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.

Tell Me How It Ends

In a gala event to cap the 35th Melbourne Writers Festival, an all-Victorian line-up comes together to deliver addresses on this year’s theme, Tell Me How It Ends. Closing the curtain with not a whimper but a resounding bang, they touch on everything from the end of days to the end of empire to the ways in which unhappy endings can be fresh starts in disguise. Celebrating the heritage and future of our City of Literature, join Evelyn AraluenMaxine Beneba ClarkePatricia CorneliusNayuka GorrieChloe HooperShaun Tan and Maria Tumarkin for an unmissable Closing Night.

This event will be Auslan interpreted.

Presented in partnership with RMIT University – Learning Partner for Melbourne Writers Festival.

One Guitar:

Join renowned musicians Missy Higgins and Alexander Gow for a special live recording of the unique podcast series, One Guitar. For the project, Gow, of Oh Mercy and Perfect Moment renown, sends the same guitar to Australia’s best songwriters, asking them to create a new song in four weeks. Higgins debuts her composition and speaks with Gow about the creative process that has made her one of the country’s most popular recording artists.

This event will be Auslan interpreted.

Supported by Mushroom Group and APRA AMCOS.

Presented in partnership with RMIT University – Learning Partner for Melbourne Writers Festival.

Lisa Millar:

Working as a foreign correspondent gave Lisa Millar the big life she dreamt of growing up in country Queensland. But years of witnessing grief and unspeakable tragedy came at a cost: an ever-escalating fear of flying that threatened to derail her career. Join the ABC News Breakfast host for an intimate discussion with her long-time friend ABC 7.30’s Leigh Sales about Daring to Fly, her account of processing trauma, conquering fear, and learning to report on horror while still holding on to joy.

This event will be Auslan interpreted.

Presented in partnership with RMIT University – Learning Partner for Melbourne Writers Festival.

Marilynne Robinson:

Over some four decades, Marilynne Robinson has attained the status of literature’s spiritual leader. Her debut 1980 novel, Housekeeping, was an instant classic, signalling the arrival of a prodigiously skilful and wise new voice. In 2004 she released the first of the Gilead quartet, followed by HomeLila and last year’s Jack. Each story in the saga stands alone, casting light on the events of a mythic small town and themes of race, faith, family and forgiveness from different sources of illumination. Regarded as one of America’s great writers and thinkers, Robinson appears live via video from her home of Iowa, in conversation with on-stage interviewer Michael Williams about the Gilead series and her career at large.

Supported by ARA.

Presented in partnership with RMIT University – Learning Partner for Melbourne Writers Festival.

Douglas Stuart:

Douglas Stuart’s Shuggie Bain won the 2020 Booker Prize for its unsparing yet tender portrayal of an alcoholic mother and her son in Thatcher-era Glasgow. Informed by Stuart’s own childhood and likened to the writing of Hanya Yanagihara (A Little Life), the novel is an exploration of queerness, abuse and poverty, buoyed by the unsinkable love of young Shuggie for his ailing mum. Appearing live on screen from New York, the author speaks with an on-stage interviewer about the book’s runaway popularity, the complex filial bond at its heart, and why the story still rings true after years of austerity in the UK.

Supported by ARA.

Presented in partnership with RMIT University – Learning Partner for Melbourne Writers Festival.

Designing on Country (Postponed)

In response to the announcement from the Victorian Government regarding continued restrictions, this event has been postponed. We hope to present this event in the very near future. For updates, please check thecapitol.tvsign up to our newsletter and follow The Capitol on Instagram and Facebook. 

ABC’s Jonathan Green will host the conversation and will be joined by N’Arwee’t Dr Carolyn Briggs AMBeau de Belle (emerging Indigenous architect), Dr Christine Phillips and Jock Gilbert (non-indigenous design academics).

The event is the first of a speaker series presented by RMIT Architecture & Urban Design’s Reconciliation Ngulu team that will continue the conversation with a range of designers later in the year.

Presented by RMIT University School of Architecture & Urban Design Ngulu team as part of the OHM July Weekend running 24 + 25 July 2021.

