rights Caucus, and in the British Parliament.  

In June, Boniadi was awarded the 2023 Sydney Peace Prize for ‘lending a powerful voice to support Iranian women and girls and their #WomanLifeFreedom movement, and for using a high-profile platform to promote freedom and justice in Iran’.  

At this unmissable event, Boniadi will deliver a stirring keynote lecture on democracy and women’s rights, followed by a Q&A with Jamila Rizvi.   

Nazanin Boniadi will be awarded the Sydney Peace Prize at an event on 2 November at the Sydney Town Hall. Tickets and information available here. 

The Best Films You’ve Never Seen: The Devil’s Playground

RMIT University is proud to have held the AFI Research Collection for the past 20 years, a unique trove of screen and cinematic heritage. To celebrate, RMIT Culture is thrilled to present a screening of the iconic Australian film ‘The Devil’s Playground’, directed by the legendary Fred Schepisi, including an exclusive in-conversation with the filmmaker himself.  

Released in 1976, this film has left an indelible mark on the Australian film landscape. Set in a Catholic seminary in the 1950s, it explores themes of faith, desire, and the tumultuous journey to self-discovery. With compelling storytelling and powerful performances, this film is a timeless classic that continues to captivate audiences.  

Before the screening, hear Fred Schepisi speak with RMIT academic Dr Stephen Gaunson as he shares rare insights into the creative process behind ‘The Devil’s Playground’ and hear stories from Fred’s remarkable career which spans five decades and includes iconic films such as ‘The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith’, ‘Roxanne’, and ‘Six Degrees of Separation’.  

Food Waste is Bananas

Four trailblazing food transformation experts come together for a passionate discussion about how to source, prep, and eat sustainably in the face of the climate emergency, and how to scrutinize food waste as an opportunity for fresh creative responses, education and play. How can food waste be thoughtfully transformed both in the home and in industry? How can generational know-how infiltrate the mainstream and make food waste transformation the norm, rather than the exception? And what to do about the very real costs of food and labour? In this panel event, the audience will be encouraged to rethink their relationship with food, packaging and waste through the lens of delicious and innovative zero waste experiments. Afterwards, stick around to eat peels and rinds, delve into the world of edible cups, and dive into the possibilities of seaweed based bioplasics.  

Join food journalist and hospitality expert Dani Valent for this spirited evening, with a panel of dynamic industry veterans who live and breathe the realities, possibilities and economics of food transformation: Helen Addison-Smith, chef and food waste researcher; Joost Bakker, designer of projects and products that re-imagine sustainability; Laura Boulton, chef, educator, and root-to-stalk ethicist; and artist and researcher Jessie French, who navigates the intersection of art, ecology and technology amidst the climate crisis. 

Our panel will explore the history of food consumption and offer insights that will encourage us to rethink excess food and packaging as a design challenge rather than as waste. 

This event is presented by RMIT Culture in partnership with ‘Melbourne Conversations’  

In Absence: Reflections

RMIT Culture is pleased to partner with Craft Victoria to co-present a live conversation between First Nations artist Yhonnie Scarce, Edition Office and NGV Senior Curator of Contemporary Design and Architecture, Ewan McEoin, at The Capitol as part of Craft Contemporary 2023.

In 2019, artist and Kokatha and Nukunu woman, Yhonnie Scarce, and Melbourne architecture studio, Edition Office, came together to create their monumental collaboration ‘In Absence’ as the fifth NGV Architecture Commission. Housed in the NGV’s Grollo Equiset Garden from November 2019 to July 2020, the work was a significant commission within the NGV’s ongoing initiative to present temporary works of thought-provoking and immersive architecture.

The commissioned work comprised of a nine-meter-high and ten-meter-wide cylindrical structure of dark-stained Tasmanian hardwood split by a narrow walkway and housing two chambers, each filled with hundreds of handblown glass murnong yams. Inviting audiences to better understand the fallacy of the premise of Terra Nullius, which declared Australia as an emptiness awaiting ownership, the work celebrates and memorialises over 3000 generations of Indigenous design, industry, and agriculture.

Four years since its conception, Craft has teamed up with RMIT Culture to bring the creative team behind the commission back together again to reflect on the project through a live conversation at the Capitol theatre. Led by Ewan McEoin, Senior Curator of Contemporary Design and Architecture at the National Gallery of Victoria, the conversation with artist Yhonnie Scarce and the Edition Office architects will consider the potential of craft practices within architectural contexts and the impact of significant commissions for the individuals involved as well as the industry at large.

