This is a past event. Listen to the recording here.

Image is everything – even for climate change.

The ways in which we consume media have shifted, offering us extraordinary opportunities to inform people, bring them together and evoke action. But in this digital era, too much of one thing – or the wrong thing – can make people just scroll on. How do we balance images of loss and devastation with the prospect of a better future?

Social researcher Dr Rebecca Huntley has focused on climate change since seeing images of the school climate strikes in 2018. The visceral anxiety and impassioned efforts of the students inspired her to do what she could to make a difference for her own children’s generation.

In this year’s Talbot Oration, the respected Australian author, commentator, climate change strategist and mother will investigate the powerful ways that images can convey the messages of climate change and inspire climate action. Using data and evidence based on years of social trend research, Rebecca will offer reasons why the right imagery can break through the online chatter and spark action.

Following her address, Dr Huntley will be joined by Tishiko King, a proud Kulkalaig woman and campaigner for climate and social justice, and Dr Saul Griffith, engineer and author of The Big Switch, in conversation with Distinguished Professor Larissa Behrendt AO. The panel will uncover how we can engage more Australians in climate action.

Ages: Recommended for 12+


Dr Rebecca Huntley (Keynote speaker)

Author and social researcher, Rebecca Huntley
Author and social researcher, Rebecca Huntley. Image: Supplied
© Rebecca Huntley

Dr Rebecca Huntley is one of Australians foremost researchers on social trends. She holds degrees in law and film studies and a PhD in Gender Studies. She has led research at Essential Media and Vox Populi and was a director at Ipsos Australia. She now heads her own research and consultancy firm working closely with climate and environment NGOs, government and business on climate change strategy and communication.

She is the author of numerous books including How to Talk About Climate Change in a Way that Makes a Difference (Murdoch books, 2020). Rebecca was a broadcaster with the ABC’s Radio National and presented The History Listen and Drive on a Friday. She is also a registered Commonwealth marriage celebrant. She is the mother of three girls and lives in Sydney.


Distinguished Professor Larissa Behrendt AO (Facilitator)

Larissa Behrendt
Distinguished Professor Larissa Behrendt AO. Image: Supplied
© Larissa Behrendt

Distinguished Professor Larissa Behrendt AO is a Eualayai/Gamillaroi woman and the Director of Research and Academic Programs at the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at the University of Technology, Sydney. She is a graduate of the UNSW Law School and has a Masters and SJD from Harvard Law School. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and a founding member of the Australian Academy of Law.


Larissa won the 2002 David Uniapon Award and a 2005 Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for her novel Home. Her second novel, Legacy, won a Victorian Premiers Literary Award. Larissa is also an award-winning filmmaker, having written and directed several feature documentary films including Araatika: Rise Up!, Maralinga Tjarutka, After the Apology and Innocence Betrayed. She has written and directed for television. Larissa was awarded the 2009 NAIDOC Person of the Year award and 2011 NSW Australian of the Year.


Dr Saul Griffith

Dr Saul Griffith
Inventor, author, and founder of multiple companies, Dr Saul Griffith. Image: Clayton Boyd
© Clayton Boyd

Dr Saul Griffith is an inventor, author, and founder of multiple companies and non-profits. He has led projects for agencies including NASA, DARPA, National Science Foundation and more. He has founded and co-founded successful companies, including one acquired by Google, another by Autodesk, and another by a consortium of vehicle manufacturers including Toyota. In 2007 he was awarded a Macarthur Fellowship, the so-called ‘Genius Grant’, for inventions in the service of humanity.


Tishiko King

Tishiko King is a proud Kulkalaig woman from the island of Masig, Kulkalgal Nation of Zendath Kes. Tish is a campaigner and organiser based on Naarm. She is spirited about sharing culture and amplifying social inequality and the rights of First Nations people.

During her studies in Ocean Science on the Gold Coast, Tish became passionate and actively involved with grassroots environmental groups and rallies across Australia and overseas. With experience across different industries at CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere and the exploration and minerals industry, Tish brings a diverse perspective of First Nations and environmental justice.


About the Talbot Oration


Named in honour of former Australian Museum Director Professor Frank Talbot, this annual oration celebrates Talbot’s commitment to, and achievements in marine research and environmental studies in Australia and on the global stage. The Talbot Oration will showcase advances in the field of climate change research and environmental conservation, enabling the public to better understand how responses to the climate challenge determine our future prospects, health, and the sustainability of our natural environment. The 2021 Talbot Oration was delivered by the AM's Distinguished Fellow in Climate Change, Dr Tim Flannery. Listen to his speech here.


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The Talbot Oration is a Nights at the Museum special event.


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