This Is Public

In response to the recent announcements from the Victorian Government regarding continued restrictions, we’re pleased to confirm that This Is Public will go ahead but now in live streamed format – free and available to everyone.  

Return to this page online Friday 23 July from 5.30pm to watch the inspiring line-up of speakers presenting live from The Capitol.  

If you have purchased a ticket to attend the event in person, we have issued a refund to you via your original payment method. Any questions, please contact us at 

This Is Public focuses on the need to find new ways to reconnect and transform the ways in which we live and work together. Hosting speakers with different backgrounds and perspectives, this special event seeks to answer big questions about the role of policy, climate change and architecture in the future of cities, amongst other thought-provoking topics.

Originally planned to take place in person, in true Covid fashion this live opening event will now be broadcast from RMIT University’s state-of-the-art Media Precinct, from where we’ll be beaming our speakers and their presentations to you. The team has worked hard behind-the-scenes to bring this live event straight to your living room, recorded and live streamed on the Open House Melbourne (OHM) and The Capitol websites, and later produced as a podcast. Focusing on the central theme, Reconnect, this year OHM asks us to reconsider the way we will occupy our city and to envisage new ways of designing and adapting our buildings and infrastructure as we emerge from the impact of the COVID era.

Guests can expect a series of thought provoking and insightful presentations beginning with an address from Lord Mayor Sally Capp, and an introduction to the OHM 2021 theme, Reconnect.

Speakers include:

Jefa Greenaway and Tristan Wong – INBETWEEN 
INBETWEEN presents a series of architectural projects, through a film compilation to show how architects, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous are working with First-Nations peoples as a way of embedding cultural authenticity into our built environment. The works were originally conceived for exhibition in Australia’s pavilion on the Giardini in Venice and has been reimagined as a film that presents a powerful set of works from across Australia and the Pacific. The works demonstrate architecture’s capacity to strengthen cultural connections and understanding between non-Indigenous and First Nations peoples. 

Jill Garner, Victorian Government Architect (OVGA) – Designing Policy for People
Jill Garner took the helm of the Office of the Victorian Government Architect in 2015, stepping into the role as a public advocate for architecture and design after more than twenty years in practice. As an architect, her practice – Garner Davis – has received numerous industry awards for delivering sensitive, crafted public and private work. As a design advisor and advocate in government, she strongly promotes the value of contextual, integrated design thinking and a collaborative approach across design disciplines. Jill Garner will further explore these issues with Hamish Lyon, Director of NH Architecture, in a following guided walking tour.  

Nicole Kalms, XYX Lab– Your Ground: Towards a Safer and More Accessible City 
Your Ground is a digital mapping platform that aims to advance knowledge of safety in public spaces. In the context of social changes brought about by COVID-19, Your Ground is backed by research and seeks allow women and gender-diverse people to call out safe and unsafe experiences and geographically identify spaces where they have been made to feel unsafe, scared or even safe and happy. The project seeks to empower women and gender-diverse people to advocate for change through their lived experiences.  

Liam Young with Ewan McEoin The Making of Planet City
Planet City is a film exploring the productive potential of extreme densification. The project – commissioned by the National Gallery of Victoria – imagines a future where humanity exists in one hyper dense metropolis, leaving the rest of the planet to thrive in wilderness. Liam Young, author, filmmaker and architect is joined by Ewan McEoin, the Hugh Williamson Senior Curator of Contemporary Design and Architecture at the National Gallery of Victoria to discuss the future of city existence. Liam joins This Is Public courtesy of the Living Cities Forum and the Naomi Milgrom Foundation where he has curated a film series as part of the OHM X Living Cities satellite program.  

James Brearley and Justine Della Riva (CEO) – Building Pride
Five years in the making the Victorian Pride Centre is a place of belonging, support and pride for LGBTIQ+ communities. As Australia’s first purpose-built pride centre, this is where everyone can come together, honour the past, celebrate the present, and work towards a more inclusive future. The Centre is home to important resident organisations, engaging cultural programs, vital health services and inspiring social spaces.  In January 2018 BAU (Brearley Architects and Urbanists) and GAA (Grant Amon Architects) were selected winners of a two-stage design competition. Inaugural CEO Justine Dalla Riva, proud Lesbian and mother of two will be joined by architect James Brearley to discuss what it takes to create inclusive spaces that respect our individual and collective vision to belong. 

