'Brow Talks' at MWF 2018

Following on from the success of last year's Brow Talks public talks series, which included talks from Jessica Wilkinson/Bonny Cassidy and Paola Balla as well as talks from Simona Castricum and Chad Parkhill, we're chuffed to announce a new season of talks that will be taking place at this year's Melbourne Writers Festival (24 Aug–2 Sep). Co-curated with RMIT's non/fictionLab and sponsored by Young Henrys, Brow Talks promises to ignite discussion about everything from sex stigma and activism to laughter and rage.

This year's distinguished speakers are these erudite legends: Michelle Law, Nic Holas, Evelyn Ida Morris and Nayuka Gorrie. All four events are free and are being held at Belleville.

Huge thanks to Young Henrys, the best beer and cider makers around, for sponsoring this series.

For updates about these talks, check out our Facebook event. You can also visit MWF's website for further details. See you all there!

Michelle Law

‘Fire and fury gets the job done!’

Sat 25 Aug, 3pm

Anger gets a lot of negative press—we’re told it’s bad for our mental and physical health and it can make us look like the grumpy person in the room that nobody wants to talk to. But as a writer, anger can be one of the most constructive and mobilising tools in your creative arsenal. Join Michelle Law as she speaks about embracing anger, its values and its uses, so your writing can rise from any ~ intense emotions ~ like a phoenix from the ashes.

Michelle Law is a writer working across film, theatre and print. Her debut play Single Asian Female was staged at La Boite Theatre Company and Belvoir St Theatre Company to sold out audiences. She has also been a recipient of the Queensland Premier’s Young Publishers and Writers Award. Homecoming Queens, the web series she co-created, co-wrote and stars in, premiered on SBS On Demand this year.

Photo by Adrian Tuazon-McCheyne for Hello Mr

Nic Holas

‘Sex cells’

Sun 26 Aug, 3pm

A talk to get the blood pumping. HIV activist, writer, and former sex worker/pornographer Nic Holas reflects on how far we have come in depathologising but not depoliticising our sex lives. Nic will take a moment to reflect on our recent LGBTIQA progress (or is it regress?), and ask what is left to do, what is getting left behind, and what is just too Left to go anywhere near.

Nic Holas is an activist, writer, and co-founder of The Institute of Many (TIM), Australia's largest grassroots movement for People Living with HIV. Nic has been published in two recent anthologies, Queerstories and The Best of The Lifted Brow: Volume Two. His other writing on HIV, queer issues, human rights, and pop culture has appeared online and in publications by the ABC, The Guardian, Sydney Morning Herald, The Lifted Brow, Archer Magazine, Hello Mr, Junkee, SBS, and the international queer press.

Evelyn Ida Morris

‘New structures’

Sat 1 Sep, 3pm

What stories do we use to talk about music, art, feminism, and gender? Can we replace our patriarchal binary norms with new metaphors? In this talk, Evelyn Ida Morris will look at stories they've used to make sense of their music, art, and activism, and try to find new structures for living and making.

Evelyn Ida Morris released their first album as Pikelet in 2007, and has since released four albums under that name. They have won the Age Music Victoria Award for Best Experimental Musician and been shortlisted for the Australian Music Prize. They have toured extensively as Pikelet, and with other projects. They have a long history with the piano and improvised music, and recently released their first album of piano compositions under their own name with Milk! Records to much critical acclaim.

Nayuka Gorrie

‘How to laugh at your oppressor’

Sun 2 Sep, 3pm

The world might be run by hostile gronks but looking on the bright side hostile gronks are a lot of fun to laugh at. The internet means there are seemingly endless ways to make fun of them. Join Nayuka as she explores a history of laughing at people in power and different ways to do it today.

Nayuka Gorrie is a Gunai/Kurnai, Gunditjmara, Wiradjuri and Yorta Yorta freelance and comedy television writer. Her writing centres on black, feminist and queer politics. She wrote and performed in the upcoming Season Three of Black Comedy.


Huge thanks to Young Henrys, the best beer and cider makers around, for sponsoring this series.

Season One of The Lifted Brow’s ‘Brow Talks’ Lecture Series Continues

After a successful launch last year of this public talks series, we welcome back BROW TALKS for 2017, presented in partnership with non/fictionLab at RMIT. Informal in tone and omnivorous in range, these talks are fun, forward-thinking samplers of the best new thinking about nonfiction today. Please join us at the Urban Writing House, non/fictionLab’s new home for all things research, writing, and the city. Bring questions and a good attitude!

As before, these lectures are free, free, free – all you have to do is RSVP to rsvp@theliftedbrow.com. They will be held at non/fictionLab’s Urban Writing House (RMIT City Campus Building 80.01.08), Melbourne, Australia.

