What is it about?

Byte-sized AI: How Do Governments Fit into the AI Brew?*

Since the release of ChatGPT in November 2022, everyone is talking about AI: some praise the technology, some fear it. One thing everyone seems to agree on: AI technologies will bring about massive disruptions across most aspects of our lives!

How can governments navigate these massive and fast-paced disruptions, the opportunities as well as the potential negative consequences? What role should governments play? How can they balance fostering innovation with maintaining the required guardrails to mitigate the risks? How can they manage the impact on digital (In)equality?



Dr Zena Assaad
Senior Lecturer, Australian National University




Emma Burns
Data and AI Specialist, Public Sector, Federal
– Industry, Environment and Agriculture, Microsoft




Ahmed Imran
PhD, FACS, Associate Professor; Founder of the Research Cluster of Digital Inequality and Social Change (RC-DISC), University of Canberra




Sarah Vallee
AFRAN AI Community Leader & Secondee, ANU School of Cybernetics

On the 14th of June head to the Alliance Française of Sydney for a talk between Peter Fitzsimons and Nick Farr-Jones, both celebrated ex-rugby union players as they discuss the sport and its role in France.

During the conference, Farr-Jones and Fitzsimons will share their deep attachement to France and their rugby values with the public.

They will notably discuss the evolution of the sport, some fascinating anecdotes from their impressive careers and make some predictions in the lead up to the next rugby world cup.



Read the full event description in French: France -Terre de rugby

About the Night of Ideas (La Nuit des Idées)

The Night of Ideas was created in 2016 by the Institut Français. This international annual event aims to stimulate discussion by inviting speakers and performers from varied disciplines to respond to a single theme from their perspective. Typically, the event includes researchers, journalists, artists, performers, architects and social scientists. The goal is to share original views, research and debates with the public. Since its creation, the Night of Ideas has been presented in more than 190 cities around the world.

Sydney 2023

The MCA presents the 8th edition of the annual global event, the Night of Ideas 2023 (La Nuit des Idées) dedicated to the theme of More (Plus)?

The theme of this year’s Night of Ideas More (Plus)? addresses the seemingly never-ending need for ‘more’, whether in the form of over consumption, stimulation, possessions or pushing boundaries in the pursuit of excellence. As a counterpoint, there will also be a focus on finding balance and value within slowness.

Learn about and discuss ideas shared by cross-disciplinary speakers, enjoy MCA exhibitions and join an Art Flow guided wellbeing experience.

Moderated by Amanda Collinge (ABC’s Producer of Q+A) and Daniel Browning (ABC’s The Art Show) the line-up features speakers from France and Australia, including:

Cybernetics expert Geneviève Bell

Inaugural Director of the School of Cybernetics, and Florence Violet McKenzie Chair at the Australian National University (ANU), Geneviève Bell is best known for her work at the intersection of cultural practice and technology development. She is widely recognised as an influential voice within academia, industry and government. For the Night of Ideas she will share insights about how a cybernetics approach can help us frame a difference conversation about our future with data and technology.



Professor in Artificial Intelligence (AI) Cédric Buche on AI featuring human and robotic interactions.

Professor at Ecole Nationale d’Ingénieurs de Brest (ENIB) in France and researcher on artificial intelligence and human-robot interactions, Cédric Buche is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Adelaide and a visiting scholar at the Flinders University. In 2021, he moved to Adelaide and joined the International CNRS Research Lab CROSSING (French Australian laboratory for Humans –Autonomous Agents Teaming).



Guest curator of the MCA’s Do Ho Suh exhibition and CEO of Bundanon Trust Rachel Kent on the quality of slowness in the artist’s work.

Rachel Kent is an experienced arts leader, art historian and head curator with extensive experience working with international museums and cultural institutions. The MCA’s Head Curator for over two decades, she is the CEO of Bundanon Trust.




Contemporary artist Dr Danie Mellor exploring alternative creative spaces and the role of NFT’S in the evolution of art.

An established contemporary Australian artist who lives and works in Bowral, NSW, Dr Danie Mellor’s multidisciplinary practice explores the intersections of contemporary and historic culture. In considering Australia’s recent and ancient past, his work traverses the breadth of our shared and unique histories. Dr Mellor’s revaluation of iconic landscape traditions is informed by his connection to place through Aboriginal heritage, and ongoing preoccupation with Australia’s landspace.



Best-selling author, podcaster, philanthropist and climate change advisor, Sarah Wilson, known globally for founding the I Quit Sugar movement on the benefit of slowing down.

