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Event Details

Future Imperfect | SOLD OUT

7 November 2019
6:00pm – 7:15pm
Leighton Hall, John Niland Scientia Building, UNSW Sydney
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In an evening of short talks, join a group of brilliant thinkers to explore the future of gender, privacy, pharmaceuticals, technology and the environment.

This event is hosted by Marc Fennell.

A World Without Pharmaceuticals 
"In the future, diseases must be fought without drugs and pharmaceuticals. Can we achieve this by harnessing the cells that make up our bodies?"
James Halstead

The Matrix of Sex and Gender
"The mind-bending science of sex shows that in the future we are likely to live in a world where there are either multiple sex and gender categories – or, preferably, none."
Emma A Jane

Rebuilding Data Privacy From The Ground Up
"Is there anywhere in the world we're not being watched? How can we rebuild a just and compassionate society – in our communities and online – against growing corporate demands for digital surveillance?"
Katharine Kemp

Technology, Witnessing and War
"In a world where technology is the primary witness of injustice and atrocity, could drones become tools of testimony, custodians of truth that hold leaders and countries to account?"
Michael Richardson

Underwater Forests: Taking Extinction Back
"Pollution, warm water and fishing all threaten our oceans, but when we give nature a helping hand, its ability to help itself can be remarkable."
Adriana Vergés

Presented by the UNSW Centre for Ideas and UNSW Grand Challenges.


Future Imperfect tickets are free. Bookings are essential.

This talk is included in the Ultimate Pass. Purchase a pass for the most UNTHINKABLE experience! 



Wheelchair Accessible

Leighton Hall is located inside the John Niland Scientia Building at UNSW Sydney's Kensington campus, G19 on this map (PDF). If you are traveling via the University Mall, there is a lift to the right of the large set of steps at the John Niland Scientia Building. There is ramp access to Leighton Hall via the Scientia Lawn. You can be dropped off close to this ramp. Vehicles need to arrive via Botany street, Gate 11 and drive down Library Walk. The closest accessible parking is available in the Barker Street Parking Station (N18 on map). 

Hearing Loop Available

Auslan & Captioning

The Centre for Ideas can provide Auslan and captioning services for selected talks upon request. 

Companion Card

The Centre for Ideas supports the Companion Card program. For patrons who require assistance of a companion or carer, a second ticket is issued at no cost to the Companion Card holder.


To discuss your access requirements and to book selected access services, please call the Centre for Ideas on 02 9385 9844 or email

The Centre for Ideas is happy to receive phone calls via the National Relay Service. TTY users, phone 133 677, then ask for 02 9385 9844. Speak and Listen users, phone 1300 555 727 then ask for 02 9385 9844. Internet relay users, visit, then ask for 02 9385 9844.

James Halstead

James Halstead

James Halstead is a Senior Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Medical Sciences, UNSW Sydney. His research focuses on how single cells in the body can make decisions, and how this can go wrong in diseases. 

Emma A Jane

Emma A Jane

Emma A Jane is an Associate Professor in the School of the Arts & Media at UNSW Sydney. Emma’s research focuses on the social and ethical implications of emerging technologies. Prior to joining academia, Emma spent 25 years working in the print, broadcast, and electronic media, winning multiple awards for her writing and investigative reporting. Emma writes about social media, cybercrime, public policy, feminism, LGBTQI+ issues, neuroscience, genetics, psychology, and children’s media. Her memoir Diagnosis Normal will be released in March. 

Katharine Kemp

Katharine Kemp

Katharine Kemp is a Senior Lecturer at UNSW Law. Katharine is an expert in data privacy and misuse of market power laws, and her research focuses on the ways personal data is collected and used to the detriment of consumers. She has published widely in these fields, including most recently Misuse of Market Power: Rationale and Reform.

Michael Richardson

Michael Richardson

Michael Richardson is a Senior Research Fellow in the School of the Arts and Media, UNSW Sydney. Michael researches the impacts of drone technologies on war, culture and witnessing. He currently holds an ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award and is the author of Gestures of Testimony

Adriana Vergés

Adriana Vergés

Adriana Vergés is a marine ecologist and conservationist in the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, UNSW Sydney. Adriana’s research focuses on the ecological impacts of climate change and the conservation of the world’s algal forests and seagrass meadows and much of her research takes place underwater. Adriana is passionate about communicating science to the wider public, especially through films, art and new media.

Marc Fennell

Marc Fennell

Marc Fennell is an award-winning  journalist, broadcaster, and author. He has created stories for the BBC, SBS Viceland, the ABC and many more. He hosts daily news and current affairs show The Feed where he has interviewed everyone from Julian Assange to Jennifer Lawrence. His ability to explore stories on almost any topic has seen him cover everything from net neutrality, chilli eating competitions to sex in Japan.