Beau de Belle, Christine Phillips and Jock Gilbert – Designing On Country
Gamilaraay architect Beau de Belle and non-Indigenous design academics, Christine Phillips and Jock Gilbert consider the question: What will Melbourne look like in the future when we embrace design as an act of reconciliation? Beau, Jock and Christine’s discussion for This Is Public will set the scene for an expanded event the following evening – also at The Capitol – with Boon Wurrong elder N’Arweet Dr Carolyn Briggs AM  that explores these questions in further depth.

Co-presented with Centre for Architecture Victoria, Open House Melbourne. This edition is supported by RMIT Architecture & Urban Design, RMIT University and media partner Assemble Papers.

This event forms part of the satellite program for the 2021 Living Cities Forum presented by Naomi Milgrom Foundation.

Parliamentary Privilege: Bias, Boys’ Clubs and Women in Politics

This conversation originally scheduled to take place on Tuesday 27 July was postponed in response to current health advice and restrictions on public events. It is now a digital premiere event and can be watched from this page on Tuesday 3 August at 6.30pm.

Just one in ten Australian women aged 18 to 25 believe that federal parliament provides a safe workplace environment for young women, and almost three-quarters (72%) say they would never want to work in politics.

All too often, the field of politics is a hostile one for women to navigate. For generations, women have faced systemic challenges and deterrents to embarking on a political career. How can we dismantle these barriers and create pathways to greater representation?

For this conversation, we’re bringing together current, former and future female politicians of different generations to discuss the political gender divide. Join Arrernte activist, unionist, and recently-announced Greens candidate for Cooper Celeste Liddle; advocate and the Martin Luther King Jr Center’s 2021 Youth Influencer of the Year Yasmin Poole; and former Liberal MP and author of Power Play: Breaking Through Bias, Barriers and Boys’ Clubs Julia Banks as they consider the obstacles and rewards experienced by women in politics. Hosted by Patricia Karvelas.

Presented in partnership with RMIT Culture and the Wheeler Centre.

The bookseller for this event is Neighbourhood Books.

The Broadly Speaking series is proudly supported by Krystyna Campbell-Pretty AM and family and the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund.

Rage and Dissent

Please note this event has been rescheduled from Tuesday 20 July at 6.30pm to a digital-only event. This is in response to current lockdown restrictions on public events in Victoria and the inability of speakers to travel interstate.

While it is unfortunate that we can’t present this conversation in person, the Wheeler Centre will be premiering the event online on Thursday 22 July at 6.30pm. If you have already purchased a ticket, you will receive a reminder ahead of the event. You can still register for this event and receive the streaming details.

If you would like a refund for the cost of your ticket please contact by 5pm Friday 23 July. Or, they will convert your ticket price to a tax-deductible donation to the Wheeler Centre.

British journalist Laurie Penny is among our most urgent contemporary feminist voices. Their work – including the books Bitch Doctrine and Unspeakable Things – combines activism and journalism to interrogate the promises and limitations of feminism, technology, popular culture, and class politics. They’ve described anger as ‘no more or less than the human heart rebelling against injustice’.

Bri Lee’s books – including Eggshell Skull, Beauty and Who Gets to Be Smart – explore privilege and sexism in the justice and education systems, as well as in individual lives. Much of Lee’s investigative journalism and legal advocacy centres on the need for stronger consent laws and improved sex and relationship education in Australia.

Join these two electrifying thinkers alongside host Santilla Chingaipe as they consider questions of power and fury: What does ‘safety’ mean in the workplace, in the streets and in our intimate relationships? What lessons are young people absorbing about gendered power dynamics? What is the cost of seeking justice and holding power structures to account? And how can we capture and wield collective anger as a force for transformative change?

This event will be Auslan interpreted.