Sarah Wilson is a multi-New York Times and Amazon best-selling author, podcaster, international keynote speaker, philanthropist and climate change advisor. Sarah is known globally for founding the I Quit Sugar movement – a digital wellness program and 13 award-winning books that sell in 52 countries – which saw millions around the world transform their health.

And many more.

Event program:

Part 1 – More for more, is it worth it?
Featuring Kirsha Kaechele, David Schlosberg, Robyn Williams and Genevieve Bell

  • Debate: The phenomenon of overconsumption in modern societies – 20 mins
  • Short talks – New challenges for science – 10 min each

Part 2 – More for the best, is there a limit?
Featuring Dr. Jessica Priebe, Danie Mellor, Pr. Cédric Buche and Daniela Garcia

  • Debate: The role of NFT in art – 20 mins
  • Short talks: AI and human performance – 10 mins each
  • Virtual Reality Performance by Giant Swan  – 10 mins

Part 2 – More, less, or differently?
Featuring Pr. Pascale Guitera, Joe Lauder and Miranda Darling

  • Debate: the urgent need to slow down – 20 mins
  • Short talks: will modernity save us? – 10 mins each

Also during the Night:

  • Open Mic Poetry presented by Toby Fitch, Pam Brown, Luke Patterson, Claire Albrecht and Anupama Pilbrow.
  • Native edible pant workshop presented by Indigigrow
  • Dance performance by Anastasios Repousi.
  • Musical performance by Tab and Bass.

Book your ticket here

Entry to Do Ho Suh, the Sydney International Art Series 2022/2023 exhibition, is included in your ticket.

Night of Ideas – (Re)building together: A fair(er) society 

Join us to discuss how we can build a truly fair world. Hear from more than 20 speakers – from athletes to social justice advocates, performers and academics –
as they consider some of the biggest challenges we face today and share their knowledge.
Presented in partnership with the Embassy of France and Alliance Française thanks to the Institut français

5.30 PM: Speeches & performance
5.40 PM: A Brief History of Inequalities
MC Katherine Daniell


Panel 1: Never ceded
John Paul Janke, Deputy Chair, Indigenous Reference Group, NMA
Panel 2: Social bias and invisible women
Deborah Hart, National Gallery of Australia, co-curator of Know My Name exhibition
Tanya Spisbah, Office for Women, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
Emilie Dotte-Sarraut, The University of Western Australia, working on Finding the Women in the History of Pacific Archaeology
6.30 PM: One for All: Social and Environmental Fights
Panel 1: Accounting for social and economic inequalities
Alain Supiot, Professor Emeritus at the College de France, specialised in labour law and legal theory
Arnagretta Hunter, Physician and cardiologist
Emily C., from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Canberra
Panel 2: Planet of the Humans?
Rebecca Pearse, The Australian National University’s School of Sociology and the Fenner School of Environment and Society
Kirsten Wehner, fellow at National Museum of Australia
janet laurence, Sydney-based artist
Danielle Celermajer, Deputy Director, Sydney Environmental Institute

7.15 PM / 8 PM: Catering & drinks

Performance by opera singer Lily Ward.

8.00 PM: Rebuilding together a Fairer Society

Panel 1: Dismantling elite power
Kerry Gardner, documentary film maker, philanthropy and non-profit leadership
Joanna Lindner-Pradela, International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA)
Dennis Altman, Vice Chancellor’s Fellow at LaTrobe University in Melbourne, author of God Save the Queen: the strange persistence of monarchies

Panel 2: Making the invisible visible
Philippe Croizon, professional disabled athlete (swimming), motivational speaker, writer
Myles Russell-Cook, senior curator of Indigenous Art at the NGV
Christophe Benzitoun, sociolinguist and author of Qui veut la peau du français?
Bettina Baldeschi, CEO at IWDA
Conclusion – The Future Starts Now

Natalie Kyriacou OAM, environmental leader, CEO My Green World
Léuli Eshrāghi, of Sāmoan/Persian/Cantonese ancestry, artist, curator, researcher
Aurelie Jacquet, development of responsible artificial intelligence, chair of Standards Australia committee on AI


 Complimentary food and drinks served during the break, and opportunities to interact with speakers.

On the occasion of the Francophonie Week 2022, the Francophonie Committee invites you to a fun-filled and interactive celebration of the francophone culture!

Organised in partnership with the Australian National University, the conference will include a presentation on the ‘Organisation internationale de la Francophonie’, as well as an international panel of speakers who will share typical words and expressions from their countries and regions.

A live quiz during the event will allow you to test your knowledge of the french spoken in different regions of the world, and a special prize will be awarded to the top-3 winners!