Lecture Three: Simona Castricum – ‘CAN YOU IMAGINE ME BEING THERE?’ (Wednesday 22 March, 6pm for 6.30pm)

What is our expectation of architecture when our cities, buildings – their programs, connections and interfaces – reinforce essentialist and cisnormative notions of gender? For some, that is not an architecture of safety, nor of belonging or identity; rather of hostility, othering and privilege. Relationships between form, space, program and function have unique political and spatial meanings for gender nonconforming people. When program is the enemy of function, we adapt as they disconnect. We seek belonging, safety and find identity. What can be learnt about architectural emotion, space and practice through the lens of gender nonconforming experiences?

Simona Castricum is a musician, architecture academic and writer from Melbourne. Simona’s musical, spatial and activist interventions articulate gender non-conforming experiences in architectural and emotional space - their relationships to power, sexuality, violence and the body. Her fluid and multidisciplinary practice across architecture, graphic design and music experiment with vocal, percussion, dance, image and typography as both creative tools and evocative publishing forms. Simona is represented by Melbourne queer feminist label LISTEN Records. Her culture and music writing has appeared in The Guardian, Vice, i-D and Archer magazines.

Lecture Four: Chad Parkhill – ‘THE LANGUAGE OF PROGRESS’ (Wednesday 26 April, 6pm for 6.30pm)

Last year saw democracies around the world elect regressive and reactionary leaders (Donald Trump, Rodrigo Duterte, the return of Pauline Hanson) or enact reactionary political programs (Brexit). These events, and the possibility of similar events in the near future, have created a crisis for progressives. How can we build progressive alliances and solidarity across identity groups and between different worldviews? How has the neoliberal project impacted the language and concepts we use to articulate a progressive and just vision for the world?

This lecture will examine discourses of contemporary progressive politics to argue that the language we use to articulate these politics is inadequate to the task of combating global reactionary and regressive political movements. Drawing upon the analysis of performative speech acts and performativity developed by queer theorists such as Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick and Judith Butler, it argues for concrete changes in the ways progressives talk about, and therefore think about, their politics – away from a neoliberally-inflected politics of the oppressed self, towards a politics of contingent solidarity.

Chad Parkhill is a Melbourne-based cultural critic who writes about sex, booze, music, history, and books—but not necessarily in that order. His work has appeared in The Australian, The Guardian, Junkee, Kill Your Darlings, The Lifted Brow, Meanjin, Overland, and The Quietus.

RMIT’s non/fictionLab Presents The Lifted Brow Lecture Series 'Brow Talks' – Season One

We welcome one and all to The Lifted Brow Lecture Series 'Brow Talks', presented in partnership with non/fictionLab at RMIT. Informal in tone and omnivorous in range, these lectures are fun, forward-looking samplers of the most razor-sharp thinking about nonfiction today.

Please join us these two spring Thursdays at the Urban Writing House, non/fictionLab’s new home for all things research, writing, and the city. Bring your ears, bring questions, bring a sense of adventure — for us, a lecture is a starting point.

These lectures are free, free, free – all you have to do is RSVP to rsvp@theliftedbrow.com. They will be held at non/fictionLab’s Urban Writing House (RMIT City Campus Building 80.01.08), Melbourne, Australia.

Lecture One: Jessica Wilkinson and Bonnie Cassidy – ‘Now, Feminism’ (Thursday 22 September, 6pm for 6.30pm)

What is feminism, what is contemporary poetry, and what on earth have they got to do with each other? Jessica Wilkinson and Bonnie Cassidy, the co-editors of the anthology Contemporary Australian Feminist Poetry, square up to three local poets and demand answers.

Lecture Two: Paola Balla – ‘Aboriginal Non-Fiction Spaces: How First Nations Women Tell and Protect Story’ (Thursday 20 October, 6pm for 6.30pm)

Paola Balla will explore how Aboriginal culture understands memoir, discussing the history of First Nations women speaking into writing, storytelling and non-fiction spaces, both as published and established authors and as storytellers and mothers raising the next generations. She will examine the dignified, staunch, funny and fierce ways that First Nations women generationally maintain, generate, create and protect story in telling (and not telling) family and cultural narratives and the stories that live within the sky of narration, using examples such as the letters and poetry of her own mother and grandmother.

Throughout her lecture Balla will touch upon Margaret Lilardia Tucker’s autobiography, If Everyone Cared (the first autobiography by an Aboriginal person, published in 1977), Ruby Langford Ginibi’s works, Oodgeroo Kath Walker’s poetry, Lisa Bellear, the work of Ellen Van Neerven, Tracey Bunda, Aileen Moreton-Robinson, the work of emerging young First Nations writers Hannah Donnelly, Nayuka Gorrie, and a host of other First Nations women, visual artists, bloggers and writers.