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Bold ideas unleashed at Festival for the Future 

Massey staff and student academics will be among keynote speakers and panellists at this year's Festival for the Future.

Professor Chris Gallavin

Associate Professor Elspeth Tilley

Dr John Fitzgerald

Arts activism, mental health, suicide prevention, and understanding Te Ao Māori (Māori world view) are among topics Massey University academics will be discussing at the Festival for the Future 2019 in Wellington this month. 

Massey humanities and social sciences scholars are joining a gathering of aspirational young leaders from all over New Zealand at this year’s festival to discuss and create positive solutions to urgent social, environmental and economic issues. These include the climate crisis, plastic waste, political representation, social inequality, tackling discrimination, and business opportunities for New Zealand with the rise of Asia.

Massey students will also participate as exhibitors to share ideas, hopes, strategies and solutions to inspire the 1200 throng of young people aged 18 to 30 attending the festival, alongside a line-up of well-known, influential public figures from government, business, education and conservation sectors. 

Massey representatives aim to showcase bold and creative ideas and new forms of communication that can connect diverse groups to break through barriers and jumpstart conversations to fuel change.

Keynote speakers and panelists from Massey, the sole tertiary sponsor for the event which started in 2011, include Professor Chris Gallavin, Associate Professor Elspeth Tilley, Dr John Fitzgerald and Stacey Morrison, as well as Te-Pūtahi-a-Toi School of Māori Knowledge tutors Te Ra Moriarty and Te Ataakura Pewhairangi. Student participants include Bachelor of Arts graduate Whaiora Patrick, and a team of Bachelor of Communication students, led by Harry Townsend, who have created an online magazine sharing creative insights and ideas to address myriad environmental issues. 

Professor Gallavin, Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, says he is delighted to have the chance to connect with a highly motivated group of young people to share ideas and gain new perspectives on how youth are dealing with complex issues of today. He will share his vision as an Eisenhower Global Fellow about changes needed in education for the future. He says he envisages the role of universities increasingly as "community partners in addressing the imperatives of our time; sustainability, equality, equity, social enterprise, social justice, economic development and entrepreneurialism."

Associate Professor Elspeth Tilley, a lecturer in theatre and creative activism in the School of English and Media Studies, will draw on her experiences as an award-winning playwright and share insights from her teaching and research background in communication theory and ethics – expertise that has enabled her to analyse how theatre works as an effective tool for social change.  

Dr John Fitzgerald, a senior lecturer in clinical psychology, will share his insights from research, as well as clinical practice, on mental health and well-being, and suicide prevention.

Stacey Morrison, well-known te reo Māori educator and champion, television and radio broadcaster and member of Massey’s Te-Pūtahi-a-Toi School of Māori Knowledge where she launched Toro Mai (an online global initiative to connect worldwide audiences with Te Reo Māori and Tikanga Māori), will be presenting as part of the opening night discussion on identity and culture.

Live poets to get the message across

In the marketplace informal gathering space Massey will showcase study opportunities and innovative programmes centred on the theme of communication for positive change. These include an interactive teleprompt newsreader spot to demonstrate the latest technology in communication and journalism; and the creative output of communications students working on The Anthropozine, an online publication fostering creativity to find solutions to environmental problems. Print versions of original ecology-themed artwork from the publication will be display, and student editors will be on available to talk about the project. Performance poets connected to the publication will be a lively, provocative presence.

Festival for the Future 2019, is run by Wellington-based charitable trust Inspiring Stories, founded by Guy Ryan who went on to be awarded Young New Zealander of the Year in 2015. 

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