Drinks and nibbles will be served during the networking reception.

Guest Speakers include :

Dr Solène Inceoglu, SFHEA, Senior Lecturer in French, School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics, The Australian National University

Her Excellency Mrs Caroline Bichet-Anthamatten, Ambassador of Switzerland

Her Excellency Mrs Marie Claire Jeanne Monty, High Commissioner for Mauritius

Ms Isabelle Martin, Deputy Head of Mission, High Commission of Canada

Mr Arnaud Dusaucy, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium in Canberra

Dr Yves Lafoy, Counsellor, Official Representative of New Caledonia to Australia, Embassy of France

Ms Agustina Camilli, Counsellor, Embassy of Uruguay

The Grand Final will reward the best 15-minute art talk given by a university student from one of the top five Australian Universities, in front of a jury composed of leading Australian arts professionals.

The art students have been selected through a three stage process and each university champions will participate in the Grand Final which will provide some of the most engaging art talks in the country.

The 2022 theme of the event is the “Influence of Matisse on Australian Art” and is largely inspired by the current Matisse exhibition Life & Spirit, Masterpieces from the Centre Pompidou, Paris, at the Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney, 20 November 2021- 13March 2022.

This competition and the prizes awarded are designed to provide unique opportunities to university art students.

If you are in Sydney, don’t miss the First Eloquence Art Prize in the country!

Not in Sydney, not a problem follow the event live : https://vimeo.com/event/1869815

The Skien of Time Opening Exhibition by Sharon Field: Saturday 22nd of January – 8th of April 2022
Climate Change and Biodiversity Panel: Saturday 22nd of January 10:30am-12:30pm

Our place on this planet is becoming fragile as the natural climate becomes increasingly helpless in the face of the political and economic and industrial demands that continue to extract from but not give to it.  The plants and animals in our environment are undoubtedly tough, but they are helpless against the constant and unrelenting onslaught of humankind which is, for the most part, self-serving.  Can our now fragile environment sustain its biodiversity in the face of this constant battering?

As the sun sets on the horizon and the sky darkens, the night sky and the earth become one.  While we (people) set ourselves apart from so much in the natural world, when the evening falls, we too become one with the earth.  So let’s look after our natural heritage.  We need it.

Book here

Come to a Panel discussion in featuring:

Sharon Field: Botanical artist, Sharon’s work pushes the boundaries of traditional botanical art whilst maintaining the beauty and dramatic form of her subjects.  Appreciating nature’s diversity and the importance of natural relationships in a rapidly changing environment is a fundamental underpinning to her artistic practice.  Sharon has enjoyed two residencies at Bundanon, the home of Arthur and Yvonne Boyd, and another at Stwdio Maelor in Wales. She was a finalist in the Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize, and was the 2017 recipient of the American Society of Botanical Artists ‘Anne Ophelia Dowden Award’, and an Award for Excellence from the UK Society of Botanical Art. Her work has been exhibited in the UK, the USA and Australia.

Thierry Corrège: Science and Higher Education Attaché, former professor of Earth and Marine Sciences at the University of Bordeaux since 2005, and deputy director of the EPOC (Continental and Oceanic Paleoenvironments and Environments) laboratory (U. Bordeaux/CNRS).

Brook Clinton: Brook Clinton is the Executive Officer at SEE-Change and is committed to all things sustainability but in particular thinking about clever consumerism and reduced waste. Brook has a PhD in biochemistry and microbial ecology, and also runs local community composting effort, Capital Scraps.

Discussion topics:

10:30am:11:10am: Panel discussion with our three panelists
11:10:am-11:45am: Q&A
11:45am-12:00pm: Poetry reading by Stephanie Pouliquin and Opening speech by Sharon Field
12:00pm-12:30pm: Guests can ask their questions to the panelists and enjoy the exhibition

The discussion – in English – will feature a mix of testimonies and shared experiences from French PhD students as well as both emerging and established French scientists currently working in Australia. We will discuss the benefits of being bi- lingual, how language can boost an international career and how languages shape the way we see the world and do research.

Dr Frédéric Hollande – Professor, Clinical Pathology, Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (MODERATOR)

Fred obtained his PhD from the University of Montpellier and later worked as a post-doctoral research fellow at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and the University of Melbourne. He was then recruited as a Research Fellow by CNRS in France to study molecular mechanisms that underlie the progression of colon cancer.

Fred moved to Australia in September 2012 to take up a position in the Department of Pathology at the University of Melbourne. He currently is Deputy Head at the Dept of Clinical Pathology. He is also the Graduate Research Coordinator and oversees teaching activities in the Department.