Presented in partnership with RMIT Culture and the Wheeler Centre.

The bookseller for this event is Neighbourhood Books.

The Broadly Speaking series is proudly supported by Krystyna Campbell-Pretty AM and family and the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund.

Speaker bios

Santilla Chingaipe, host
Santilla Chingaipe is a journalist and filmmaker whose work explores migration, cultural identities and politics. She is a regular contributor to the Saturday Paper, and serves as a member of the Federal Government’s Advisory Group on Australia-Africa Relations (AGAAR).

Chingaipe wrote and directed the documentary series Third Culture Kids for the ABC. Other credits include the short documentary Black As Me.

Her first book of non-fiction detailing the stories of convicts of African descent transported to the Australian penal colonies, is forthcoming with Picador in 2021.

The recipient of several awards, Chingaipe was recognised at the United Nations as one of the most influential people of African descent in the world in 2019.

Bri Lee
Bri Lee is an author and freelance writer. Her journalism has appeared in publications such as The MonthlyThe Saturday PaperGuardian Australia and Crikey. Her first book, Eggshell Skull, won Biography of the Year at the ABIA Awards, the People’s Choice Award at the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards, and was longlisted for the 2019 Stella Prize. She is also a non-practicing lawyer and continues to engage in legal research and issues-based advocacy.

Laurie Penny
Laurie Penny is an award-winning author, columnist, journalist and screenwriter. Their seven books include Bitch DoctrineUnspeakable Things and Everything Belongs to the Future. As a freelance journalist, they write about politics, social justice, pop culture, feminism, mental health and technology for places including the GuardianLongreadsTIMEBuzzfeed, the New York Times, ViceSalonThe Nation and the New Statesman. They were a 2014-15 Nieman Journalism Fellow at Harvard University. As a screenwriter, Laurie has worked on The Nevers (HBO), The Haunting (Netflix) and Carnival Row (Amazon). Laurie Penny is based between London and Los Angeles.

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Melbourne Overlooked Film Festival 2021

This event has been cancelled in line with the Victorian government’s public health announcement. For further information please visit MOFF’s website.

An RMIT student-led initiative unearthing underground, underappreciated and unconventional cinema. The Festival opens with an exclusive screening of cult classic sci-fi horror Body Melt (1993) followed by an intimate panel with director Philip Brophy.

Starring iconic Aussie actors Ian Smith (best known as Harold Bishop from Neighbours) and Gerard Kennedy (Glitch, 2015), this schlocky ozploitation gem follows the residents of peaceful Pebbles Court who are being unknowingly used as test experiments for a new supplement pill that causes rapid body decomposition, ghastly mutations and painful death.

Tickets on sale 3 June.

Presented by RMIT School of Media and Communication.


On Migration and Detention

Together, they will explore creativity and contexts in which creative responses emerge—across themes of art, culture, politics, people and the environment. RMIT Culture’s Salons will delve into our stories, challenges and opportunities.

For On Migration and Detention, the first Literature & Ideas Salon, writers Shokoofeh Azar, André Dao and Zana Fraillon share their experiences writing about migration, detention and inhumane border policies, with host Astrid Edwards.

Shokoofeh Azar moved to Australia as a political refugee in 2010. She is a journalist and author of essays, articles, short stories and children’s books. She is the first Iranian woman to hitchhike the entire length of the Silk Road. The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree, originally written in Farsi, was shortlisted for the International Booker Prize and Australia’s Stella Prize, as well as nominated for The PEN American and National Award.

André Dao is a writer, editor, researcher, and artist.  He is the co-founder of Behind the Wire, an oral history project documenting people’s experience of immigration detention. He is also a producer of the Walkley-award winning podcast, The Messenger. André’s debut novel, Anam, won the 2021 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript.

Zana Fraillon is an internationally acclaimed, multi-award-winning author of books for children and young adults. Her work has been published in over 15 countries and is in development for both stage and screen. Her book The Bone Sparrow explores a refugee child’s experience being born in an Australian permanent detention centre. It won the 2017 ABIA Book of the Year for Older Children, and Readings Young Adult Book Prize 2017.

