Why Help or Participate?
Apart from generally identifying with the aims of adding a public intellectual dimension to Brisbane, making a small contribution to improving public discourse while having some serious fun, there are specific reasons for people and organisations might want to participate:
What's in it for the universities?
- Demonstrate they are willing to "walk the walk" on free speech, rather than just "talking the talk" with reactive discussions about codes, policies and procedures in response to poltical pressures and particular events. Participation in The Brisbane Dialogues could be a simple, modest next step as part of a proactive program of reinvigorating free speech on campus.
Partnering with professional speaker event companies and others could help in developing necessary event management procedures, experience and expertise on a cost-effective basis.
Showcase academic talent, achievement and authority in the humanities to a wider audience and reduce "ivory tower" perceptions.
Make a greater contribution to public discussion and policy.
Sourcing speakers and contributing venues or associated costs are modest expenses in a university's overall budget in the context of the existential importance of free speech in the academic context and the various challenges to it.
Why would the Brisbane City Council support it?
- "New World City" ambition implies developing cultural life broadly conceived, as well as physical and economic aspects. The "public intellectual" scene severely lags other cultural sectors where Brisbane now punches above its weight, and is a long way behind the southern capitals, let alone many other world cities.
The Brisbane Dialogues leverage the existing activities of specialised, low overhead event companies and requires very modest financial and executive support to take off.
How might it help schools?
Hosting a Brisbane Dialogue would:
Provide a quality, adult example of respectful discussion between different perspectives
Expose students to a "big" topic to stimulate thinking
Boost the debating program
Increase the school's media profile and public prominence
Impress current and prospective parents
Why would an academic participate in a Brisbane Dialogue?
- Share a platform and discussion with a respected, high profile international speaker which will enhance personal and academic development
Demonstrate ability to contribute from academic position to public discussion on matters of wider importance than own specialism
Learn something and increase the sum of human knowledge!
What's in it for mainstream media?
Content from interviews with visiting speakers and stories from covering the events.
Why volunteer to help individually on event promotion and logistics?
To encourage (typically) small speaker event companies to bring high profile speakers to Brisbane, the more hands on deck promoting events beforehand and helping with logistics at the events, the better.
What about business or professional firms?
A bit like universities, companies or firms which aspire to be "thought leaders" in the 21st century need to be able to discuss and manage complex and difficult subjects and be seen to be doing so in the eyes of their shareholders, customers, employees, governments, agencies and media.
Why is this relevant to think tanks and foundations?
Think tanks and foundations are typically formed to promote either a progressive or conservative perspective, so The Brisbane Dialogues is an opportunity to engage with and get their message across to a new or wider audience.