His research interests include the analysis of cancer stem cell regulation by their surrounding environment, as well as the study of the impact of inter and intra-tumour heterogeneity on metastatic progression and treatment response.

Dr Yvonne Durandet

Yvonne holds a PhD degree from the University of Adelaide and a Bachelor of Engineering from SUPMECA, France.

She is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Product Design Engineering, and Industry Research Coordinator in the School of Engineering at Swinburne University of Technology. She has extensive industry experience, and actively pursues industry-engaged projects for Teaching & Learning, and Research & Development.

Her research interests are in metallurgical and surface engineering, casting and solidification, welding and joining, laser processing of materials and net shape manufacturing processes such as additive manufacturing. She has over 80 publications in journals and conference proceedings related to Manufacturing Processes and Technologies, Metals and Alloys.

Prior to joining Swinburne, she was a Senior Research Engineer at BHP where she led strategic R&D projects on twin roll strip casting of steel, near net shape casting of non-ferrous metals, direct casting of steel wires and continuous hot dip metallic coatings of steel sheets.

Dr. Antoine Dujon

Dr Antoine Dujon is a scientist working as part of CANECEV, an international laboratory studying cancer and its evolution, a collaboration between France and Australia at Deakin University. His research focuses on two main topics, both using tools and concepts from ecology, the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their environment.

His first research topic aims to understand how human activities, for example, pollution or habitat degradation, increase the risk of wildlife species developing cancer and how this will affect their conservation. Dr Dujon works with species such as sea turtles, Tasmanian devils and marine bivalves, all currently experiencing cancer outbreaks impacting their health. His second research topic aims to understand how evolution shaped the various ways the human body defends itself against cancer.

Our current lifestyle is very different from what our ancestors experienced only a few decades ago, which is resulting in an increased risk of developing cancer. Understanding why will allow us to develop new prevention strategies and new therapies to reduce the negative effects of cancer on human populations. Dr Dujon’s research is therefore very pluri-disciplinary and requires him to regularly engage with both French and Australian scientists.

Noémie Friscourt

Noémie is a PhD candidate at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, a teaching and research institute of the University of Tasmania in Hobart, working on the ecology of the Antarctic fur seal. She is originally from the north of France, where she completed her bachelor in Ecology. After that, she went to Canada, where she graduated in Oceanography. There, she lived in the province of Québec, so there was no need to speak English (even if Québécois is kind of a new language for a French person!). She arrived in Tasmania at the end of 2019, her first “fully immersive” English experience. In Noémie’s words: “It is quite a challenge to live in a country where the people speak another language, but it is really rewarding!”

French is Noémie’s mother tongue. She learnt English and Spanish at school. However, as Noémie says: “Let’s be honest, the best way to learn a new language is to speak it regularly!”. Noémie has worked on international oceanographic expeditions and scientific conferences where she has had to communicate and collaborate (an important part of science!) in English. She has also worked as a marine observer on a Spanish fishing vessel and as a marine observer-coordinator with people from all around the Mediterranean basin (Italy, Spain, Croatia, Morocco, Algeria…). English and French have proved to be very useful.

Morgan Brisset

Morgan Brisset is a PhD Student at the University of Melbourne (Department of Clinical Pathology) and has been working in Australia for the past 18 months.

His PhD is a joint-PhD between the University of Melbourne and the University of Claude Bernard Lyon I in France. Morgan has a background in biochemistry (Bachelor), and in cancer biology (Master). His research focuses on the implications of dependence receptors in chemoresistance and stemness of colorectal metastatic cancer cells. His research is a drive to evaluate the efficacy of new treatments targeting dependence receptors for the therapy of metastatic cancer.

French talk with the Alliance Française de Canberra:

Karine Mauris, Cultural Attachée to the French Embassy in Australia. Artistic Director of the Alliances Françaises French Film Festival

Roland Peelman, conductor, pianist and Artistic Director of Canberra International Music Festival

6:00pm-6:50pm: Guests will discuss their career paths in Arts Management and the programming and organization of their festivals as well as their international cultural experiences.

6:50pm-7:30pm: Q&A

Discussion topics:

Professor Robert Clancy, author of the recently published book “The Long Enlightenment”, a history of Australian science, will tell us how France has influenced Australia and the Pacific through the voyages of the famous French Navigators.

Mrs Anne Boillon Consul General of France in Australia will introduce Professor Clancy.

A joint presentation by the Friends of the State Library of NSW & Friends of the Lapérouse Museum.

To register for this event click here