Provocations with Cathy McGowan

Register for the zoom session here

‘Provocations’ is a live, interactive academic event which seeks to shed light on competing visions for future sustainabilities. For the first iteration of our series, we welcome Cathy McGowan, former Independent MP for Indi, and a key leader in Australia’s grassroots politics movement. The event will begin with a 'provoction' from Cathy, discussing the future of Australian democratic politics, how significant grassroots community campaigns will be in this future, and the mechanisms required for such a future to arise. This will be followed by responses from, and discussion between, our 'provocatees', and Cathy. Finally, there will be a live Q&A session in which the audience has the opportunity to engage with Cathy’s vision for Australia’s democratic future. This event will run from 1:30pm to 3:00pm on Thursday 21st of April in the Frank Fenner Seminar Room, and will be streamed online.

About the Speakers

Cathy McGowan
In 2013, Cathy McGowan became the first Independent candidate to be elected to the north-east Victorian electorate of Indi, breaking up a period of major party domination in the region which reached back to Federation. Her grassroots, community-based campaign gained nationwide attention, and demonstrated the possibility of a new course in Australian democracy.  In 2019, Cathy again created history by successfully handing over the electorate to another Independent candidate, Dr. Helen Haines. Since the handover, Cathy has continued to campaign for her vision of how politics ought to be conducted, actively encouraging communities to turn up, speak up, and step up to leadership.  

Dr. Deborah O'Connell
Deborah leads global research in the areas of resilience, adaptation pathways and transformation of social-ecological systems. She has a strong interest in designing and applying contemporary scientific and engagement approaches to complex, real world problems. She takes a systems approach and enjoys working with people to build strong connections between scientists; those who make decisions in business, government and NGOs; and the communities that care about the issues at stake. She has a creative approach to collaboration and co-production of knowledge, and embraces the arts and humanities as critical ways to improve the relevance and impact of science. She has built many successful partnerships and collaborations with a range of people, disciplines and organisations, as is reflected by the range of projects she has led, and her co-authorship on a range of different types of publications. Current work focusses on enabling investment in climate and disaster resilience.

Dr. Pierrick Chalaye
Pierrick Chalaye is a social scientist (Postdoc) in the School of Engineering and Computer Science, Australian National University. He obtained a PhD in comparative environmental politics/policy from the University of Canberra in 2021. His research interests are energy and environmental politics/policy, deliberative democratic theory and qualitative research methods. His current work focuses on exploring pathways to a just energy transition, in Australia and elsewhere.