Through music, through performance, and through scholarship, the Sydney Environment Institute presents an exploration of the forms of violence that surround us, hidden in plain sight.

Over two evenings, an interdisciplinary collective of authors, researchers, and performers will share their experiences and insights into the ways that cycles of violence and fear endure in Australian bodies and in Australian landscapes. These events emerge from a wider project that combines artistic performance and academic scholarship to produce new perspectives and more engaging ways of communicating with each other and with our community. We invite you to enter into dark subjects and to embrace discomfort as a way of seeing, feeling, and hearing the voices of truth that emerge from acts of violence. Together, we must step out of denial and into personal and communal action.

The series will begin with a Welcome to Country performed by Sites of Violence contributor Yvonne Weldon, a Wiradjuri Woman, writer, volunteer, and advocate who works with a range of organisations throughout NSW on behalf of First Nations and wider Australian communities, places, and futures.

Aesthetics of Violence Part 2 of 2: Two Evenings with Sites of Violence series

We can’t call out violence in its myriad forms if we don’t know what it looks like, what it sounds like, or what it feels like. Join the panel as they share the potential of musical, written, and performative art to communicate through the physical bodies of the audience, transforming abstract and concepts of violence into visceral corporeal experiences and, hopefully, understanding.

On the panel will be Charlotte Wood, author of the multi-prize winning novel The Natural Way of Things exploring power, gender, and violence in Australia. Charlotte’s novel is the inspiration for the upcoming Sites of Violence immersive theatre work The foul of the air. Joining her will be multisensory composer Damien Ricketson, visual artist, author and Sydney Law School academic Carolyn McKay.


Carolyn McKay is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney Law School where she teaches Criminal Law, Civil & Criminal Procedure and Digital Criminology. She is also a visual artist and curator and completed postgraduate studies at Sydney College of the Arts before her PhD at Sydney Law School. She has held solo exhibitions, been commissioned to create audio-video works for curated exhibitions, and was the recipient of a 2018 Museums & Galleries of New South Wales exhibitions project award. Her latest criminal law/criminological research examines motel crime scenes through the lens of ‘ghost criminology’.

Damien Ricketson is a Sydney-based composer whose music is characterised by colourful sound-worlds, novel forms and is often multi-sensory in nature. His recent research has focused on the physiological relationship between sound and the body in the pursuit of a visceral music to bypass the brain and act directly on the nervous system. Major works have included The Howling Girls (2018), an experimental opera co-created with director Adena Jacobs; The Secret Noise (2014); and Fractured Again (2010).

Michelle St Anne is the Deputy Director and Operations Manager – Programming, Impact and Engagement at the Sydney Environment Institute. She manages the operation of the Institute as well as curates a strategic and dynamic outreach programme. Michelle is also the Artistic Director and founder of the award-winning Sydney based theatre company The Living Room Theatre. She has produced and written over 23 ambitious new works which have had seasons in Sydney and Melbourne. In 2018 she became an Honorary Associate with the School of Theatre and Performance Studies, School of Literature, Art and Media, The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, at the University of Sydney.

Charlotte Wood is the prizewinning author of six novels and two books of non-fiction. Her latest book, The Weekend, a novel about friendship and growing older, won the 2020 Australian Book Industry Award for Literary Fiction. Her previous novel, The Natural Way of Things, won the 2016 Stella Prize, the 2016 Indie Book of the Year and Novel of the Year, was joint winner of the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction. Her non-fiction works include The Writer’s Room, a collection of interviews with authors about the creative process, and Love & Hunger, a book about cooking. In 2019 she was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant services to literature and was named one of the Australian Financial Review‘s 100 Women of Influence.


Wednesday 3 March 2021 6.00 - 7.30pm
Online (Live Stream)