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.

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.

Freeplay 2021

Join this online showcase of some of the most unique, experimental, and personal independent games being made in Australia and beyond in a virtual 8-bit replica of The Capitol.

For over fifteen years, Freeplay Independent Games Festival has been exploring the margins of games culture – the artistic, the weird, the provocative and the punk – to uncover emerging and exceptional makers from bedroom coders to artists pushing the boundaries of the artform. This now digital event includes nominees demonstrating their creations live on stage and sharing their origin stories, creative inspirations and intimate journeys.

Find the full list of nominees here.

RMIT Media Virtual Showcase 2021

Emerging contemporary media professionals present their short films, video art, soundscapes and digital projects for the RMIT Bachelor of Communication (Media) end of semester online showcase.

Highlights include Cristina Ulloa Sobarzo’s meta-documentary on film editor Johanna Scott So, You’re Telling Me I’m Serving People Tea and Coffee? produced for the Women Beside the Screen studio in partnership with the Melbourne Women in Film Festival, which creatively profiles women who have forged a career in the Australian screen industries; Kennel, a phone app described as “Tinder for pets” by Marla Kalaw and Derek Xu; and the non-linear video series exploring the weight of grief, As Grief Holds Usby Sofia Georganas, Andy Eaton and Rishi Ranjan.

Presented by RMIT School of Media and Communication.

Expand to browse the showcase highlights below:

Future Play Studio

Kennel game/app trailer  by Marla Kalaw, Derek Xu

Women Besides the Screen Studio
So, You’re Telling Me I’m Serving People Tea and Coffee? by Cristina Ulloa Sobarzo

The Next Generation by Chau Vu

Eye of the Beholder by Isabel Savenake

Deliberate Film Studio

The Box by Shiyang (Jack) Wang

Failed Mission by Joyce Wong

Kitchen Play by Xinyu (Sandra) Zhang 

The Call by Madeleine Cheale

Real to Reel Studio

Salvage by Emmanuelle Mattana

I’m a Writer by Ruby Walker (contains some coarse language)

Antiquarians by Beatrice Madamba, Jasper Cohen-Hunter, Sophie Aitken

Preserving the Gallery by Simon Tran

Collecting Embodiment Studio

These are each collections of multiple works. Videos should be watched in the order they are on the page.

As Grief Holds Us by Sofia Georganas, Andy Eaton and Rishi Ranjan

Belong to my Body (Dirt of My Mind) by Maddy Weeks, Rhonda Hodgson, Eva Williams

Making Sense of Social Media Studio

(All work by the whole of the Studio)

Instagram Unfiltered Instagram Page

Instagram Unfiltered Tik Tok Page

Tools For Change

Future Machina Studio

Crux by By Seamus Daniel and Jessica Hooper

The Doppelganger by Jiayao (Cherry) Lin 

The Breakfast Bandits by Chiara Watt, Leith Edwards, Lisa Jacobsen, Max Meaden and Patrick Neideck

Mars TV by JoongHyuk Joe, Marlon Mckinnon, Zane Giernatowski

Unravelling the Real Studio

Remember Me by Amelia Christie

How To Cope With Brussels Sprouts by Sabrina Phillips Brash

It’s not Rocket Surgery Studio

Why History can be Unreliable… by Joel Cormack, Keely (Yuqi) Xing, Willa Robinson, Xena (Xiaohang) Dong

Mona’s Secret by Alice Nguyen-Manderson, Jessica (Anqi) Li, Hamza Ipek, Trevor (Zihang) Wang

Seeing the Unseen Studio

Greenhouse Cage by Hang Yi Wong, Tianjin Shi, Jiangxue Han

The Dying Natural Vitality by Abby, Lee, Jacky & Yvonne

Room With A View Studio

Each of the Radio Features are in the Soundcloud embed below the RWAV live show

First Nations Artists by Bronte Pitcher, Holly Colvin, Lachlan Flannigan and Eliza Butcher

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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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Meaning, Mysticism and Manifestation

Please note this event has been rescheduled from Tuesday 15 June, 6.30pm to Tuesday 6 July, 7pm and will now be a digital-only event. This is in response to current lockdown restrictions and the inability of speakers to travel interstate.

While it is unfortunate that we can’t present this conversation in person, it will be live-streamed at the same time. 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 the Wheeler Centre at by 5pm Monday 5th July. Or, they will convert your ticket price to a tax-deductible donation to the Wheeler Centre.

In recent years, there’s been a resurgence and reclaiming of mysticism and alternative practices such as astrology, tarot and manifestation, particularly among women, non-binary people, queer communities and communities of colour.

These practices can provide spiritual and practical direction and pathways to success, and help us understand our place in the world – but they’re also derided and dismissed by many.

At this Broadly Speaking event, we’ll hear from journalist and ‘sceptical believer’ Amal Awad, creative producer and tarot oracle Erica McCalman, and podcaster, entrepreneur and self-described ‘spooky binch’ Lillian Ahenkan (aka Flex Mami). Together, they’ll unpack the joy and purpose of mystic pursuits, consider the intersections of spirituality and self-awareness, and explore the roots of mainstream disbelief. Hosted by Shantel Wetherall.

Presented in partnership with RMIT Culture and the Wheeler Centre.

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