This program is co-presented by RMIT Culture and Craft as a part of Craft’s annual festival Craft Contemporary 2023.

Top image: Yhonnie Scarce and Edition Office, In Absence, 2019. Photographer: Ben Hosking. Image courtesy NGV.

Richard Flanagan: Question 7

Richard Flanagan’s masterful new novel Question 7 is his most personal book yet: a tribute to his parents and to his island home of Tasmania, and a hypnotic melding of dream, history, place and memory.

Beginning with Flanagan’s father’s imprisonment near Hiroshima when the atom bomb was dropped, Question 7 traces a chain reaction of events, from the turbulent romance between literary giants H.G. Wells and Rebecca West, to the intricate world of 1930s and 40s nuclear physics, to a young Flanagan trapped on a perilous Tasmanian river rapid.

One of Australia’s most revered novelists, Flanagan was awarded the Man Booker Prize for The Narrow Road to the Deep North and the Commonwealth Prize for Gould’s Book of Fish.

He joins RMIT’s Astrid Edwards to discuss Question 7’s unique blend of history, fiction and autofiction, and its examination of the stories we construct about ourselves and others.


Our Social Worlds Family Fun Day: Kids and Tweens

Settle in with popcorn and ice-cream and enjoy a feast of classic screen treats!

We start with beloved Australian classic Round The Twist (1990) and a new hit show Crazy Fun Park (2023) which has just won a Logie for Outstanding Kids’ Show. We then turn to the stop-motion animated film Coraline (2009), acclaimed for its quirky, spooky, moving exploration of how young people experience change. This combo, never before seen on the big screen, is as fun as it is surreal, supernatural, and (maybe even a little) scary.

In the interval, join Crazy Fun Park director Nick Verso and RMIT screen and social scientist experts Dr. Djoymi Baker and Dr. Sarah Polkinghorne for a conversation about what these shows tell us about struggles we all face and the power of screen stories to help us understand memory and change.

Our Social Worlds: (Re)Inventions is a highlight of RMIT’s events marking national Social Sciences Week, convened by the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia. Supported by the RMIT Enabling Impact Platforms, College of Design and Social Context, College of Business and Law, School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, and RMIT Culture.


Screening + in-conversation: The Giants with Bob Brown

Renowned Australian activist Bob Brown has dedicated his life to environmental conservation and advocacy. Leader of the world’s first Green party, his leadership in the successful campaign to save the Franklin River in Tasmania marked a turning point in Australia’s environmental movement.

The Giants is a powerful film tribute to Bob Brown’s remarkable activism, and a love letter to ancient forests. Drawing on 50 years of inspiring activism, it showcases Bob’s journey from the Franklin campaign to the ongoing battle for the Tarkine rainforest, intertwining his story with the awe-inspiring life cycle of Australia’s giant trees.

Bob Brown, and filmmakers Rachael Antony and Laurence Billiet, join ABC Radio National’s Hilary Harper after the screening to share behind-the-scenes stories, lessons from his journey, the pressing need for collective action and what protest looks like today as legislators crackdown on disruptive protests.

This event is part of Wild Hope: Conversations for a Planetary Commons, an exhibition calling for a radical shift to ‘planetary thinking’ as vital to the survival of human and non-human life on Earth, at Design Hub Gallery 15 August–30 September.

Run time: The Giants 113 minutes + Q&A 50 minutes

Spring Fling: Sentimental Garbage – Live in Melbourne

‘I started Sentimental Garbage in defence of romance; in defence of sincerity, and sentimentality, and joy, and kissing, and women with improbable apartments and complicated sex lives, and now I don’t feel in defence of any of those at all… I just love this stuff.’

From Mariah Carey, Sex and the City and Dirty Dancing to The Sims, charcuterie boards and the cult of the ‘Chill Bride’, beloved podcast Sentimental Garbage unapologetically celebrates the cultural touchstones that aren’t always considered ‘highbrow’. 

 Notching up more than 130 episodes since 2018, the podcast has amassed a staunch worldwide following. Now, host Caroline O’Donoghue arrives in Australia for the first time to record a podcast episode exclusively for Spring Fling. 

 Live at The Capitol, O’Donoghue and a very special guest will defy the cultural cringe as they dig into an array of audience-submitted Australian pop culture moments and icons. 

