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 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.

Wilful Ignorance Part 1 of 2: Two Evenings with Sites of Violence series

In order to understand and dismantle human and non-human experiences of violence, we must begin with the processes, emotions, and meaning that this violence makes manifest. To bring multiple perspectives to old problems, artists and academics must step beyond their familiar spheres of thought and comfort to combine various processes of knowledge creation and translation. Join the panel as they draw on the systemic mechanisms of violence they see emerging in their fields through systems of control, domination, and even comfort. The heart of this work lays in recognising the legacies of injustice carried by the landscapes and people that surround us, and in identifying a path where the burden of that violence can be shared and lifted.

Guiding the evening will be Danielle Celermajer, Professor of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Sydney where she is Director of the Multispecies Justice Project. Danielle will be in conversation with prizewinning investigative journalist Jess Hill, whose non-fiction work See What You Made Me Do that documents domestic abuse, won the Stella Prize. They will be joined by more-than-human justice scholar Dinesh Wadiwel, a Senior Lecturer in Human Rights and Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Sydney, Rebecca Lawrence, a Senior Research Fellow at Sydney Environment Institute whose work focuses on Indigenous knowledge systems and environmental decision making, and Sites of Violence Research Assistant Hannah Della Bosca, whose work focuses on heatwaves, comfort, and denial.


Hannah Della Bosca is a Research Assistant at the Sydney Environment Institute. She has co-authored papers on generational coal mining identities and energy transitions, as well as the role of place-making, disruption, and emotion in resilience policy adaptation. Hannah holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of Sydney and has a strong research interest in the nexus of environmental law, policy and place.

Danielle Celermajer is a Professor of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Sydney. Her research stands at the interface of theories exploring the multi-dimensional nature of injustice and the practice of human rights, focusing on the relational intra-space between human and non-human animals. Along with her multispecies community, she has recently lived through the NSW fires, writing in the face of their experience of the “killing of everything”, which she calls “omnicide”. Danielle is the Research Lead on Concepts and Practices of Multispecies Justice. Her publications include Sins of the Nation and the Ritual of Apology (Cambridge, 2009) and The Prevention of Torture; An Ecological Approach (Cambridge, 2018).

Jess Hill is an investigative journalist who has been writing and researching about domestic abuse since 2014. Before that, she was a producer for ABC Radio, a Middle East correspondent for The Global Mail, and an investigative journalist for Background Briefing. She was listed in Foreign Policy’s top 100 women to follow on Twitter, and also as one of 30 most influential people under 30 by Cosmopolitan magazine (two publications rarely listed in the same sentence). Jess’ reporting has won two Walkley awards, an Amnesty International award and three Our Watch awards. Her latest book, See What You Made Me Do, won the Stella Prize.

Rebecca Lawrence is a Senior Research Fellow at the Sydney Environment Institute where she joined in 2020 after her time at the Department of Political Science, Stockholm University as Research Fellow. She is Chief Investigator for a major research project funded by the Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development on the impacts of mining on local and Indigenous communities in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Australia. Rebecca is also funded by the Norwegian Research Council for a project concerned with the integration of Indigenous knowledge systems into environmental decision making.

Dinesh Wadiwel is a lecturer in human rights and socio-legal studies in the Department of Sociology and Social Policy and Director of the Master of Human Rights. Dr Wadiwel is also a research affiliate of the Sydney Environment Institute and a researcher on the SEI/FASS Multispecies Justice Initiative. He has had over 15 years experience working within civil society organisations, including in anti-poverty and disability rights roles. He is currently writing a book exploring the relationship between animals and capitalism, building on his 2015 monograph, The War Against Animals.

This event is in partnership with the Sydney Environment Institute and forms part of the Institute’s Sites of Violence research project, and is supported by the City of Sydney.

Wednesday 24 February 2021 6.00 - 7.30pm
Online (Live Stream)