On Migration and Detention is hosted by Astrid Edwards, Program Manager of RMIT’s Associate Degree of Professional Writing and Editing. Astrid Edwards is an interviewer, podcaster and advocate. She is a bibliophile and hosts two bookish podcasts – The Garret: Writers on Writing and Anonymous Was A Woman. She serves as the Chair of Melbourne Writers Festival.

Presented by RMIT Culture, in partnership with Writing and Publishing at RMIT.

Lynette Wallworth

This event has been cancelled in line with the Victorian government’s public health announcement on Thursday 27 May. For further information on RISING and their COVID-19 update please visit their website.

In conversation with ACMI Director Katrina Sedgwick, Wallworth reflects on her years of storytelling through art and film, ahead of the world premiere of her show How To Live

Multi-Emmy Award-winning artist Lynette Wallworth is bringing her new solo show How To Live… to RISING, where she turns her distinctive artistic sensibility on herself. How To Live… is a “spiritual search and rescue mission”, which sees Wallworth reflect on her deeply personal coming-of-age in a radical Christian community.

It’s the latest undertaking by Wallworth, whose unflinching focus on compelling and compassionate storytelling has seen her present to audiences of world leaders and corporate giants.

Known for her deft use of cutting-edge technology—from immersive installation to documentary to virtual and augmented reality—Wallworth continually innovates the form of her stories focused on evolving cultural change.

Ahead of her show at RISING, Wallworth will join ACMI Director Katrina Sedgwick in conversation. Sedgwick has watched Wallworth’s upward trajectory as an artist and filmmaker and has commissioned her work in various forms over many years. In this special In Conversation the two will reflect on the deep themes of Wallworths’ works and the evolution of her practice, which has brought her to this point in time where she has decided to turn her laser lens on herself.

Presented with RISING, the Wheeler Centre and RMIT Culture.

Speaker bios

Lynette Wallworth, artist and filmmaker
Lynette Wallworth is a multiple Emmy® Award-winning Australian artist and filmmaker whose immersive video installations and film works reflect on the connections between people and the natural world.  She has been awarded a UNESCO City of Film Award, the Byron Kennedy Award for Innovation and Excellence, and in 2016 she was named by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the year’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers. Wallworth’s most recent VR works have been developed at the invitation of Indigenous communities. Wallworth’s work has shown at the World Economic Forum, Davos, the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the American Museum of Natural History, New York, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, the Smithsonian, the Royal Observatory Greenwich for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad; Auckland Triennial; Adelaide Biennial; Brighton Festival and the Vienna Festival among many others as well as film festivals including – Sundance Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, London Film Festival, Glasgow Film Festival, Sydney Film Festival, Adelaide Film Festival and Margaret Mead Film Festival. Wallworth’s works include the interactive video installation Evolution of Fearlessness; the DOMIE Award-winning fulldome feature Coral, with its accompanying augmented reality work; the AACTA Award-winning documentary Tender, the Emmy® Award-winning virtual reality narrative Collisions which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and the 2016 World Economic Forum, Davos and the Emmy® Award-winning XR work Awavena 2018 which was in competition at Venice film festival after premiering at Sundance Film Festival. Wallworth is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Virtual and Augmented Reality and sits on the Sundance Institute’s Board of Trustees. She is currently Artist in Residence at the Australian Human Rights Institute, UNSW and at AFTRS, Sydney. She directs the New Narratives Lab at the World Economic Forum developed to create opportunities for underrepresented voices to access global decision makers.

Katrina Sedgwick OAM, Director & CEO ACMI 
Katrina has been Director & CEO of ACMI since 2015. She has a particular interest in supporting cross-disciplinary practice and an extensive background as a commissioner, creative producer and festival director. Her previous roles include Head of Arts for the national broadcaster ABC TV as well as founding Director/CEO of Adelaide Film Festival. The Festival’s $1 million AUD AFF Investment Fund was recognised with a week-long celebration at MoMA in 2011. She is on a number of arts and advisory boards, and in 2020 was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for services to performing arts, screen industries and visual arts administration.

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