RMIT Culture is thrilled to present this special event in partnership with the Wheeler Centre.

Spring Fling is supported by the Victorian Government.

Spring Fling: Rebecca Makkai Has Some Questions

The author of The Great Believers and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Rebecca Makkai is back with an explosive new work. Described by the New York Times as ‘spellbinding’, I Have Some Questions for You is part campus novel, part true-crime podcast investigation, all told through the lens of the #MeToo era. 

The evening will open with an electric monologue from Suzie Miller, creator of the Olivier Award-winning play – and now novel – Prima Facie. Then, join Makkai and host Rachael Brown as they reckon with the past and interrogate just how deep our obsession with true crime runs. 

RMIT Culture is thrilled to present this special event in partnership with the Wheeler Centre.

Spring Fling is supported by the Victorian Government.

Spring Fling: Ed Yong – An Immense World

‘Protecting nature isn’t just about saving whales or pandas or what have you. It’s about protecting even things that are close to us… because each of those things has a unique way of experiencing the world, that is worth learning about, worth cherishing and worth protecting.’

For Spring Fling, acclaimed science journalist Ed Yong takes us beyond the limits of human perception to uncover the world through the eyes of animals. 

An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us explores the boundless sensory environments animals occupy, offering a reminder of the intricacies of nature and how little we truly know about the planet we inhabit. In this remarkable book, Yong brings to bear the same clear-eyed insight that earned him a Pulitzer Prize for his COVID-19 coverage for The Atlantic. 

Now, Yong arrives in Melbourne for a revelatory conversation with Guardian Australia nature columnist Helen Sullivan, live at The Capitol. 

RMIT Culture is thrilled to present this special event in partnership with the Wheeler Centre.

Spring Fling is supported by the Victorian Government.

Spring Fling: Everybody’s Trying to Find Their Way Home

‘Bringing my matrilineal language back into my body and onto my tongue has been an enormously grounding process. I no longer identify as Australian. I’m a Māori, Irish and Croatian settler on unceded Aboriginal land.’ 

When acclaimed songwriter and performer Jen Cloher (Ngāti Kahu, Ngāpuhi) started to learn about their Māori heritage their whole outlook on life changed. In the new podcast series, Everybody’s Trying To Find Their Way Home, Cloher speaks with icons like Dr. Lou Bennett about Sovereign Language Rematriation and Emma Donovan about the lasting legacy of Aunty Ruby Hunter. 

At the heart of the podcast is a gentle provocation to us all. What does it feel like when we make the journey towards our own ancestral languages and traditions? How does that journey help to make our occupation on these lands more conscious and embodied? What joy can be found in knowing the stories of strength that come through our own bloodlines? 

For Spring Fling, Cloher takes to the stage with a panel of Māori and First Nations songwriters including Uncle Kutcha Edwards, Allara and Breanne Peters. Together they’ll record a special live episode of Everybody’s Trying To Find Their Way Home, complete with an array of joyful musical performances. 

RMIT Culture is thrilled to present this special event in partnership with the Wheeler Centre.

Spring Fling is supported by the Victorian Government.

Wild Hope: Indy Johar keynote

How do we create more equitable, caring and regenerative futures?

London-based social entrepreneur, architect, and visionary thinker Indy Johar of Dark Matter Labs presents a keynote address to launch the Planetary Civics Initiative at RMIT.

As we enter an age of long and interconnected emergencies, our world grapples with simultaneous challenges including climate change, biodiversity loss, pandemics, antibiotic resistance, migration, AI, and human development. What we face is not merely a disruption; it’s a planetary-scale phenomenon.

This requires a shift in thinking and practices from the geopolitical to the planetary (the word ‘planetary’ is purposefully used as opposed to ‘world’ or ‘globe’). There is a level of mutual reliance and interdependence between humanity and the Earth’s living systems such as oceans, forests, rivers and glaciers – but also the city-regions and artificial intelligence systems that are rapidly being developed. Together we must effectively and compassionately face our shared futures.

Indy was recently awarded the London Design Medal for Innovation in 2022. Join this provocative public conversation on the strategic design of new super scale civic practices for deeply democratic futures.

Wild Hope: Conversations for a Planetary Commons, an exhibition calling for a radical shift to ‘planetary thinking’ as vital to the survival of human and non-human life on Earth, at Design Hub Gallery 15 August–30 September.